Ashurst has been given the go-ahead to open in Luxembourg after receiving approval from the local bar association.
The new office, focusing on finance and funds, will open in October this year, with corporate partner Isabelle Lentz at the helm.
Lentz is currently the head of Ashurst’s Luxembourg desk in London, which was set up in 2011. She advises on corporate, private equity, funds, restructuring, regulatory, real estate and banking matters.
There are hopes to build the Luxembourg office to around 10 to 15 people, consisting of lawyers and business services, within the next year. The desk in London currently has a headcount of five.
So far Lentz, who joined Ashurst in 2010 from Luxembourg-based firm Oostvogels Pfister Feyten, is the only confirmed person moving over to the new office. She started her legal career at Linklaters in 2000.
Since its merger with Blake Dawson in 2011, Ashurst has been slow to branch out into new locations. At the beginning of this year, the firm sealed a deal with its China alliance partner Guantao, to create a joint operation office in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ). The move allows Ashurst the capability to provide PRC advice n the Shanghai FTZ.
The move comes a month after Fieldfisher launched in Luxembourg, through the lateral hire of Ingrid Dubourdieu, who acts as managing partner. In March, Simmons & Simmons boosted its Luxembourg office, with the hire of M&A partner Thierry Somma from Hogan Lovells.
TLT has provided strategic and legal advice to the shareholders of world-leading software development company Sparkol, culminating in a management buy-out.
The sale will enable serial entrepreneur and founder Jon Air to focus on new ventures, while Sparkol’s management team will continue to build on the company’s success.
Sparkol’s flagship products include whiteboard animation explainer video solution VideoScribe and video solution StoryPix, with corporate, public and private clients around the world.
TLT assessed the shareholders’ options alongside Acuity Corporate Finance, culminating in the structuring and execution of a sale to Sparkol’s management team led by managing director Zoe Taylor.
The TLT team was led by corporate partner Jon Gill and associate Adam Kean.
Jon Air, founder of Sparkol, says: “We have built an incredibly successful business and strong team at Sparkol and have multiple ideas for other new ventures. TLT helped us to understand our options and has given us clear and sound advice at every stage.”
Jon Gill, partner at TLT, says: “While the availability of capital for transactions from private equity houses remains very strong, we have seen a number of vendor-assisted buy-outs taking place and entrepreneurs should not overlook the potential benefits of such a transaction.
“A management buy-out can help entrepreneurs to realise a high return on investment as well as positioning their business for future growth. It has been a pleasure assisting Jon with this significant decision and ensuring a smooth transaction for everyone involved.”
Deloitte has received its alternative business structure (ABS) licence, becoming the last of the Big Four to set up a legal arm in the UK.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) confirmed that it has granted Deloitte the right to operate as a multi-disciplinary practice. The licence came into effect on the 15 June.
The new move will allow the big four accountancy firm to provide legal services as an ABS in the UK for rights of audience, conduct of litigation, reserved instrument activities, probate activities and administration of oaths.
All three of Deloitte’s rivals applied for ABS status in 2014; PwC Legal gained a licence from the SRA at the start of that year, while KPMG and EY followed suit later in 2014.
The UK was previously a notable absentee from Deloitte Legal’s network, until the branch announced an alliance with US immigration law firm Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) at the beginning of the month.
Through the alliance, it will acquire BAL’s non US businesses in the UK, Australia, Brazil, China, Dubai, Mozambique, Singapore and South Africa, as well as a base in London.
In 2016, Deloitte’s global legal services leader Piet Hein Meeter told The Lawyer of a target “to become a law firm with a truly global footprint. To me, that means having legal practices in 100 countries by 2020. We’re well on our way, and I think it’s a realistic ambition”.
An Ogier team led by Global Head of Corporate Simon Dinning has advised UBM Plc on its £3.9 billion purchase by Informa Plc.
Ogier advised on the Jersey law aspects of the proposed deal which was conducted by way of Jersey scheme of arrangement.
The transaction brings together two leading companies in the business-to-business events organising sector.
Simon was assisted by managing associate Alexander Curry, senior associate Kevin Grove, associate Chloe Watson-Hill and trainee solicitor Matthew Davies on the corporate side with partners Nick Williams and Oliver Passmore and senior associate James Angus from the dispute resolution team.
Simon said: “We are delighted to, once again, represent UBM in another extremely significant transaction.
“The use of schemes in Jersey to implement takeover offers, as in the UK, is becoming increasingly popular and Ogier have a leading position in this area.
“We are pleased to have worked with Linklaters, as English counsel, to bring this deal to a conclusion.”
After successfully advising client Barclays on the UK Government’s banking ring-fencing scheme, Slaughter and May has led for Santander as its becomes the fourth major bank to be accepted. The bank was accepted into the scheme following a High Court hearing on 12 June and has committed to transferring all relevant accounts into the ring-fenced […]
Linklaters and Baker McKenzie have led in the €1.2 billion sale of the world’s largest air cargo handler, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), to New York based private equity company Cerberus Capital Management. Linklaters corporate partners Ben Rodham and Christopher Boycott acted for Cerberus, which from 2015 has been owned by Platinum Equity. They were supported by finance partners Daniel […]
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Being told how to break into centrally locked cars while interviewing a client in Armley prison – thankfully not had to put this information to use (yet…)
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
A number of people have influenced me at different stages of my career but the most influential have to be my parents. I grew up at a time and in a community where further education for girls was not common place and whilst it may sound cliché, their belief in me and in challenging the norm has given me opportunities which I could only otherwise have dreamed of.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
Taking the risk of qualifying into a seat (healthcare law) that I had no knowledge, appreciation or experience in; which gave me the opportunity to work in a fascinating and ever developing area of law – one that I continue to learn from.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are / do the job you do?
To understand and recognise that life very rarely goes to plan and that the best you can do is to respond to the challenges thrown your way (which they will be) with integrity and commitment, treating the people you work with and for with respect while doing so at all times with passion, humour and grace. If the will is there, anything (and everything) is possible.
What work or career related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
I am fortunate to have had a broad experience in healthcare work encompassing a wide variety of cases. It would be great to have the time to be able to get involved more strategically within the healthcare sector, working both with current policy makers and front line staff who are faced with the enormous task of delivering and implementing policies on a daily basis, in order to help them deliver even better and safer healthcare services.
The 2018 shortlist for Law Firm of the Year at The Lawyer Awards, in association with Travelers, makes for interesting reading.
Eight names are on the list for the final and biggest award of the night and between them they show two key trends.
The first is that the inclusion of Keystone and Lawyers on Demand (LOD) on the shortlist demonstrates that New Law has well and truly embedded itself in the profession.
LOD arrived on the scene in 2007 and, in the words of one judge, “goes from strength to strength, showing that they have an innovative an sustainable business model, that now has a shopping list of well priced product lines.”
With almost 500 actively engaged lawyers and a 300+ strong, blue chip client base with 80 per cent retention among the top 50 clients, “LOD rivals any of the top law firms in the market,” said a judge and senior in-house lawyer. “In a world of increasing competition from law firms and emerging new ALS providers, LOD continues to power on and carry the torch for true innovation in law.”
Keystone, meanwhile, dates back to 2002 when it was called Lawyers Direct. The past year has seen it float on the London Stock Exchange, become the first dispersed model to enter The Lawyer’s UK top 100 ranking and recruit 60 partner-level lawyers. Judges praised the fact “that it’s not afraid to innovate or adapt, being highly sought after as an employer – usually it’s the other way around!” and liked its real time recording pricing structures.
The second notable trend is that it’s never too late for a firm to reinvent itself.
Mishcon de Reya won the Law Firm of the Year award in 2017.
As well as Keystone and LOD there are six other firms on the shortlist. They are not magic or silver circle names. Nor are they fashionable mid-sizers like tech-focused Osborne Clarke or glamour litigators Mishcon de Reya, both of which have won this award in recent years.
They are simply six firms that have proved reliable and resilient over the last decade, reshaping themselves to survive and thrive in the rapidly-changing legal landscape.
Ten years ago, Clyde & Co looked an old-school shipping and insurance firm. Now it is a very different beast, one which has grown hugely to leave rivals in its wake. Judges recognised that it has “a clear sense of strategy, drive and purpose,” and for its innovation and growth rate, as well as its impressive roster of deals and cases in the last year.
Likewise, ten years ago Fieldfisherwas Field Fisher Waterhouse, a mid-market London firm beset by infighting and strife. But as our recent cover feature showed, under Michael Chissick it has blossomed into a focused, successful and happy organisation. Bumper revenue growth, major European expansion and innovation in pricing and technology products all impressed the judges.
Without fanfare, Mills & Reeve too has undergone a transformation, from a primarily East Anglian firm to one that is increasingly national, with annual fee income passing £100m for the first time earlier this year. Alongside impressive growth, the judges noted the firm’s demonstrable commitment to supporting and developing their people – “the most important part of any law firm business.”
Pinsent Masons, meanwhile, has gone from national to international in the past decade. Revenue up 31 per cent and profitability up 54 per cent in the four years since it set out its strategic vision, a 100 per cent increase in revenue generated outside the UK, a 75 per cent increase in clients generating over £1m annually: “the stats say it all,” says one judge. “This firm excels in every area and is one of the most innovative in the industry.”
Watson Farley & Williams, founded in the 80s by three ex-Norton Rose partners as shipping and aviation finance practice, has endured and grown to become one of the most successful firms in its category, with judges acknowledging a growth plan that is working and real, deep sector expertise. The last 12 months has clearly been an excellent one for the firm, with big new client wins and the firm working on some innovative ‘firsts’ such as the first-ever green bond to be issued in the renewables sector.
Finally, no firm has transformed so much over the last year as CMS, thanks to its three-way merger with Olswang and Nabarro. Needless to say, this dominated judges’ discussions of the firm. “CMS have pulled off the seemingly impossible, a tripartite merger that the industry said could not work,” said one. “They have used the merger to accelerate substantially: it is an astonishing piece of strategic business.” Added another: “The tripartite merger of three quality firms results in a formidable presence in the legal market.”
Which of these eight firms will eventually emerge triumphant? The winner will be announced at The Lawyer Awards on 26 June.