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Ceo

FANTASY LAW FIRM

Mp

Legal Business March 2012

Peter Hasson

Alexander Msimang

C

C

C

C

Team head Spencer Summerfield

William Belcher

Graham Gibb

Richard Lever

F

F

F

F

Team head Richard Papworth

Ian Borman

James Roome

Jane Rogers

Dr

Dr

Dr

Dr

Team head Lista Cannon

Pietro Marino

Louise Hodges

Clive Zietman November 2010 Legal Business 3

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FANTASY LAW FIRM

Ceo

Mp

Peter Hasson

Alexander Msimang

C

C

C

C

C

Team head Spencer Summerfield

William Belcher

Graham Gibb

Richard Lever

Selina Sagayam

F

F

F

F

F

Team head Richard Papworth

Ian Borman

James Roome

Jane Rogers

James Linforth

Dr

Dr

Dr

Dr

Dr

Team head Lista Cannon

Pietro Marino

Louise Hodges

Clive Zietman

George Maling

THE RIGHT

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Gc Bill Richards

Re

Re

Tx

Tx

Team head Jane Hollinshead

Duncan Field

Team head Simon Whitehead

Eloise Walker

Em

Em

Co

Co

Team head Clare Murray

Jane Mann

Team head Tim Frazer

Douglas Lahnborg

Dr

Dr

Ip

Ip

Tom Sprange

Peter Fitzpatrick

Team head David Wilkinson

Ari Laakkonen

Forget the egos, conflicts and pay packets. Here’s our winning formula for creating a dream team outside of the established elite JEREMY HODGES

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I

n July 2002, we carried a feature bringing together a group of partners that would create a genuine competitor for the Magic Circle, a true fantasy law firm (‘Futures, options and swaps’, LB126, page 36). A decade on, it’s time to have another look at where the true talent outside of the elite group of law firms can be found. Ten years ago, LB said: ‘The Magic Circle has tightened its grip on available legal talent.’ While this remains true, unprecedented financial uncertainty has led to the Magic Circle having to let go a portion of its talent. In addition to this, the market of truly

international law firms has changed the face of legal services considerably since 2002. The creation of a three-tier system has emerged with the Global Elite, which includes the Magic Circle firms and the likes of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, followed by a cadre of international giants, including DLA Piper and Baker & McKenzie. The third tier is also filled with serious players. For those with sizeable international practices, think Ashurst. And for those with a large City presence, think u Berwin Leighton Paisner.

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u

The search for talent has never been more competitive and the demand for value for money has never been stronger. Therefore, in order to compile what we believe to be the leading law firm in the UK, we have discounted those Global Elite firms, those international behemoths and the rest of the top-15 UK firms by turnover. We’ve avoided the ‘you don’t get fired for hiring IBM’ syndrome and have attempted to mine pockets of quality that exist outside of the established elite. Clients have shown a deeper sophistication in selecting legal teams that offer a quality to rival the best but at a more competitive price. If anything, building a start-up law firm is now harder than ever – not because the talent is tied to the top but because it has spread to all corners of the market.

Peter Hasson has played a crucial role in developing Clyde & Co since 1997, applying a sharp business brain and an eye for figures

BUILD AND THEY WILL COME Where do you find those perfect ingredients for a start-up law firm? A blend of vision, experience, youth and technical capability looks to be the right formula for building a world-beating team. The nucleus of which must be a manager to lead the way in every one of those respects. Martin Piers, head of legal and European general counsel at Hudson Legal, explains: ‘You need a leader with a clear vision who can convey the agreed strategy succinctly. You really mustn’t go for an aggressive rainmaker or prima donna, who brings in substantial revenue but who may essentially be an island practice and does not bond with others. The leader must command the respect of the rest of the team. With these pieces in place, others who join will embrace the vision.’ Here it is then – our revised ultimate law firm. Among some established names, there are perhaps a few contentious picks that will spark debate and illustrate just how far the talent has shifted since 2002. Let us know how you think we did.

M

MANAGEMENT

Chief executive: Peter Hasson, Clyde & Co Managing partner: Alexander Msimang, Vinson & Elkins GC and head of risk: Bill Richards, LG A strong leadership team is now more important than ever and the last few years have seen the emergence of a new breed of senior lawyer and non-lawyer who relish the opportunity to tackle the most difficult strategic decisions that drive firms forward. There were plenty of candidates

to choose from: Speechly Bircham managing partner Michael Lingens has attracted much praise for transforming his business by putting together a pioneering merger with Campbell Hooper in 2009 that has seen it edge close to the £60m mark. SJ Berwin managing partner Rob Day has done well to stabilise a firm that was looking very shaky 18 months ago. The same can also be said for Andrew Manning at Bevan Brittan. Chief executive Manning, who is due to step down in April, has introduced a business plan that has given the Bristol-based firm a much rosier outlook. David Pester, managing partner at TLT, has won the repeated backing of his partnership by leading a firm that has doubled its revenues in a decade. Kevin Gold, managing partner at Mishcon de Reya, has overseen the most successful period in the fi rm’s history and Sharon White, chief executive at Stephenson Harwood, continues to manage the firm with an eye for a key lateral hire. On the US side, Ropes & Gray’s London co-managing partners Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz have shown what coherent vision and ambition to grow can do. Our choice though, brings together two distinct, yet successful law fi rm leaders. We decided that our chief executive needed to be a non-lawyer, someone who has experienced life outside the cosseted world of the legal profession and is capable of bringing a first-rate commercial mind to the table. A successful firm also needs someone at the top who is aware that a law firm is a business that depends on all departments and teams working effectively and cohesively – that the partnership is not the be-all and end-all.

Given these criteria, the choice of Clyde & Co chief executive Peter Hasson is perhaps obvious. Hasson has played a crucial role in developing the firm since 1997, applying a sharp business brain and an eye for figures to ensure that senior partner Michael Payton’s ambitious leadership has been entrenched in commercial reality. This was no more evident than when negotiating an industry defining merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in 2011. Our choice of managing partner is a little more leftfield: enter Alexander Msimang from Vinson & Elkins. Not only is he a leading fee-earner in his firm’s signature practice area, energy, since becoming London head in 2010, he has earned wide respect from his US paymasters and peers for a considered, popular and decisive style of management. As one contemporary notes: ‘He is extremely nice, responsive and is an inspiration to his partners.’ His leadership skills would complement Hasson’s financial pragmatism. Bill Richards, LG’s head of risk and compliance, completes our senior management team as general counsel. Throughout his career he has held every management post at LG and is one of the most well respected and experienced experts on risk management at law firms. With a new regulatory landscape in place thanks to the Legal Services Act and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority’s new outcomes-focused regulation, our firm needs a cool head who has seen and done it all. As one of the most prominent voices in the business, Richards is our eminence grise – a combination of credibility and authority.

C

CORPORATE

Head: Spencer Summerfield, Travers Smith Partners: William Belcher, Taylor Wessing; Graham Gibb, Macfarlanes; Richard Lever, SJ Berwin; Selina Sagayam, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher In looking for a corporate head from a firm with enough quality and experience on bet-the-farm deals, it’s very difficult to look beyond Travers Smith and Macfarlanes. Both firms throw up a number of candidates, including Macfarlanes corporate head Charles Meek; and head of corporate Chris Hale and head of private equity Phil Sanderson, both at Travers. Outside of those two firms, senior partner Alastair Dickson and managing partner Bruce Minto of the outstanding private

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equity boutique Dickson Minto come in for high praise. And the fact that both corporate partners Andrew Edge and Ben Mercer at Stephenson Harwood have plenty of fans, shows how far that firm has come in the M&A sphere. Spencer Summerfield though, is arguably the leading corporate lawyer outside of the established elite. The current head of corporate finance at Travers is rarely far from the big-ticket deals. Recent work includes acting for London Mining on the $810m auction sale of its Brazilian operations to ArcelorMittal and he is currently advising Blacks Leisure on its restructuring. He remains a true heavyweight in a sector that has seen many characters fade into obscurity in recent years. Importantly, Summerfield is not just a rainmaker but someone that rolls up his sleeves on deals. For the other partners in the team, it was important to choose those with the right blend of youth and experience. Equity capital markets partner William Belcher at Taylor Wessing has built up a loyal following, with one peer saying: ‘Of all the young lawyers in the City, he is the one to watch.’ Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch regularly turn to him for advice and recent deal work includes the £100m merger of Astex Therapeutics with Supergen; the £60m take-private of Celsis International by J O Hambro Capital Management; and the restructurings of KCA Deutag and Namakwa Diamonds. He also represents a number of large listed companies, including Hilton Food Group and New Britain Palm Oil. A partner at Macfarlanes since 2006, Graham Gibb is a slick operator and has caught the eye of many an adversary. His stock is high internally and is seen by many as the natural successor to senior partner Charles Martin, both in terms of leading the corporate practice and running the firm. He led the team advising Brit Insurance on Apollo’s $1.3bn buyout offer last year. Richard Lever has stood out as a serious client winner for SJ Berwin in a team that is not short on talent. Highlighted by LB as a star of the future back in 2009 (see ‘Let it rain’, LB199, page 35), he was described by Ian Wilson of client Amcor as ‘about as user-friendly a lawyer as you’ll find – I can’t fault him’. He counts Lion Capital and ECI Partners as key clients and recently advised Lion and Goode Partners on the buyout of troubled retailer AllSaints Spitalfields from Icelandic banks Kaupthing and Glitnir.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has done much to improve its UK corporate offering and Selina Sagayam has been at the forefront of that since joining from Simmons & Simmons in 2006. She led on the UK aspects of Hewlett-Packard’s $11.7bn acquisition of global software company Autonomy in 2011. This was something of a watershed moment for the firm in the City.

F

FINANCE

Head: Richard Papworth, Addleshaw Goddard Partners: Ian Borman, SJ Berwin; James Roome, Bingham McCutchen; Jane Rogers, Ropes & Gray; James Linforth, Stephenson Harwood Finance is arguably the hardest practice area to fill, given the strongest banking relationships are with the largest firms, many of which have held onto the top talent. However, there is plenty of quality to be found for those with a keen eye. At Macfarlanes, managing partner Julian Howard’s acquisition finance experience would have made for a good team leader, while Stephen Miles, head of banking and restructuring at Pinsent Masons, has a formidable reputation in the sector. But no firm has done more to secure its banking relationships in the City and beyond in recent years than Addleshaw Goddard. National head of banking Richard Papworth has been at the head of the team that sits on Barclays’ general advisory panel as well as seeing work from The Royal Bank of Scotland and

Nationwide on a regular basis. The firm’s roster of building society clients is the envy of the country. Supporting Papworth is former Allen & Overy star Ian Borman – he has pretty much single-handedly turned the fortunes of SJ Berwin’s banking practice around with his leading leveraged finance expertise. Recent work includes advising Ranjit Singh Boparan, and his company, Boparan Holdings, on the acquisition financing of its successful, contested £342m offer for Northern Foods. Bingham McCutchen’s James Roome is our partner leading on the restructuring side. Throughout the recession he was one of a handful of lawyers who cornered a serious chunk of the big ticket restructuring mandates – he also brings with him deep ties with Goldman Sachs. Standout work of late includes advising the ad hoc committee of senior secured note holders on the €1.8bn restructuring of Wind Hellas, a Greek telecommunications operator, via a pre-packaged administration sale. Picking just one individual at Ropes & Gray was hard but Jane Rogers is our choice. Since being transferred from Boston in late 2010 to bolster the London office’s high-yield capability, she has acted on a string of deals, including the financing aspects of Liberty Global’s $4.5bn acquisition of Kabel BadenWuerttemberg. Her addition gives the team balance with her US expertise. James Linforth at Stephenson Harwood was a highly respected real estate finance partner at SNR Denton before he left in late 2011 and has left something of a hole at his former firm. He has carried that form on and has quickly won plaudits at his new firm. Recent experience includes acting for HSBC on the acquisition of five shopping centres from the CPI Retail Active Management Fund and advising Wells Fargo Capital Finance on financing the $100m public to private acquisition of Trafficmaster.

Dr

Spencer Summerfield is arguably the leading corporate lawyer outside of the established elite

DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Head: Lista Cannon, Fulbright & Jaworski Partners: Pietro Marino, Enyo Law; Louise Hodges, Kingsley Napley; Clive Zietman, Stewarts Law; George Maling, Nabarro; Peter Fitzpatrick, Nabarro; Tom Sprange, King & Spalding With litigation-driven City fi rms and u high-end boutiques, disputes throws up

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Where are they now? We last picked out our dream team a decade ago. Of the seven management and practice heads we chose back then, only two are still at the same firm. Our pick for senior partner, Richard Price, remained at the helm of CMS Cameron McKenna until May 2011 and he is still one of its leading corporate lawyers. Mark Jones, our managing partner, stood down from his role at Addleshaw Goddard after 17 successful years in 2009. He maintains a very active role in the business, heading up the firm’s Professional Practices Consultancy. Our joint heads of corporate in 2002 were Paul Maher of Rowe & Maw and Alan Greenough of Pinsents Curtis Biddle. The former left Mayer Brown in mid-2009 to set up Greenberg Traurig Maher in London, where he has grown the office into a credible City presence in a short space of time. Greenough is not the dominant force in the market he was ten years ago. Following a difficult two-year stint at White & Case between 2004 to 2006 he moved to rebuild Lovells’ private equity practice where he has stayed to this day. Graham Wedlake headed up our banking and finance practice while he was at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert. The intervening years have seen him briefly join Winston & Strawn and then Taylor Wessing before moving to Mayer Brown in 2009. Alan Samson is still at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and co-heads the firm’s real estate practice. On the disputes side, our pick for head was John Reynolds, then of McDermott Will & Emery. He now leads White & Case’s commercial litigation team. Of all the lawyers picked last time Spencer Summerfield is the only repeat name this time around. In 2002 he was mentioned as an up and coming partner who’s ‘stock was on the rise’.

u an embarrassment of riches; here we have

concocted a team that is capable of taking on the largest commercial matters, anti-bank, arbitration and criminal work. Anthony Maton at Hausfeld & Co has been quietly building a formidable team at the class action specialist and any one of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s senior team would be a worthy head; the same goes for any of the founding partners at boutique Enyo Law. Elsewhere, Richard Caird, head of commercial litigation and arbitration at SNR Denton, and James Burns at Clyde & Co also come in for high praise. However, Lista Cannon from Fulbright & Jaworski heads our team because of her track record of rolling her sleeves up: she has a formidable reputation as an exceptional biller. She was responsible for establishing Richards Butler’s disputes practice before leaving in 2005 to join Fulbright and has established herself as an engaging thought-leader on disputes-related matters, being appointed as the deputy head of the US firm’s global litigation practice in 2012. Her experience in high-value financial services disputes will also be invaluable: she is currently representing a leading German bank in fund management litigation against one of the largest UK banks, a flavour of the type of cases she regularly handles. Pietro Marino of Enyo Law is known to be a phenomenally hard grafter and is regarded by many as key to the success of the boutique firm formed by a trio of Addleshaws partners in 2010 (see ‘Free at last’, LB216, page 22). He advised Boris Berezovsky in his successful opposition to Roman Abramovich’s application to strike out Berezovsky’s claim, and also represented Hammonds in its dispute with former partners a few years ago. In a Kingsley Napley team with no shortage of star partners, Louise Hodges has made a real name for herself as one of the finest criminal fraud lawyers in the country. Last year she represented UBS rogue trader Kweku Adoboli and is also involved in the Leveson inquiry, advising on the criminal aspects of the phone-hacking scandal. Stewarts Law’s head of commercial disputes, Clive Zietman, is a high-profile, experienced litigator who would bring a seriously impressive track record in banking disputes. He has made no bones about taking on the banks in litigation for many years and is representing a group of 83 bankers claiming €50m in unpaid bonuses from Commerzbank – the case is the largest bankers’

bonus dispute to be litigated in the wake of the financial crisis. While George Maling and Peter Fitzpatrick are superb practitioners in their own right, you could argue that like Ming vases, they are worth more as a pair. They moved together to Nabarro from Howrey in 2007 and have built an exceptional disputes practice. Ryanair, a notably litigious client, has used the duo for a number of years. The international arbitration community is very much a club, comprising some of the biggest names in global law and a handful of US specialists. We needed a rising star, which is why we’ve chosen Tom Sprange from King & Spalding. He has very quickly built a leading reputation as an arbitrator with an ‘amazing intellect’ and is no stranger to the International Court of Arbitration and the American Arbitration Association. He joined the firm in mid-2011 from Steptoe & Johnson where he made partner in 2004.

Re

REAL ESTATE

Head: Jane Hollinshead, Addleshaw Goddard Partner: Duncan Field, SJ Berwin Despite the suffering inflicted on the property sector in recent years, a strong and dynamic real estate practice is critical. Well-established names such as Bruce Dear at Eversheds and Bryan Pickup at SJ Berwin were naturally in with a shout. Richard Ford at Pinsents is also well respected. However, Jane Hollinshead at Addleshaws stands out as having the perfect balance of being universally admired by clients, colleagues and peers, and enjoying a leading reputation as a practitioner. She brings with her a deep well of commercial experience plus key relationships with Lloyds Banking Group and a string of other lenders. Planning and environment partner Duncan Field at SJ Berwin is ‘a star pure and simple’, says one peer, and is the right foil for Hollinshead’s commercial experience. He brings with him an impressive portfolio of work for the likes of the Crown Estate, Marks & Spencer and London City Airport.

Co

COMPETITION

Head: Tim Frazer, Arnold & Porter Partner: Douglas Lahnborg, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe A top competition team needs the right balance between connections at regulatory level, gravitas in the boardroom

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and boundless energy. Again this is an area traditionally dominated by Global Elite and Major International firms. However, there are a raft of alternatives at US and UK firms, such as Elaine Gibson-Bolton and Tom Usher at SJ Berwin, or even stars outside the City, such as Laura Claydon at Burges Salmon, Bernardine Adkins at Wragge & Co or Mark Clough QC at Brodies. Our pick, however, is Tim Frazer from Arnold & Porter. Frazer has proved time and again that despite the firm’s relatively small size in the City he is capable of delivering consistently for blue chip clients, including Kraft Foods, which he advised on merger clearance issues related to its hostile bid for Cadbury. Clients also include Philip Morris International and Motorola. He is a class act and, with his management experience of heading the London office, is the perfect choice to head our competition team. To support him is the highly regarded Douglas Lahnborg from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s City office. Having cut his teeth in Slaughter and May’s formidable London practice, Lahnborg stands out in a strong field for his work for clients such as Cable&Wireless and Aviva. He acted for Telenor on the competition aspects of the sale of its mobile assets in Russia and Ukraine to VimpelCom, and for TurboHercules SAS in convincing the European Commission to open proceedings into IBM’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in the mainframe computer market.

Ip

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Head: David Wilkinson, Stevens & Bolton Partner: Ari Laakkonen, Powell Gilbert IP provides an endless supply of options for our hypothetical firm. Leading IP lawyers have never necessarily been part of the natural make-up of the leading elite firms and few of the international firms can boast a pre-eminent practice. As such, candidates for these positions could have come from any number of firms, including Bristows, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Harbottle & Lewis, Redd Solicitors and Wragge & Co. However, we’ve gone for David Wilkinson, the head of IP at Guildford-based Stevens & Bolton, to lead our team. Wilkinson joined Stevens & Bolton in 2006 to head up its IP practice from Bristows, where he had been a partner for seven years. He has turned the IP practice into an overwhelming

Lista Cannon has established herself as an engaging thought-leader on disputes-related matters success, providing a high-quality, better value proposition to clients that has contributed significantly to the firm’s recent strong financials. As a practitioner he is an excellent all-rounder, particularly on soft IP issues. Recent experience includes Future Publishing v Edge Games – a copyright infringement, passing off and breach of contract case. To complement an experienced broad IP specialist we need a hardcore patent litigator, a rocket scientist that has unparalleled ability in an important area of technology. Ari Laakkonen at Powell Gilbert fits the bill perfectly. He heralds from an excellent stable in Bird & Bird but joined Powell Gilbert directly from Nokia, where he was director of IPR Legal. His responsibilities included managing Nokia’s IP litigation in Europe, including multi-jurisdictional disputes. He knows telecoms patents inside out, which given the global wars being raged over smartphone and tablet patents would be an absolutely crucial part of any IP team right now. In 2011 he represented Sony and successfully had an embargo lifted on importing Sony PlayStations into the Netherlands following LG Electronics challenging the company over patent infringements.

Tx

TAX

Head: Simon Whitehead, Dorsey & Whitney Partner: Eloise Walker, Pinsent Masons Our firm’s tax group will be more focused on contentious work but will still retain the

ability to create tax structures and act as corporate support when needed. One of the key drivers for tax in recent years has been controversy and this is only going to intensify as tax authorities step up their hunt for evaders and avoiders. For that reason Dorsey & Whitney’s international tax head Simon Whitehead will lead the team. Others in contention for the post included Nicholas Noble at Field Fisher Waterhouse and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy London office managing partner Russell Jacobs. But Whitehead is described as the ‘go-to guy if you want a no-nonsense approach to success’ and ‘the first person any company should think about in tax litigation’. He has a string of cases pending in the Supreme Court and Court of Justice of the EU particularly, leading a number of group claims including the Thin Cap group litigation and the FII group litigation. Eloise Walker moved from Linklaters to Pinsents in 2008 and brings with her significant corporate tax, structured and asset finance and investment funds expertise. She is singled out as a young partner very much at the peak of her powers (she made partner before reaching 40) and is equally at home advising on structures as well as supporting corporate deals.

Em

EMPLOYMENT

Head: Clare Murray, CM Murray Partner: Jane Mann, Fox Williams Clare Murray’s blend of experience in partnership law, City executive exits and appointments, high-value discrimination claims, team moves and restrictive covenants tipped the balance in favour of her heading up the employment team. Her experience first as a partner at Fox Williams and in setting up her own boutique in 2006 makes her the right choice to lead the practice. We have opted for Jane Mann at Fox Williams to round off our senior team – top loading what has become an increasingly important practice area, calling for two of the leading employment specialists in the country. Mann represented Chelsea Football Club when its former director Paul Smith brought a claim in the employment tribunal and in proceedings brought by former director and owner Ken Bates. LB jeremy.hodges@legalease.co.uk

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_LB222 Fantasy Law  

C F F F F Team head Lista Cannon Ian Borman Graham Gibb Team head Richard Papworth Team head Spencer Summerfield Clive Zietman Alexander Msi...

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