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Contenders emerge to take Freshfields London corporate crown

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has is about to kickstart the hunt for a London corproate head with former Asia managing partner Simon Marchant and deal-maker Julian Makin emerging as early frontrunners. The consultation process to appoint a new leader will kick off in the next few weeks with the aim of filling the position by mid…

Paul Weiss brings in London practice chief to look after best friends network

The London office of Paul Weiss has hired a practice development specialist to manage its referral relationships in the UK. The New York firm, which does not currently have any English law capability, operates a best friends network with firms that include Slaughter and May, Nabarro and Macfarlanes. Former Baker & McKenzie business development manager…

Morgan Cole and Blake Lapthorn to create £72m firm post July merger

Blake Lapthorn is set to merge with Morgan Cole on 1 July 2014 to create a firm with a combined turnover of £72m. The merged firm will be named Blake Morgan. It is to be led by Blake Lapthorn managing partner Walter Cha, who has overseen four mergers at his firm since 2001. Blake Lapthorn…

Clifford Chance, Simpson Thacher and Travers Smith advise on Pets at Home IPO

Clifford Chance, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Travers Smith have all scooped roles on the £1.2bn IPO of Pets at Home. The company’s private equity owners KKR turned to long-time adviser, Simpson Thacher corporate partner Adam Signy, for the listing. Simpson Thacher and Clifford Chance have been jostling for position on the private equity house’s…

Herbert Smith Freehills names China chief D'Agostino as global litigation head

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has appointed Hong Kong based partner Justin D’Agostino as its new global dispute resolution head, succeeding Sonya Leydecker who will take up the co-CEO role from 1 May 2014. D’Agostino will commence the new role from 1 May 2014 for a four-year term, when Leydecker and Mark Rigotti become joint CEOs…

US energy giant Sutherland launches in London with boutique merger

Atlanta and Washington DC-based US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan is entering the UK market through a merger with London commodities boutique Arbis. The combination of Sutherland and Arbis will go live today (Tuesday) as the US firm becomes the latest practice to target the energy and commodities market. Arbis will rebrand as Arbis Sutherland…

PLMJ sets up Swiss presence to target HNWI work

Portuguese firm PLMJ has set up a Swiss desk and opened an office in Lausanne in response to increasing amounts of work involving private clients with assets in Switzerland. The initiative is led by partner Nuno Cunha Barnabé, who was recently admitted to practise in the canton of Vaud and is now spending several days…

Shanghai to pilot China’s legal market liberalisation measures

A Shanghai Bureau of Justice official has hinted that the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone’s (FTZ) experiment on allowing associations between Chinese and foreign firms will lead to further opening up of the country’s legal services sector. The FTZ was launched in September 2013 to test-run an opening up of China’s financial system, easing restrictions…

Uría Menéndez returns to growth with 3 per cent revenue rise to €185.46m

Slaughter and May best friend Uría Menéndez has reported the strongest figures of all the big four Spanish firms, hitting a revenue rise of 2.9 per cent for 2013. The firm has reported revenue of €185.46m (£155.2m) for the last year, up from €180.2m in 2012 (1 March 2013). The growth came with no change…

BLP launches Myanmar partnership and Asia network

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has become the latest firm to move into Myanmar through a tie-up with local firm Legal Network Consultants (LNC). The Yangon-based firm is headed by Khin Mar Aye and the relationship is part of BLP’s newly-launched Asia network, which it will use to join up with other local firms across the…