Norton Rose Fulbright leads 2017 law firm mergers

Herbert Smith Freehills advises on bionic eye investment… Cooking smells are a crime Italian court rules…

Norton Rose Fulbright leads 2017 law firm mergers
Norton Rose Fulbright leads 2017 law firm mergers
Law firm mergers got off to a fast pace in 2017 according to the latest report from legal profession consulting firm Altman Weil.

Its MergerLine data shows that there were 28 mergers involving US law firms in the first quarter of 2017 with the combination of Norton Rose Fulbright and Chadbourne & Parke the largest deal.

DLA Piper’s mergers – with Danish firm LETT and Portugal’s ABBC – was another large deal while Dentons expanded its global footprint with tie-ups in the Netherlands and Mexico.

While these big deals make headlines, the majority of combinations involve smaller firms with 85.7 per cent of mergers in the first three months of 2017 involving firms with fewer than 20 lawyers.

“The law firm merger market really has three distinct tracks right now,” says Altman Weil principal Tom Clay. “There’s an extremely active and competitive market for small law firms, with acquirers of all sizes in the hunt. There’s a growing interest in overseas expansion that is almost exclusively the province of very large law firms. And, there are infrequent but important large mergers that are potential game changers for the two firms and can directly impact the competitive landscape.”

Herbert Smith Freehills advises on bionic eye investment
A team from Herbert Smith Freehills has advised on an U$18 million investment in Australian firm Bionic Vision Technologies by Hong Kong based China Huarong International Holdings.

BVT is owned by a series of university research vehicles and has been established to develop and commercialise bionic eye implants to help restore limited vision to people with retinitis pigmentosa.

The HSF team was led by Melbourne partner Nick Baker, Hong Kong partner Alexander Aitken, and special counsel Amalia Stone.

Cooking smells are a crime Italian court rules

Allowing cooking smells to escape the confines of the kitchen and enter neighbours’ homes is illegal, Italy’s supreme court has ruled.

The Court of Cassation in Rome considered a dispute between residents of an apartment block involving a couple who enjoyed cooking rich pasta sauces, the smell from which was not appreciated by their neighbours.

Two lower courts ruled that the cooking smells were anti-social behaviour but the couple persisted with their appeal. The supreme court in Italy upheld the lower courts’ rulings.

The Court of Cassation ruled that the couple were indeed guilty of what they termed “olfactory molestation.”

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