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07/20/06

Ballard Spahr in Vegas

Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll has inducted three new partners to manage the operations of the firm's new office in Las Vegas. The new office represents the first step in Ballard Spahr's stated goal of Westward expansion. They plan to make the Las Vegas office a 50-attorney entity.

The new office is likely to concentrate on five aspects: gaming, real estate development, public finance, business and finance, and litigation. While the firm plans to cater to the customized needs of its clients in Las Vegas, many predict that they will face a hard time. The Las Vegas legal community is not often kind to outsiders.

With the latest development, Ballard now has eight U.S. offices, including three offices out West - Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Denver.

Reed Smith and Richards Butler hammer out merger details
After signing a merger agreement last month, U.S.-based law firm Reed Smith and London-based Richards Butler have begun working on integration issues. Operations of the new firm are expected to commence on January 1, 2007. Reed Smith's Director of Strategic Planning Michael Pollack is in charge of negotiating the tougher details, such as the location of the new merged entity.

As reported by lawyer.com, the merger of the two firms is not likely to reflect major changes in the equity ranks at either firm. That, however, remains to be seen. Reed Smith and Richards Butler will leverage their association to expand their practice areas, cater to clients across Europe, and consolidate their position in the region.

Sidley Austin to enhance its presence in London
In an effort to further beef up its London insurance practice, Sidley Austin has decided to send two senior U.S. attorneys to its London office. The duo is expected to work on increasing the strength of the team that specializes in reinsurance and corporate matters pertaining to the insurance sector.

Over the next few months, the firm hopes to use the success of its U.S. insurance practice to bolster its London office. Sidley Austin made news early in 2006 after luring away a team of associates from DLA Piper, including its insurance restructuring manager, in order to build its London branch.

Lovells lures away White & Case partner
In order to rebuild its private equity practice group in London, Lovells is planning to rope in former White & Case corporate partner Alan Greenough. Greenough has expertise in corporate work, including private equity, M&A, and cross border transactions. He agreed to leave White & Case for Lovells, but the firm's board of directors is still voting on the measure.

Among the achievements detailed on Greenough's resume include the Baxi group's secondary buyout, the Legal and General Ventures-backed MBO of Tragus, and Castle Harlan-backed MBO of Polypipe Building Products. He also has significant experience in M&A deals, including Liberty Global's acquisition of Switzerland's Cablecom in 2005.

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