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Freshfields, Linklaters lead equity deal rankings

The prevailing uncertainty in the equity capital markets field could not curb the growth of law firms Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, who continue to hold their own as leading advisory firms to top corporations. According to a study conducted by Thomson Financial, 492 equity-related deals were completed across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in the first six months of 2006. As compared to previous year, there was an increase of 29 percent in the volumes of equity capital markets reflected in the number of equity deals, which rose from 380 to 492.

Freshfields, Linklaters Lead Equity Deal Rankings

Linklaters maintained the lead with 37 deals with a market share of 7.5 percent followed by Freshfields which completed 14 deals worth $8.5 billion. The legal experts attribute the success of the law firms to their respective growth strategies despite volatile market conditions due to summer slowdown. Europe, especially the UK, has witnessed an invasion of foreign companies and law firms vying to increase their market share by involving themselves in major corporate deals.

Other prominent law firms to find a place among the top-10 in the list are Norton Rose, Ashurst, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Allen & Overy, Shearman & Sterling, Clifford Chance , Jones Day, and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Reed Smith commences program to propagate diversity in law firm
Promoting the principle of diversity among law firms, Reed Smith has embarked on a new program to motivate and promote female staff to higher positions in the firm. As part of this initiative, various workshops have been planned to promote growth opportunities for women in the legal profession., an interactive business and professional magazine, reported that Reed Smith has tied up with a nonprofit research group, Catalyst, to design the workshops that will provide information pertaining to career development targets and enhancing skills of trainees and associates.

These workshops will feature participation of leading female attorneys and partners from various firms. It will also address issues of women associates which include lack of client development opportunities, lack of mentoring opportunities, commitment to family responsibilities, exclusion from informal networks, and lack of role models. Sharing of information and other profession-related success stories of female lawyers will enable associates to look for higher ranks in the firm thereby establishing their own identity.

McGlinchey Stafford unites with NaviSite to upgrade IT infrastructure
Aiming for technological advancement, McGlinchey Stafford has hired the services of NaviSite, an IT services provider that will extend services of protection and centralization of its IT structure. The law firm was looking for an appropriate partner to help upgrading its IT infrastructure at its New Orleans office which was affected by last year's Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, the tie-up will provide a secure IT platform to efficiently serve the firm's clients.

McGlinchey Stafford enjoys the reputation of being a leading commercial law firm in the southeastern region of the United States with offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Monroe, Louisiana; Houston and Dallas, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; Cleveland, Ohio; and Albany, New York. Its key areas of practice include banking and consumer financial services, business and corporate law, environmental, gaming, labor and employment, trust, wills and estates, government relations, healthcare, litigation, real estate, and taxation. NaviSite provides IT hosting, outsourcing, and professional services for mid- to large-sized organizations to its clients in the U.S., UK, and India.

Two Florida-based law firms to integrate operations
In one of its first merger initiative in the past 20 years, Florida-based Jones Foster Johnston & Stubbs has firmed up plans to integrate its operations with Berrocal & Wilkins. Along with its existing practice at West Palm Beach and Stuart, the merger will allow Jones Foster to acquire Berrocal & Wilkins's office premises in Jupiter. It will also witness the inclusion of two partners and two associates, bringing the firm's headcount to a total of 37 lawyers.

The addition of the two lawyers will add expertise in civil trial law and business litigation practice. The merger will allow Berrocal to venture into the estate planning practice. Jones Foster practices in agricultural law; business and corporate law; employment law; product liability defense; real estate; taxation; trusts and estates; litigation; municipal law; bankruptcy and creditor's rights, and eminent domain. Berrocal & Weaver has expertise in family law, civil litigation and probate, and guardianship and trust administration.

Foley & Lardner LLP

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