Stretching a point

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

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Mergers cannot just be finance driven

first_img Jeanette Lucy is the director for compliance, quality and learning with law firm network LawNet The publication of The Law Consultancy Network’s research (July 2012) shows that the appetite for mergers continues unabated, with 80% of the firms surveyed having considered the possibility within the last six months. And for firms heading down the merger path, the spotlight tends to be on matters financial. But although finance may be at the forefront of negotiations, when you’re undertaking due diligence, what about other issues such as compliance culture, risk management and quality regimes? It is vital to talk to insurers at the earliest stages to make sure that claims histories are fully reviewed and premiums can be calculated. Too often, failure to do this leads to the merger falling apart at the final stages, because the indemnity premium becomes the deal-breaker. And if your firm is taking over a smaller practice, then have you explored how to avoid becoming a successor practice? Compliance cultures vary between firms and go from light touch – where fee-earners have autonomy to evaluate their own risks within the firm’s overall risk framework – to regimes where the compliance officers make all the decisions and there is a rigid system with no autonomy. Neither extreme is right or wrong; what matters is robust risk management, but any system must ensure that the risks within the firm are controlled and that the right culture is created within the new firm to ensure buy-in from everyone. Otherwise, if the merging firms have different approaches to compliance and this is not tackled, it can cause serious relationship problems. Tension may be created between individuals and teams, if the approach to risk is seen as preventing fee income generation. So it is important to talk about your attitude and understand how compliance works in each of the merging firms. Analyse the two firms’ systems and make sure that there can be a good fit. Look at the gaps and differences between them. Are there different quality systems? If so, how can these be reconciled? Identify any other differences that need to be reviewed, to ensure a common approach across the new firm. Looking at specific risk areas, it’s very important to look closely at client acceptance procedures. As well as having consistency in the type of client the merged firms will accept, most importantly everyone needs to understand what types of client are considered too high risk. Similarly, file closure procedures should be reviewed to ensure consistency. What happens about file audits? A review of both firms’ procedures needs to take place and a system must be put in place which matches the requirements of the new firm. Training for the merged firm’s partners/managers/directors, fee-earners and staff is vital to ensure everyone is clear about the merged firms risk and compliance policy, its anti-money laundering procedures and who the compliance officers for legal practice and compliance officers for finance and administration are. More than anything, it is crucial that the cultural, compliance and working practices of two merging firms are examined and designed to fit the new firm to ensure the success of any merger adventure.last_img read more

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Norton Rose announces transatlantic merger

first_imgInternational firm Norton Rose has announced a merger deal with a US practice that will cement its place in the top 10 global firms. The firm will combine with Fulbright & Jaworski on 1 June, 2013 to form Norton Rose Fulbright. The new practice will have 3,800 lawyers and be in the top 10 internationally by gross revenues and fee-earners. It will have 55 offices internationally, including 11 in the US, where it will have nearly 800 lawyers. The operation will stretch across much of Europe, East Asia and the Middle East. Peter Martyr (pictured), Norton Rose’s chief executive, said: ‘The US legal market is the largest in the world and our combination will create a truly global practice with significant depth of expertise in the world’s principal business and financial centres. ‘We have been looking at the US market for a number of years, seeking a firm that meets our requirements for excellence in law, good business synergies and a compatible culture. ‘Fulbright & Jaworski meets all our criteria; it is financially strong, with forward-looking management and similar strategic growth aspirations.’ He added that the new firm would expect to extend its global business not only in the US but in the emerging markets of Latin America, Africa and Asia. By industry sector, Norton Rose Fulbright will occupy a market leading position in the areas of energy; pharmaceuticals and life sciences (including healthcare); financial institutions; infrastructure, mining and commodities; technology and transport. Martyr will be global chief executive of Norton Rose Fulbright, with Ken Stewart, chair-elect of Fulbright, serving as managing partner of the US operations. Other Fulbright partners will also sit on the global executive committee. The merger is the latest attempt by a leading firm to bolster its size, following on from Herbert Smith’s merger with Australian firm Freehills in October.last_img read more

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News Focus: Cobbetts

first_imgAs the Gazette went to press, it was unclear whether a drinks party at national firm Cobbetts was going ahead as planned. In the uncertainty following the firm’s acquisition amid financial troubles, the atmosphere at the Birmingham event would hardly have been conducive to ‘a wind-down and a few celebratory beers’ as the invitation promised. A wind-down of a different kind, perhaps.One person probably not in the mood for celebrations was Jayne Firth, whose recruitment from Pinsent Masons as first associate on Cobbetts’ pensions team was announced on 17 January. Firth had said: ‘I look forward to working with the teams at Cobbetts to build on our existing high-quality client base with a view to further extend and modernise the services we provide.’News of Cobbetts’ financial troubles appears to have come as a shock to almost everyone. On the day last week that it announced that ‘the appropriate course at this time is for the firm to obtain the protection of an interim statutory moratorium to enable a sale of the business and assets’, it tweeted: ‘Welcoming one of our new directors… Nadeem from @Cobbetts talks about his appointment to the @JCIManchester team.’Certainly, there was little indication of trouble ahead in the firm’s announcement of half-year results in December, headed ‘a steady ship at Cobbetts’.Managing partner Nick Carr (pictured) announced fee income of more than £20m – consistent with the previous year – although a profit figure was absent. Carr said: ‘Our half-year results ensure we remain on target, and new client wins mean that trading predictions for the next six months are strong. We expect to meet our financial targets by year end.’Within six weeks, the firm had created a debenture securing lender Lloyds TSB against all of its debt and future debt.Just a few days later, the game was up and a fire sale was under way, culminating in the announcement of a pre-pack acquisition by DWF – the very firm that had been the subject of merger talks last year. Cobbetts refused to comment further, amid widespread speculation about the causes of the collapse.However, some facts are already clear. According to the most recent financial report, filed last January for the 2011 calendar year, Cobbetts was battling against falling profits despite seeing turnover increase. Profits fell by £400,000 year on year to £10.6m. During that period, the largest amount drawn by a partner went up from £292,500 in 2010 to £400,000.Long-term loans were reduced from £9m to £6m, but the short-term debt – that which was due to be paid by the end of calendar 2012 – jumped from £591,000 to £2.7m. Whatever the state of its finances more recently, Cobbetts continued to make hay – or so it seemed. Last July the firm promoted 24 members of staff across its four offices, including five to partner. The retention rate for trainees rose to 80% in 2012, up from 73% in 2011.And while the likes of Eversheds, Pinsent Masons and CMS Cameron McKenna made headlines by collectively pruning hundreds of jobs last month, there were no bad news stories at Cobbetts. Cobbetts is a full service law firm with a mixed client base of individuals and businesses. Recent work has included advising Premier Inn on its largest-ever hotel opening, working with supporters trusts to acquire stakes in Rangers and Portsmouth football clubs, and providing legal support to the Manchester International Festival.It appeared to be building on steady growth over the past 11 years, through mergers with Fox Brooks Marshall and Read Hind Stewart. It had offices established in expensive areas of Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London. Reportedly, around half of the firm’s 500 staff were fee-earners.There was, however, an element of the ‘squeezed middle’ about Cobbetts. Not wealthy or prestigious enough to cast off the regional tag and enter the higher echelons of the legal profession; nor resilient enough to stave off the threat from other firms snapping at its heels in the crowded Manchester market.A market-moving merger might have been the solution – as it will surely be for many firms of similar size – but this option collapsed, for unspecified reasons, when DWF pulled out of a proposed deal in January last year. Cobbetts will not be the only firm casting nervous glances at its balance sheet. According to a market survey by the Law Society, Ministry of Justice and Legal Services Board, more than one-fifth of firms had experienced problems with financing in the previous 12 months.The Gazette’s Cobbetts archive is filled with new hires and concluded deals. Most intriguing is a story from 2006, where Cobbetts and now-defunct Halliwells signed up to a legal practice course for their future trainees. Now the two firms are linked once again, but for all the wrong reasons.last_img read more

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STEAM rises during Farmington Founders Festival

first_imgMore than a month has passed since the Greater Farmington Founders Festival, and one thing seems certain: People have differing opinions about how it went.Organized by the Greater Farmington Area Chamber, the event brought music, food vendors, activities for kids and teens, and a little controversy to downtown Farmington. Events were also held at Shiawassee Park.Chamber Director Mary Martin, who was hired last November, jumped into the planning process by meeting with committees in December. She said the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) theme reflected what’s happening in the community, such as the opening of the Farmington Public Schools STEAM Academy in the former Dunckel Middle School on 12 Mile Road.The Hackbots drew attention on Farmington Road with their robotics display. New activities included two days of “STEAM Heat” in Shiawassee Park with the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum and a Mad Science show on the State Street stage. Martin said a booth on Farmington Road showcasing the Hackbots, a Farmington Public Schools robotics team, was also a big hit.“The kids were just drawn to that,” she said. “They loved it… Seeing how those were accepted, I was really happy about that.”The popularity of a Friday “Light the Night” display of hot air balloons in Shiawassee Park “caught everybody by surprise,” Martin said. Hundreds of people showed up to watch the balloons, even though they never left the ground.Hot air balloons light up the night and drew hundreds of people to Shiawassee Park. But the event wasn’t without controversy. One business owner was particularly vocal on social media with complaints about the closing of Farmington Road, which restricted access to his business.Martin said the decision was made to carve out a space for kids who were “too old for bounce houses” and activities in Shiawassee Park. The State Street stage hosted shows from morning through late afternoon; some booths, several inflatables, and a climbing wall filled in the area south of State.Activities for older children occupied Farmington Road during Founders Festival.One perpetual complaint in recent years has centered around the “Crafters Marketplace,” formerly located on Farmington Road and moved this year to Riley Park and Market Place, the street on the park’s west side. Crafters and artists displayed their wares but seemed outnumbered by commercial vendors, like home improvement and home-based businesses.Farmington Voice reader Kristen O’Dea pointed out a conflict that may limit the Festival’s ability to draw more creatives.“In my opinion, Farmington won’t be in a position to compete for crafters/artists if (the Festival is) held the same weekend as the Ann Arbor Art Fair,” she said. Also held the third weekend in July, that event draws hundreds of artists from around the country.Lesa Ferencz, also a Voice reader, said the Crafters Marketplace usually brings her family out for the daytime part of the festival. This year, they “browsed very little, bought nothing.”“We don’t give the commercial, informational, and carnival-type booths any of our attention,” she said. “The layout felt very disjointed to me which left the daytime activities feeling empty and frustrating. Our faith in the craft booth part of the festival has been slim to none for a very long time.”“We shopped at Bead Bohemia, Sunflour Bakehaus, and Dagwood’s while we were in town for the festival,” she added.Martin said she has considered adding something like a Maker Faire next year.“If we did that with the STEAM stuff, that would be great branding for us,” she said.Financially, the Festival brought in about 5.5 percent more in revenues over last year. What stood out most in her first year, Martin said, was the community, the volunteers (including many Chamber members), attending a “heart-warming” Miss Farmington pageant, and the success of the first-ever Color Run, which preceded Saturday’s parade.“Those are the kinds of things I can look back on and say, that was so much fun, and the community embraced them,” she said. Reported by admin Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Football Conducts Fan Day Scrimmage; Nobles Named Week One Starter

first_imgQuarterback Kaleb Nobles completed 6-of-8 passes for 77 yards and threw three touchdowns. At the end of the scrimmage, UWF head coach Pete Shinnick commented on how consistent the graduate transfer from Valdosta State had been through camp. “I’m pleased with Kaleb tonight and he stepped up and found a good rhythm so that was nice to see,” Shinnick said. “If we started today, Kaleb would be the guy and the last couple days that has played itself out. He started 12 games over his career and he’s got that experience and brings a nice calm to the offense.”Redshirt freshman Grey Jackson split time with the first and second team offense Thursday, completing six passes for 39 yards and a touchdown.”Grey is going to play (at Ave Maria),” Shinnick added. “He’s going to play in the first game and we expect hime to continue to grow and continue to develop.”For the blue team, sophomore Kalu Onumah had a very strong performance, leading his unit to a long drive that he capped with a 1-yard rush for a score. He was 7-for-11 for 113 yards through the air and 27 yards on the ground.The squad will take a recovery day on Friday to regain their legs before opening preparation for Ave Maria on Monday afternoon. PENSACOLA, Fla. – The UWF football team conducted a 74-play scrimmage as part of its inaugural Fan Day in front of more than 1,400 fans at the University Park Turf Field Thursday night.The students, boosters, friends and players’ family members in attendance were treated to a number of strong offensive performances as the team was split into a blue team and white team, as opposed to the offense and defense from last week’s exercise.center_img  Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

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Super Eagles spokesman opens up on Mikel Obi’s retirement

first_imgThe Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Toyin Ibitoye, has insisted that John Mikel Obi has not retired from international football.Mikel Obi, who is the captain of the Nigerian national team, has not featured since the 2018 World Cup in Russia.He was not named in Gernot Rohr’s 23-man squad to take on South Africa next month.“Mikel has not retired from international football.“He remains the captain of the national team.“But the reality of it is that he is not getting any younger. And the positive (from this) is that other players now have a chance to step up in his absence,” Ibitoye told Greetings FM Abuja.last_img read more

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Kenai Man Arrested After Reports Of Counterfeit Money

first_imgFacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享A 28-year-old Kenai man was arrested on Tuesday, January 3, after a report of counterfeit money at local businesses. The Kenai Police Department hasn’t identified the businesses, but say Dominik K. Dalton was arrested on four counts of Felony Forgery 1 st Degree. Dalton was transported to Wildwood Pre-Trial Facility.last_img

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Transfers: Another EPL Player Joins Inter Milan, Mourinho Bolsters Spurs Squad

first_img“The numbers say that I did really well in England. It’s now time to start a new challenge, I’m really happy to have the opportunity to play in Serie A for a big team. Inter is a fantastic Club,” he added.With the 27-year-old’s contract set to end at Tottenham by the end of the season, Eriksen could have joined Inter for free in the summer.The Dane joined Tottenham from Ajax for £11.5m in August 2013 and after an initially slow start, he blossomed under the management of Mauricio Pochettino and became a core part of a team that established themselves in the Premier League’s top four and, on occasion, pushed for the title.He was also part of the Spurs side that reached last season’s Champions League final, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool and, ultimately, there were no trophies for the team when they were at their best and prior to a downturn this season that led to Pochettino being sacked in November.Spurs also have announced the addition of Giovani Lo Celso on a permanent basis from Real Betis in a deal worth about €35m. The Argentinian, who has impressed recently after returning from injury, has signed a contract until 2025. Giovani Lo Celso According to The Guardian, the North London side have also agreed on a fee of €30m for PSV Eindhoven’s winger Steven Bergwijn, plus €2m in add-ons, with the player set to undertake his medical and put the finishing touches to the transfer. Steven Bergwijn RelatedSix Of The Best And Worst Serie A January 2020 SigningsApril 27, 2020In “Italy”Spurs Open To Selling Eriksen To Premier League RivalsDecember 19, 2019In “England”Jose Mourinho Makes Gedson Fernandes First Spurs SigningJanuary 15, 2020In “England” Inter Milan has announced the signing of Christian Eriksen from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of  €20m (£16.9m) on Tuesday.Eriksen had already agreed to personal terms with the Nerrazuri who are second in Serie A and has now signed a contract that will keep him with the Italian giants for the next four-and-a-half-years.“I couldn’t wait to join, it’s wonderful to be here and I’m happy to be a new Inter player,” Eriksen told Inter TV after putting pen to paper on his contract.last_img read more

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Cricket News World Test Championships Reworking Main Agenda In ICC Contingency Meeting For Coronavirus

first_imgNew Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic has shut down all sports with cricket being totally locked down. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the series that has been affected are England vs Sri Lanka, Pakistan vs Bangladesh, India vs South Africa as well as Australia vs New Zealand. The England vs Sri Lanka series was part of the ICC World Test Championships and this postponment has thrown the entire Future Tours Program (FTP) out of gear. With the United Kingdom facing a massive lockdown for close to six months and with Australia imposing an indefinite travel ban due to the coronavirus, the prospects of a resumption of cricket in the near future look pretty bleak.In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has arranged a meeting via video-conferencing to discuss the contingency plans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected cricket. Prior to the meeting, in a report on PTI, it was said that no concrete decisions will emerge from the meeting. But with the situation worsening, there will be a contingency plan that will be proposed with regards to the Men’s World T20 that will be played in October-November in Australia while the bilateral series that has been affected by the coronavirus will also be up for discussion.The major point though could be the allocation of the points for the ICC World Test Championship series that has been postponed and fitting them into the calendar could become difficult. One ICC member nation told PTI, “Right now, the situation is such that no decision can be taken as no one knows when normalcy returns. Obviously the members will give a lowdown of the situation in their respective countries. But we need to be ready with plans if this lockdown continues for two more months. The complete FTP will be topsy turvy. The England versus Sri Lanka series got postponed but where will it be slotted considering the FTP calendar is choc-a-bloc. It’s not one series that will be affected but a few more which are lined up. So like what could be the ideal points distribution system. Whether giving 60 points each to both teams will be fair deal is something that members need to discuss.”Status Of World Test ChampionshipWith the United Kingdom potentially entering a six-month lockdown period with the coronavirus already infecting close to 12,000 people and with over 550 killed, the series between England and West Indies as well as against Pakistan are in doubt. Australia’s travel ban might be lifted once the threat of coronavirus subsides but if the lockdown of the sport continues for another three to four months, there will be a lot of backlogging which could throw cricket scheduling out of gear. The indefinite stoppage of action could also have an effect on ICC as well as the member nations’ revenue stream, something which can’t be exactly gauged at the moment.England face an uncertain period of cricket with the country braced for a massive lockdown. (Image credit: Getty Images)”That is an extreme situation which we are not even thinking at the moment. But it is a crisis situation and no harm if options are discussed,” another board member said. The ICC has not considered a worst-case scenario as the World T20 is in October but if the lockdown of cricket becomes a bit too long, then there is a possibility that the World T20 could be pushed to 2021 while the 2021 edition in India could be postponed to 2022.Also Read | IPL 2020 Can Wait, Let Life Get Back To Normal – Rohit SharmaAccording to an ESPNCricinfo report, the ICC will have to sit down with Cricket Australia and BCCI, the hosting boards for the next two T20 World Cups and carve out an alternate window which then would need to be synced with the larger Future Tours Programme (FTP) if they have to postpone the events to 2022. With bilateral series starting to pile up in the wake of the postponement, the logistics of working out the remainder of the series in the World Test Championships will have to be dealt with earnestly by the ICC. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

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