Editorial note: Former Halliwells trainee Marc Piano knows a thing or two about handling stress, as he explained last month when he charted his experiences of the now defunct law firm’s collapse. These days Marc is practising Buddhism in south east Asian monasteries. From Myanmar, he brings Britain’s stressed-out lawyers some tips on how to relax.
Posts Tagged: Halliwells
Well, you’re wrong, says Hugh Crisp, the ex-Freshfields boss who’s now teaching business, law and management skills at Oxford Said Business School.
Instead, Crisp – who has been working with Oxford University zoologists to apply principles of behavioural ecology to the corporate world – reckons big law firms are made to tick by the sort of principles of collaboration and group spirit typically exhibited by meerkats and naked vole rats.
Looking at the recent big law success stories/car crashes, maybe Crisp has a point. Halliwells and Dewey & LeBoeuf collapsed amid greed and a breakdown of collegiate spirit, while magic circle firms like Crisp’s former employer Freshfields and the cult-like Slaughter and May do seem to have a certain binding Masonic culture.
Marc Piano says Halliwells' collapse contributed to his decision to pursue some time out practising Buddhism in South East Asian monasteries.
When it became clear that Halliwells’ insurance litigation team intended to transfer to Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG), I drafted up a business case (read: begging letter) for them to take me with them and gave it to my former supervisor. If I was going anywhere, I wanted to go with my colleagues from the team I had spent most time in.
At that point, the position of trainees – and everybody else – was far from clear. Indeed, the situation seemed to change daily. I wasn’t sure what, if anything, was being done about the trainees; communications were sketchy to non-existent from the top at first, rumours abounded and I wasn’t prepared to wait and assume all would come out OK in the end.
Since I was in a corporate seat at the time – equity partner heavy with an excellent department manager – we were kept very well-informed as the carve-up of the firm’s practice areas began to take shape. Sheffield and Liverpool offices were going to Hill Dickinson. Manchester insurance litigation was going to BLG. London and Manchester commercial were going to...nobody was quite sure yet.
The Law Society is set to step in to assist trainees in the London office of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the US law firm that is looking at winding down its London operations.
In a re-run of what happened when Manchester firm Halliwells went into administration in 2010, the Law Society will work with other City firms to help find Dewey’s current and future trainees new homes.