Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP

  • Overview
THE SCOOP

Best known for its strength in insurance and professional negligence matters, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain is firmly established as a litigation powerhouse, but has been working on expanding its noncontentious practices.  Real estate and intellectual property in particular have benefited from staff additions in 2008.  While turnover for 2007-2008 only rose by 9 per cent, a surge in claims and litigation, thanks to the credit crunch, saw the firm’s workload increase as it moved into 2009.

“Streamlined†litigation

RPC is among the UK’s forerunners in insurance and reinsurance matters, and counts the major Lloyd’s managing agencies among its clients, together with insurers in the UK, Europe, Bermuda and the US.  Among the areas covered by RPC’s insurance lawyers are complex high-value coverage disputes, multi-jurisdictional disputes, directors’ and officers’ liability, and subrogate recoveries.  RPC has also devised various technologies for its insurance clients, which include a litigation workflow system known as “Streamline†and a database of reinsurance wordings called ReWord.  The latter service was recognised in 2008 when it received the Technology Award at the British Insurance Awards.

The firm also attracts significant work in other areas, particularly in IP, corporate and real estate.  In February 2009, for example, the firm acted for AIM-listed media company Ten Alps on the placing of 11,111,111 ordinary shares to investors in order to raise approximately £3 million.  The proceeds will be put toward investment in online migration and the acquisition of a TV production company.  In a mix of real estate and corporate work, RPC acted for HMV group in January 2009 on its acquisition of stricken retailer Zavvi UK’s stores.

While RPC has no offices overseas, it is a founder member of TerraLex, an international legal network of 150 law firms across 100 jurisdictions.  It is the sole representative of this network for England and Wales.

Groundwork for the next generation

In a significant deal for Tesco Stores, RPC advised the retailer on its Next Generation Network Project, valued at over £100 million.  The contract, which was concluded in summer 2008, will see Tesco consolidate its telecommunications services worldwide, connecting more than 1,800 sites and 400,000 people in 15 countries.  The project drew upon lawyers in the firm’s commercial and regulatory and IP/technology teams.  More recently, in early 2009, RPC advised Associated Newspapers Limited on a five-year outsourcing agreement through which the publisher of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday will provide certain back-office services, including pre-press and IT support, to Independent News and Media Limited.

On the contentious front, the firm is advising Fladgate Fielder in connection with a £25 million claim brought by Izodia, a former dot-com company that was defrauded of £36 million by Izodia’s director, Gerald Smith, who pleaded guilty in 2006.  The claims allege that Fladgate breached its fiduciary duties by, in part, failing to disclose Smith’s fraudulent misconduct.

Team building

RPC made a number of significant hires in 2008, including several new departmental heads.  In September, four lawyers from Field Fisher Waterhouse joined RPC’s real estate team, with partner Martin Barrett joining as the team’s new head, and in November Bevan Brittan lawyers Tara Goggin and Tim Fogarty also joined up, with Fogarty now heading the firm’s property litigation team.  That same month, banking partner Gwyneth Macauley defected from Hammonds to become RPC’s new finance group head.  The firm has continued to bulk up since the start of 2009.  In March, the firm hired Hammonds’ head of construction, Jeff Brown, as a consultant, and recruited partner Michael Scott from White & Case to help build the firm’s projects and outsourcing practice.  A few weeks later, Eversheds’ head of insurance, David Webster, joined RPC as a partner.  

In addition to poaching talent from rival law firms, RPC also managed to pick up a new partner from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), when Stephen Francis joined the firm as a regulatory partner in October 2008.  In his time at the FSA he tackled criminal insider dealing and market abuse, along with conducting investigations into the control mechanisms at work in large banks and insurance firms.  

The spate of additions came as part of a drive to increase RPC’s noncontentious strength, and followed hires earlier in 2008 which reinforced its construction, engineering and IP groups.  RPC had lost a number of lawyers as well, including media chief Liz Hartley, who went in-house at Associated Newspapers, and seven lawyers based in its Tiverton arm, which it handed over to rival law firm Kennedys in July.  This last move was billed by RPC as part of a strategic shift of its insurance focus to the London market.

RPC’s LPC at BPP

In January 2009, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain joined the list of firms operating bespoke courses at BPP Law School, in a move that will see all of its future trainees undertake the Legal Practice Course at the school.  Trainees on the course will also receive additional, RPC-specific training.
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Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP


Tower Bridge House
St Katharine's Way
London E1W 1AA
Phone: +44 (0)20 3060 6000
www.rpc.co.uk

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing partner: Jonathan Watmough
  • Total No. Attorneys 2009: 266