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Deals of the month

The London media and entertainment group at Salans has advised on a joint venture between DNA Films and Fox Searchlight Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox.According to Screen International, a trade paper for international firm business, the deal will: “Create the most potent UK-based studio backed enterprise in London after Working Title Films” (5 September 2003). The deal marks a bid to turn DNA, a lottery funded franchise, into a long-term business: the joint venture marrying a well financed production company with a global distribution network. London partners Jonathan Berger and Graham Stedman led the Salans team in advising DNA Films, with the assistance of Ian Shane, Jane Bullen, Sarah Collis, Peter Hughes and Miriam Lampert. National firm Pinsents has advised Birmingham and The Black Country Strategic Health Authority in the first franchise of an NHS Trust to be awarded to the private sector. Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust signed a franchise with Secta Group (a subsidiary of Tribal Group) for the provision of senior healthcare management services to Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. Pinsents advised Birmingham and The Black Country Strategic Health Authority (in relation to the Good Hope Franchise). Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust was advised by Mills & Reeve. City firm Linklaters acted for Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank AG London when International Power Jersey issued $250m guaranteed bonds. International Power guarantees the bonds, which are due in 2023. Clifford Chance represented the guarantor and Jersey-based Mourant du Feu & Jeune acted for the issuer. NautaDutilh’s Amsterdam office is acting as Dutch counsel for Air France in the latter’s share exchange offer for KLM common shares. Air France’s lead counsel and adviser on French and US law is Linklaters. KLM is being advised by Allen & Overy. The transaction will lead to the creation of Europe’s leading airline group, to be called Air France-KLM, capitalising on two well-known names in the airline business, major hubs and complimentary networks. Air France and KLM expect to finalise the transaction within the next few weeks. The NautaDutilh team is made up of corporate partners Erik Hammerstein and Lieke van der Velden, along with Wijnand Bossenbroek (civil law notary) and a number of senior associates. Nicholson Graham & Jones advised NPI Limited, the specialist pensions provider, on the sale of a freehold property portfolio for £40.5m to Grainger Trust plc. Partners Stuart Borrie (corporate) and Steven Cox (property) led the Nicholson Graham & Jones team. Dickinson Dees (Nigel Bellis, Bethan Owen and Fred Wilson) acted for Grainger Trust plc.

New image for Gardner Leader

A new chapter has begun for Newbury firm, Gardner Leader with the partners unveiling a new company image at the same time as opening the doors to additional offices in Wharf Street, next to its Market Street headquarters.

Lawyers Direct offers flexible working

Charles Stringer, former head of sales at the BBC, and James Knight, ex-Trowers and Hamlins, have launched Lawyers Direct as an alternative to the traditional law firm.

Cross-selling: Why, how and who?

Partnerships continue to retain an individualism born of years of tradition. Even sharing information and knowledge can be difficult in such an environment, and anything sounding like sales comprises a whole new ball game, often fiercely resisted by the firm’s partners. Ian Reaves, partner in charge of client development at Hammonds, explains why lawyers should stop worrying and learn to love their latent cross-selling talents.

60-second interview: A question of leadership

Earlier in the year, Caroline Armitage, partner and head of the commercial division at ASB Law, attended a week’s residential course focused on leadership skills. In this 60-second interview, Caroline Poynton finds out why.

Servant to master: The changing role of PSLs at Osborne Clarke

In an uncertain economic climate, many law firms are looking at ways to streamline activities and ensure every employee adds value. As a result, it seems that the role of the PSL – a non-fee earning, but fairly expensive member of staff – has come under scrutiny. Rachael Wright, a PSL at Osborne Clarke, looks at how the firm is re-engineering the role of its PSLs to ensure this resource is used effectively and that legal know-how and training is cutting edge.

Understanding leadership

Leaders may come and go, but they remain at the heart of successful business growth and change. Leadership, however, means different things to different firms and for managing partners, who frequently have the experience of fee earning rather than management, effective leadership can be an elusive goal. Tony Allen, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, argues that leadership represents a whole spectrum of options.

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