Linklaters seeks exit from partners dissolution threat

Q?rs is close to agreeing to a formal arbitration of its festering dispute with four ousted partners who had threatened to dissolve the firm.

Linklatersis close to agreeing to a formal arbitration of its festering dispute with four ousted partners who had threatened to dissolve the firm.

The group of German partners informed the firm last October that they were considering attempting to dissolve the partnership in the UK courts.

The move followed a partnership vote ratifying a decision by the international board that four partners had to leave the firm as part of a broader cull in Germany.

It is understood that the partners concerned have told management that they were removed in breach of the partnership agreement.
Linklaters management has agreed a framework for talks that it believes could produce a compromise exit package. This could lift their partners previous threat of an application for dissolution.

German senior partner Michael Lappe told The Lawyer: We assume arbitrationproceedings should begin shortly; and after a sober and factual discussion, well be able to reach an agreement which everyone will find reasonable.

The German partners instructed West London firm Pinkerfield Solicitors last year after the international board recommended that they be de-equitised. Pinkerfield obtained counsels opinion that said the partners could dissolve the partnership under UK law.

Linklaters management instructed Lord Grabiner QC and Laurence Rabinowitz QC of One Essex Court for a counter-opinion. They said it would have to go to arbitration and that the arbitrator could not order a partnership dissolution.

Managing partner Tony Angel claimed the firm had overwhelming support for its German restructuring.