NEWS IN BRIEF

War crimes lawyers in UN corruption probe

The Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Hans Holthuis is investigating UN allegations that lawyers are fee-sharing legal aid with their clients. A UN report found that expensive gifts and money were handed to clients, and lawyers complained that their clients pressured them for money or for a cut of their legal fees.

NY lawyers pledge not to charge WTC victims

New York lawyers have pledged not to make money from the World Trade Center attack. The US government has set up a fund for victims and promised that claims will be settled within 120 days. In support, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association has said that every lawyer who gets involved will work pro bono. Des Collins of Collins Solicitors in Watford has also signed up, to help UK victims.

Skadden secretary steals $1m

A secretary from the Washington DC office of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is pleading guilty to stealing $1m (671,000) from a partner. Farnaz Farzaneh fraudulently stole money from head of the energy practice Lynn Coleman.
Farzaneh worked in the DC office for nine years until she was discovered last June and reported to the police.

Manchester University forms first-ever legal panel

The University of Manchester has set up its first formal panel. Pinsent Curtis Biddle, Halliwell Landau, Eversheds, Addleshaw Booth & Co, Pannone & Partners and Garretts have all been chosen for the panel, which will cover all of the university’s legal requirements.

London firms pay 20,000 more than the regions

Students who join regional firms can expect to earn as much as 20,000 less on qualification than their peers in London, according to a survey commissioned by The Lawyer.

The survey by TMP QD Legal showed that newly-qualified lawyers at regional firms earned between 26,000 and 34,000 compared with salaries of between 45,000 and 55,000 paid to newly-qualifieds in London.

Bird & Bird and Simmons to open in Holland

Bird & Bird and Simmons & Simmons are both launching practices in the Netherlands. Bird & Bird is hiring a lawyer from Houthoff Buruma to open its practice which will have around three partners. Simmons & Simmons is in the final stages of merger talks with Rotterdam-based Nolst Trenit笼br>
Pinsents raids Chaffe St for Manchester launch

Pinsent Curtis Biddle is opening in Manchester and hiring a quarter of the partners from Manchester firm Chaffe Street in the process. The office will also be staffed by three partners from other offices. The four partners from 16-partner firm Chaffe Street are Chris Lumsden, Sean Fitzgerald, Paul Johnson and Anna Whetham, all specialists in private equity and banking.

Putsmans and Willcox Lane Clutterbuck merge

Birmingham firms Putsmans and Willcox Lane Clutterbuck have merged to form a practice with a 10m turnover and 21 partners. Putsmans chairman Terry Lipscombe believes that the merger will enable the new firm, Putsmans.wlc Solicitors, to compete in the “first division of Birmingham firms”.