Many are calling last week the most tumultuous week in finance for a century. And many lawyers will have been doing the most exciting and important work of their careers last week, as almost the entire financial world watched on.
Almost every City firm was heavily involved in advising its clients on the fall-out from the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America, the quasi-nationalisation of insurance giant AIG, mortgage lender HBOS seeking shelter with Lloyds TSB (see last week’s round-up).
This week, however, was clean-up time. First, The venerable investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley converted to retail banks; Japanese bank Nomura then went for the Lehman leftovers in Europe and Asia for a bargain basement price (23 September); the first litigation by hedge fund RAB Capital against Lehman’s European administrators has kicked off, trying to recover 22bn of assets out of administration (24 September); and finance guru Warren Buffett (who famously called the derivative financial instruments that are causing so much mischief now, “financial weapons of mass destruction” way back in 2003) injected $5bn (2.7bn) into Goldman Sachs (24 September).
Meanwhile, magic circle firm Linklaters is set to bill 20m in the mandate representing Lehman’s European administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers and all the other firms are green with envy in these tough times.
Still, it’s a great time to be a City lawyer (22 September).