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Litigants avoiding Britain

Nearly a third of international companies based in Britain avoid litigating in this country if possible - principally because of the cost of going to court in England and Wales, according to a survey by the national law firm Eversheds. More than half of those surveyed for the report, which comes in the midst of Lord Woolf's inquiry into a far-reaching overhaul of the civil justice system, believe that conduct of cases would improve if judges took control of cases from lawyers. There was also a cautious welcome for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Intellectual property in mind

The City law firm Berwin Leighton has appointed Andrew Somper a partner as part of a strengthening of its expertise in the growing area of intellectual property, information technology and broadcast media law. Mr Somper, who joins Berwin Leighton from AVL Broadcast, is a former director of legal and business affairs at Time Warner.

Scottish firm joins network

Dorman Jeffrey, one of Scotland's leading corporate law firms, has joined the international network of law firms associated with the worldwide organisation headed by accountancy firm Arthur Andersen. Julia Chain, managing partner of Garrett & Co, the network's English law firm, hailed the move.