Anthony Salz the City lawyer everyone wants to hire – MoneyWeek

FewbegrudgeSalzhismomentofglory,saysMaggieUrryintheFT,butitcertainlymakesachangefromhisusually“excellentcamouflage”。

Hehastheabilityto“fadeintothebackgroundandpassunnoticed”andneverupstagesaclient–“ausefulskill”foralawyer。

Butneverunderestimatehisstandingasatoughopponent。

During31yearsatFreshfields,hewasatthecentreofsomeofthebiggestcorporatedealsever,includingSmithKline’smergerwithBeechamandMannesmann’sdefenceagainstVodafone。

Moresignificantly,hetransformedthevenerablefirm,establishedin1743,intotheinternationalpowerhouseFreshfieldsBruckhausDeringer,followingits2000mergerwithtwoGermanfirms。

BroughtupintheWestCountryandeducatedatRadley,Salzwasaproductofhistimes。

“Icamefromtheflowerpower,liberalgeneration,”hesays。

Heplannedacareerinsociologyuntilhisfather,anorthopaedicsurgeon,persuadedhimthatlawwouldproveamoreusefulprofession。

SalztooktoitlikeanaturalandjoinedFreshfieldsin1975。

AyearonsecondmentinNewYorktoughenedhimupand“madememoreambitious”。

Thetimingwaspropitious,giventheboominmergersandacquisitionsthatintimebecameSalz’sspeciality。

In1986,headvisedGuinnessonitsbidtobuyDistillersand“wasastakenabackaseveryoneelsebythewrongdoingthatemerged”,saysTheSundayTimes。

Salzclaimedhehadrepeatedlywarneddirectorsoftheillegalityoftheiractions–aversionofeventsthatconflictedwiththatofGuinnesschiefErnestSaunders。

Itwasanail-bitingtime,butSalzwonthedayandemergedfromtheepisodestronger。

Salz’smaindisappointmentisthatFreshfieldshasnotestablishedamightierpresenceintheUSunderhiswatch。

It’softensaidthatthemarkofagreatdealmakerisawillingnesstoleavesomethingbehindonthetable。

Bythattoken,Salzcertainlyqualifies:hisreplacement,GuyMorton,“isamanonamission”tomakehismarkintheStates。

ButfewpeoplearebettingagainstSalz’sownreturntothethickofit,saysTheDailyTelegraph。

“WhenIwas40,Idreamtabouthowwonderfulitwouldbetoretireat55andbefinanciallysecure,”hesays。

“NowIamhere,IknowIwouldgobonkers。



WhatmakesSalzsospecial?

Corporatelawyersaretwoapenny。

WhatmakesSalzsospecial?

Clientsclaimitishisbold,imaginativeapproachthatmakeshimastar。

“Mostlawyerstellyouwhynottodosomething,butAnthonyiscreative,”saysDavidMayhewatCazenove。

“Hewillshowyouhowtodoitwithinthelaw。

Andhehasawickedsenseofhumour。

”Adealmakeratheart,Salzwelcomesthefactthatlawyershavebecome“centraltothenegotiatingteam”,saystheFT。

Heprideshimselfoncombiningcommercialnouswith“alawyer’sabilitytocomeatproblemsinaslightlydifferentway”andthrivesonuntanglingcomplexlegalissues,oftenunderintensepressuretomeetdeadlines。

Fewcanpinpointanyweaknesses。

Onesuggests“Starbuckscoffee”,another,“Southamptonfootballclub”。

Hischaritycontactssayhe“getsstuckin”,givingvaluableassistance。

Salzisrenownedfortheapparentlyeffortlessmannerinwhichhedolesouthis“killeradvice”andforhisrefusaltograndstand,saysTheSundayTimes。

Clients,struckbyhiseasyapproachabilityandhumour,frequentlybecomefriends。

Salz’sfriendshipwithGavynDavies,theformerBBCchairmanandfellowSouthamptonsupporter,helpedpavethewayforhiscurrentroleasvice-chairmanoftheBBCandhebeganhisworkwiththehomelessattheinstigationofHSBC’sJohnStudzinski。

Marriedwiththreegrown-upchildren,Salztendstowardstheparsimonious。

Indeed,atExeterUniversityhewasrenownedforactuallycharginghiscontemporariesashillingaheadforgivingthemaliftbetweenthelawdepartmentandthemaincampus。

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