The relentless London partner vacuum cleaner that is Kirkland & Ellis clicked on again this week and sucked in top individuals from Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance, while Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Dechert all made hires. Few, if any, of these moves are shocking though and there is some method in the madness.
The firm has made waves over the last year with a series of high-profile lateral gets, like the 43-lawyer team from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York or the finance quartet from Latham & Watkins in London. It has shown consistently strong financial performance year after year under outgoing chair Seth Zachary and currently sits at No. 26 in the Am Law rankings—a position it has hovered around for the past decade.
Headcount growth was driven largely by the 100 largest law firms and those firms based in China.
There were 60 partner moves in the U.K. capital over the last two months—the highest number recorded in five years.
Inflation, economic slowdown, stiff competition for work and talent, changing expectations of clients and lawyers: Is this the time for another full-service international law firm to make waves in the European market? Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has more than tripled its lawyer head count in Paris since 2020 with team and partner hires from rivals like White & Case, Allen & Overy, Brown Rudnick, CMS and EY. In Germany it also has expanded, bringing its head count there to 60.
UK & Ireland
Reg Dhanjal was appointed as the new general counsel at Aldermore Bank. Dhanjal replaced Jonathan Lagan who had been general counsel at Aldermore for two years.
Severn Trent recruited a new general counsel. Didar Dhillon was been appointed as the water company’s new legal chief. Dhillon will take over as GC for both Severn Trent and Severn Trent Water, effective from early December.
Dominic Ross has exited the U.S. firm to join Clifford Chance’s corporate transactions & advisory team after four years at White & Case.
Kirkland & Ellis has made another major hire to its London office with the addition of Allen & Overy infrastructure partner Sara Pickersgill.
Clifford Chance finance partner James Boswell is joining the U.S. firm, according to a person with knowledge of the move. Boswell was promoted to partner in 2012.
Kirkland & Ellis has added ‘rising star’ Paul Sampson to its investment funds group in London from Allen & Overy (A&O), marking the third instance in the past week the Chicago giant has added top talent from a Magic Circle firm. Sampson brings extensive experience advising investment fund sponsors on fund formation and operational matters with a particular focus on infrastructure, energy, transportation and real estate funds. He also advises on a variety of more bespoke arrangements including funds-of-one, separately managed accounts, joint ventures, and co-investment programs.
Clyde & Co has added the co-head of construction from CMS in London as it moves to build its construction capabilities globally. Victoria Peckett has joined the firm’s global projects and construction group as a partner after almost 30 years at CMS. She advises on the drafting and negotiation of complex construction contracts for international and domestic projects and also has extensive experience assisting clients with dispute resolution, including through arbitration and mediation.
UK law firm RPC has added a financial services disputes specialist from Foot Anstey to its insurance group in Bristol. Partner Terence Dickens moves across after nine years at Foot Anstey, where he led the contentious side of the firm’s retail financial services offering.
Squire Patton Boggs has made six senior hires in its London office across its restructuring and financial services practices. The new recruits include a team of five restructuring and insolvency lawyers from Brown Rudnick and a derivatives and structured finance partner from Shearman & Sterling.
Hogan Lovells has hired Birchal Ireland’s chief legal officer Eimear O’Brien to strengthen the firm’s global regulatory practice. O’Brien rejoins as a partner in the firm’s 18-month old Dublin office, having previously worked for Hogan Lovells in its London financial services practice between 2015 and 2017. Her experience spans a range of financial regulatory issues, including fintech and banking regulation and retail financial services.
HFW has hired Memery Crystal’s former head of contentious employment Michelle Chance to lead the firm’s London employment practice. Chance joins as a partner, bringing with her 20 years of experience across a range of employment matters, including class action discrimination claims, sexual harassment, whistleblowing, internal investigations, and bonus disputes. She advises clients across HFW’s core sectors – insurance, shipping and energy – as well as the media, professional and financial services industries.
The CEO of The Ince Group, Adrian Biles has been “removed” as a director of the company with immediate effect. News from the London Stock Exchange went on to add that his removal was “as a result of circumstances which may give rise to a conflict of interest between Biles and the company”.
Amit Kataria joins the firm after over seven years at Morrison & Foerster, where he was promoted to partner in 2017. He also has prior experience at Davis Polk & Wardwell and Debevoise & Plimpton, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Julia Gorham was DLA Piper’s head of employment in Hong Kong between 2014 and 2017, and joins Deloitte Legal from Seyfarth Shaw, where she has spent just over four years as a partner.
According to a person with knowledge of the hire, James Renahan has joined U.S. headquartered Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, after just over 20 years with Travers Smith.
Partner Colin Sharpsmith has returned to Dechert’s financial services and investment management practice after he previously left to join Kirkland as a partner four years ago.
Finance and fintech partner Bryony Widdup is set to join the firm later in 2022, a firm statement said on Wednesday. She leaves DLA Piper after six years, with four of those spent as partner, according to LinkedIn.
Emma Willing, a partner in Mishcon’s family department, has rejoined her former firm Penningtons Manches Cooper, where she began her career as a trainee. Willing joined Mishcon in 2009, and became a partner in 2021.
HFW has bolstered its London base with the hire of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner partner Rebecca Quayle. She joins the firm’s aviation finance and leasing practice.
Dentons has strengthened its Ireland offering with the addition of banking and finance partner Siobhan Carlin to its Dublin base. Carlin joins the firm from William Fry, where she has spent the last 12 years according to her LinkedIn profile.
Nick Elwell-Sutton has been a partner at Clydes for 11 years, having spent a total of over 22 years at the firm, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has added Linklaters partner Sarah Lindley, to its London tax practice.
Daniel Giemajner has spent the last 14 years at the firm, according to his LinkedIn profile, two of which were as partner. He also spent 2014-2015 based in the firm’s New York office, as well as some time in Norton Rose’s Singapore offering.
International law firm CMS has hired three partners in its U.K. offices, including a partner from DLA Piper. John Cloke joins the firm’s TMT practice in London, and leaves DLA Piper after 17 years at the firm, including six as a partner.
Eversheds Sutherland has hired the former head of Cooley’s global insurance practice group. Mark Everiss, who stepped down to a senior counsel role at Cooleys in January, joins as a partner in London, according to a statement from the firm.
Ashurst has appointed Arne Fuchs as a partner in its dispute resolution practice in Frankfurt, where he will take on the role as head of public international law & investment arbitration.
Another partner from Brown Rudnick’s restructuring team joined Squire Patton Boggs, this time in Paris. Arnaud Moussatoff moved to Squires after nearly four years as a partner at Brown Rudnick. Before that he was a counsel at DLA Piper.
Texas-headquartered real estate developer and investor Trammell Crow Company appointed Sean Gray as its general counsel responsible for commercial development business in Europe.
Online fast fashion retailer Shein hired Yinan Zhu as its new general counsel (GC) of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Zhu, who joined from My Inhouse Lawyer after a three-years as principal, was brought in to support the company’s activity in the region.
Irwin Mitchell recruited Catherine Palmer to lead its French desk, moving her back into private practice after spending nearly 20 years in-house. She made the move from food company KellyDeli, where she had been general counsel (GC) for nearly three years.
Honigman has hired five lawyers to launch a subsidiary for US attorneys looking to practise US law from Israel. The firm has recruited five New York-based lawyers to lead the charge, all of whom will be moving across from their former firms in the US to Honigman in Israel. The group includes corporate partner Sam Katz from Ellenoff Grossman & Schole, M&A lawyer Inbar Rauchwerger from Goodwin Procter and finance expert Aviv Avnon from Davis Polk & Wardwell. Also joining the venture is tax lawyer David Snyder from Roberts & Holland and corporate and capital markets lawyer Rachel Rhodes from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
Squire Patton Boggs has hired a three-strong team of private equity lawyers in Paris from French law firm Lamy Lexel as it moves to build its PE bench in Europe. Partner Arnaud Lafarge, previously co-head of Lamy Lexel’s corporate practice, has moved over alongside associates Nicolas Leveque and Eva Jouannic. The hires form part of a broader effort by the US firm to build private equity strength across key European hubs.
Linklaters has rehired veteran M&A partner Sebastián Albella from Latham & Watkins to strengthen its corporate practice in Spain. Albella is due to rejoin the firm’s Madrid office in mid-December after a six-year absence, bringing with him even more experience in the Spanish M&A market advising large companies and private equity firms on a range of deals and corporate matters. He also has a deep knowledge of financial regulation and capital markets transactions.
Clifford Chance (CC) has elected two women to lead its offices in Singapore and Luxembourg following a wider leadership shakeup conducted by the firm’s global managing partner, Charles Adams. The Magic Circle UK firm said today that M&A and corporate partner Valerie Kong will take over leadership of the Singapore office on 1 October while fellow M&A and corporate partner Katia Gauzès has been made the new managing partner in Luxembourg.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has hired private equity lawyer Nicola Di Giovanni as a partner in Paris, as US firms continue to push their private equity benches in Europe. Di Giovanni joins from Winston & Strawn, where he was a corporate partner. His practice focuses on domestic and cross-border private equity matters, including acquisitions, buyouts and joint ventures on behalf of private clients.
Belgian independent law firm Van Bael & Bellis (VBB) has hired four more lawyers from DLA Piper to boost its transactions team in Brussels. Partner Caroline Daout, who previously led DLA Piper’s corporate practice in Brussels, has joined the firm alongside senior associate Virginie Lescot and associates Jens Westerwoudt and Charles-Antoine du Bus.
McDermott Will & Emery has bolstered its disputes offering in Paris with the hire of partner Amy Frey from King & Spalding (K&S). Frey primarily practices in international arbitration and associated enforcement actions, including supportive litigation procedures such as injunctions, annulments and interim relief. She also advises on investor-state disputes and risk management.
King & Spalding has added five partners to its corporate, finance and investments (CFI) practice across its Paris, Frankfurt and London offices from rivals including Reed Smith, Bredin Pratt and Paul Hastings. Two partners are joining the top 30 global firm in Paris, a partner and his four-strong team have been brought on board in Frankfurt, while in London a duo have arrived from Paul Hastings.
UK law firm RPC has hired tech lawyer Nicholas Lauw from Rajah & Tann in Singapore to boost its commercial group. Lauw joins as a partner in RPC’s Singapore joint legal venture RPC Premier Law and will sit in its technology practice. He brings with him more than 16 years of experience covering contentious and non-contentious intellectual property and tech-related work. RPC’s tech practice provides advice on digital, data, consumer and regulatory matters, as well as transactional and dispute work.
Baker McKenzie has hired arbitration lawyer Ronald Sum JP from Addleshaw Goddard to strengthen its Hong Kong disputes team. Veteran arbitration lawyer Sum was previously the head of Addleshaw Goddard’s dispute resolution team in Hong Kong, which said it was exiting its Hong Kong business back in May. Sum joins as a partner, along with associates Plato Cheung and Beryl Wu.
KPMG Law has added one partner and two senior managers, including ex-Clifford Chance and PwC Legal lawyers, in a boost to its Germany presence.
Linklaters has appointed a partner to its energy and infrastructure practice, based in Dubai, in a lateral hire from Covington & Burling. Over a 20 year career, David Miles has developed an expertise in the project development and finance group in London, where he spent six years at Covington and, before that, was a partner at Allen & Overy, where he worked for over 16 years, in the UAE, London, Hong Kong SAR, Tokyo and New York, Linklaters said in a statement.
DWF’s Paris office has hired a five-lawyer team from French firm De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés. The U.K.-listed law firm has appointed Philippe Feitussi as a partner along with his team to its corporate practice. He brings with him senior associates, Géraldine Salem, specialist in health law, and Anthony Sarciaux, practising in private equity and M&A, alongside Marie Guégot as a corporate/litigation associate, and paralegal assistant Stéphanie Barbara-Vageon.
Pinsent Masons has hired Penningtons Manches Cooper’s Madrid head of banking and finance to join the firm’s finance practice in the Spanish capital. José Millán Martín will lead the U.K.-headquartered law firm’s financial services practice in Madrid in November, the firm told Law.com International.
Financial regulations partner Adam Stopyra joins the Big Four operation as a partner after three years at DWF, where he was head of banking according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to DWF he was a partner at K&L Gates for over a year.
Carey-Anne Jennings, who becomes a director which is the equivalent to a partner at the firm, joins from African firm Webber Wentzel, where she spent almost seven years, during half of which she was a partner, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Amelia Heeger joins the firm after a 23-year legal career in which she has developed a mix of experience or working in-house and in private practice.
Livia Dyer becomes the IPT practice’s first partner in South Africa, according to the firm’s statement.
Sebasián Albella was a Linklaters partner for about a decade before he was named chairman of the Spanish Securities and Exchange Commission.
Herbert Smith Freehills has lost four lawyers, including two partners, from its banking and finance practice in Paris to rival international firms in the French capital. Eric Fiszelson joins Ashurst as a partner in the firm’s global loans team in Paris. He was regional head of HSF’s financial practice for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and a specialist in acquisitions, property financing and debt restructuring.
Roderick Nieuwmeyer joins the firm as a partner from CMS, where he has spent over a decade as an attorney-at-law, according to his Linkedin. He will head the firm’s Brussels and Amsterdam EU law practice.
Alejandro Ortiz, who will join Latham & Watkins as a partner in Madrid, has been a private equity and M&A partner at Linklaters since 2000, and its senior partner in Spain since 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Filippo Cecchetti, a real estate and corporate law specialist, joins Gianni’s real estate department in Rome where he will co-head the practice along with partners Davide Braghini and Domenico Tulli.
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa has rehired the former Cape Town legal risk team leader and real estate specialist of top South African private bank Investec, Diane Johannes, as a director.
Caroline Daout is joining VBB as a corporate M&A partner along with senior associates Virginie Lescot and Cedric Hauben and associates Jens Westerwoudt and Charles-Antoine du Bus, according to the firm’s announcement.
King & Spalding has added a five-person private equity team led by former Milbank partner Peter Memminger to its corporate, finance & investments practice in Frankfurt.
Morgan Lewis & Bockius has hired a five-strong intellectual property team from Duane Morris to boost its IP litigation practice in Silicon Valley. The team is led by Duane Morris’s former Silicon Valley managing partner Manita Rawat, alongside counsel Daniel Tarr, associate Tarian Wang, patent specialist Mona Batmani and senior paralegal Sherlin Yaghoubzadeh. The team specialises in tech-focused patent prosecution, as well as patent procurement, enforcement and licensing and patent litigation in diverse technical areas.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher has hired crypto lawyer Kari Larsen from Perkins Coie to boost its digital assets business in New York. Larsen joins the Wall Street firm as a partner and co-head of the firm’s digital works practice, which she will jointly lead with existing co-head Christopher Giancarlo and newly appointed co-heads Aliceson (Kristy) Littman asset management partner Justin Browder.
White & Case has hired two debt finance partners from Allen & Overy (A&O) in New York. Rajani Gupta and Judah Frogel both join White & Case’s global debt finance practice after six years at A&O, where they were partners.
Womble Bond Dickinson has hired a trio of US government contract lawyers from Wilmer & Lee to expand its corporate and securities group. The new arrivals include Richard Raleigh, Christopher Lockwood and Jerome Gabig, with all three joining as partners in the firm’s Huntsville, Alabama office. The trio bring with them experience in government contracts procurement and litigation, advising clients on bid protests, size issues, contract disputes and regulatory matters.
Holland & Knight has hired a trio of partners from Mintz Levin to expand its sports and entertainment law practice in the US.The new recruits include Keith Carroll, Anthony Mulrain and O’Kelly McWilliams, who reunite with former Mintz colleague Tyrone Thomas, who joined the firm in July. Carroll, Mulrain and Thomas will co-chair Holland & Knight’s sports and entertainment practice.
McGuireWoods has hired a pair of experienced trial lawyers from Winston & Strawn to broaden its life sciences patent litigation coverage. Michael Nutter and Merritt Westcott join the firm as partners, with Nutter taking up residence in Chicago where he will lead the firm’s pharmaceutical and life sciences patent litigation group, while Westcott will be based in Houston.
Silicon Valley law firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian has hired veteran in-house counsel Sangeetha Raghunathan as a corporate partner in San Francisco. Raghunathan joins the firm’s corporate and securities practice from fintech company Earnin.
Brown Rudnick has hired a team of four partners from Anderson Kill in the US to add expertise in cryptocurrencies, digital assets and blockchain to its digital commerce practice. Partner Stephen Palley joins the firm in Washington DC as a partner and co-chair of its digital commerce practice, while Matthew Richardson, Preston Byrne and Hailey Lennon join as partners in Orange County.
Holland & Knight has hired international tax lawyer Eduardo Arista to grow its private wealth services team in Florida.Arista joins as a partner in the firm’s Miami office where his practice will focus on tax, corporate and estate planning for domestic and international private clients.
Jamillia Ferrisis the latest lawyer to find a new home in what has been a hot September for antitrust lateral movers in Washington D.C. The same day Ferris joined Freshfields, Justice Department antitrust division lawyer Ryan Sandrock left for Shook Hardy & Bacon as co-chair of its antitrust practice, splitting his time between D.C. and San Francisco.
HFW has boosted its practice in Western Australia with the hire of shipping partner Ashwin Nair in Perth from local maritime boutique Cocks Macnish. His hire continues a period of sustained investment by HFW in Australia, which is its third-largest market globally after London and Hong Kong.
Nicholas Lauw, who advises on high-value contentious and non-contentious intellectual property and technology-related deals and matters, was most recently a partner at Singapore firm Rajah & Tann, where he had practiced for almost 14 years.
Jae Lemin, who will work in Thomson Geer’s Melbourne office, had been a partner at Eversheds since 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In the latest of a spate of natural resources and energy partner moves in the West Australian city, Owen Alcorn joins as a finance, projects and restructurings partner from Herbert Smith Freehills in London where he was a senior associate, while former Gilbert + Tobin partner Matthew Watkins will join as an mergers and acquisitions lawyer.
A former co-head of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s international capital markets group joined Morgan Stanley. David Ludwick joined the investment bank as a managing director in its legal and compliance division where he will serve as global conflicts officer.
HSBC hired a new GC to oversee its group M&A section. Evelyn McAdam joined from GE Renewable Energy. McAdam joined Bob Hoyt who was appointed the group chief legal officer in January 2021.
David Berry left legal director role at Tesco and joined Jaguar Land Rover as its GC. Berry joins JLR at a time when a number of difficulties are facing the motor industry.
OpenPayd appointed a new group general counsel from fellow financial platform 10x Banking, a tech provider for banks and providers of financial services. Richard Given has landed the role after five years as general counsel and company secretary at 10x Banking.
Internet company Mozilla has hired former Salesforce associate general counsel Carlos Torres as its new chief legal officer. Torres will be responsible for leading Mozilla’s global legal and public policy teams and developing legal, regulatory and policy strategies for the business, reporting to CEO Mitchell Baker.
Peloton has hired Uber’s chief deputy general counsel as its new top lawyer as part of a wider leadership shakeup after a tumultuous period at the company that saw its value tumbled. San Francisco-based Tammy Albarrán will step in as the US fitness company’s chief legal officer and corporate secretary.
Elisabeth Sullivan, who took on the role at Waterstones in December 2021, has joined tech-enabled procurement and supply chain consultancy Efficio as its next general counsel.
Investment group ED Group appointed a new general counsel from Partners Group. Sam Rozati previously spent nearly 10 years at Zurich-based private equity house Partners Group. ED Group is a private markets investor and operator with interests across Europe and the United States in real estate, private equity and financial services.
Vodafone Group hired a new general counsel from another FTSE giant, as Rosemary Martin prepared to retire after more than decade at the telecommunications business. EasyJet’s legal chief Maaike de Bie was appointed to the role of general counsel. De Bie is herself a FTSE in-house veteran, having been group general counsel for Royal Mail and then easyJet, where she led the team for over three years.
Andrew Freeman was appointed GC and company secretary at Mitchells & Butlers, the owner of brands including All Bar One, Browns and O’Neill’s. Freeman is making the move from his role as GC and company secretary at PPHE Hotel Group.
Promotions & Appointments:
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has promoted 47 of its lawyers to its partnership in its 2022 promotion round, seven more than last year.
The UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service (CCS) appointed 58 firms to its refreshed public sector roster. The review process began last year, and the panel replaced the one established in 2018 when 69 firms were appointed across six lots. The GSP lot for England & Wales is the largest, comprising 45 firms. Names include Addleshaw Goddard, Pinsent Masons and TLT, while smaller firms such as Bevan Brittan and Mills & Reeve also made the cut.
Four firms have been appointed to a new panel worth £16m for the Department for Education.The appointed firms are DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, Gowling WLG and Mills & Reeve. All firms have experience on public sector panels. This new contract, will run from 21 July 2022 to 20 July 2025.
Simmons & Simmons reorganised its dispute resolution offering in the UK to improve integration and increase learning opportunities for junior lawyers. The firm combed its litigation and arbitration (L&A) team with its contentious regulatory, crime and competition (CRCC) department into a single group: disputes and investigations.
Clifford Chance has appointed a new managing partner for its Italian offices. Corporate partner Paolo Sersale will begin his term on the October 1, according to a statement by the firm on Wednesday. Sersale takes over from Giuseppe De Palma, who was Italy managing partner for eight years, after he was appointed regional practice area leader for global financial markets in Continental Europe.
Equity partnership has long been one of the most closely guarded parts of the legal industry. Even as overall partnership numbers have swelled over the last two decades many management teams have been reluctant to share the ownership of the firm with too many others. But in the last financial year the average change in the number of equity partners across the U.K.’s largest 50 law firms increased at its highest rate in six years.
Clifford Chance has appointed its next Singapore office managing partner, as international firms continue to cement their presence in the country. Corporate partner Valerie Kong will begin her term in the position on 1 October 2022, according to a statement by the firm on Wednesday. She becomes the first woman to take on the position.
Gavin Goodwin, who is based at the firm’s Dubai office, will be taking over the position from Caroline Firstbrook, who has held the role since January 2015 but is now leaving the firm.
Baker McKenzie has elected two new members to its global executive committee as part of its latest round of leadership changes. The duo include San Francisco-based international commercial partner Joyce Smith and Bangkok-based corporate and M&A partner Peerapan Tungsuwan, whose four year terms begin in October.
Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May has named long-serving corporate lawyer Benita Yu as the next senior partner of its Hong Kong office. Yu will take up the role 1 October following the planned retirement of current Hong Kong senior partner, Peter Brien. Slaughters veteran, Yu joined the firm in 1994 and has been a partner since 1996. Her practice covers M&A and corporate finance transactions as well as high-profile securities matters.
U.K. firm Holman Fenwick Willan, which entered the U.S. market in 2017 by merging with Houston civil trial firm Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown, has tapped mid-career partner Amanda Kujda as office head in Houston as founding partners reach or near retirement.
Mergers & Alliances:
The joint venture with law firm Sanguino Abogados, to form Grant Thornton Sanguino, will offer clients advice in the corporate, commercial, labor, civil, bankruptcy, tax and family law, as well as administrative, town planning and environmental law spaces. These legal services expand alongside Grant Thornton’s traditional offerings in auditing, business consulting, financial advice and outsourcing.
The Cayman International Mediation and Arbitration Centre (CIMAC) and Toronto’s Arbitration Place are joining forces to open a new arbitration venue on the Cayman Islands. The new facilities are located in George Town on Grand Cayman, with CIMAC running the state-of-the-art centre and Arbitration Place providing technology and case management support.
Office Openings & Closing:
Addleshaw Goddard is one of the latest firm finalising a real estate hunt in the City, landing on new space near the Bank of England. The firm will move from Milton Gate to 41 Lothbury. The firm will occupy eight floors of the building from 2024 for 15 years.
Hill Dickinson is searching for a new Manchester office. The firm is using the opportunity to substantially reduce the amount of real estate it occupies and configure the remaining space in line with hybrid working. Hill Dickinson has already reduced its Liverpool headquarters, as part of its wider real estate portfolio review.
Gowling WLG is to open a hub in Leeds. The firm, which already has UK offices in Birmingham and London. Although Gowling WLG is starting with a development and regeneration team in the city, its presence will make it the third largest law firm by revenue (£505.6m) in Leeds.
Lewis Silkin is to enter the Manchester legal market, hiring an employment team to kickstart operations in the North of England. Sally Hulston, a partner at Knights, is making the move along with managing associate Carly Mather, senior associate Ed Gregory and associate Hayden Whitman.
Baker Botts has relaunched its Asia strategy and is set to open in Singapore, as many international law firms plump for investment in the city. Baker Botts had previously pulled out of Asia entirely with the closure of its Hong Kong office after several partner exits from the base last year.
One of Japan’s ‘Big Four’ law firms, Anderson Mori & Tomostune, has launched an office in London—its first European office. The new office, which is headed by the firm’s former Singapore office head, Atsutoshi Maeda, will focus on cross-border M&A and real estate transactions, which are in particularly high demand among U.K. and Europe-based companies entering the Japanese market, the firm said in a statement.
Norton Rose Fulbright has opened an office in Düsseldorf, its fourth in Germany, and added nine lawyers from Eversheds Sutherland, Allen & Overy, Pinsent Masons and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to its German corporate practice. The expansion is the latest in a recent series of moves by international law firms to bolster their teams in Germany.
Resourcing specialist LOD and legaltech consultancy SYKE have extended a partnership forged last year to launch their first US office in New York. The office will offer in-house legal teams a range of services including secondments, managed services, legal operations consultancy and legaltech implementation.
Employment and labour law specialist Littler Mendelson has added a four-strong team from Danish boutique Skau Reipurth to launch in Copenhagen – marking the San Francisco-based firm’s entry into its 13th European country. The Skau Reipurth team is led by partner Bo Enevold Uhrenfeldt and includes associate Christian Bonne Rasmussen and two legal trainees.
German law firm GSK Stockmann has opened an office in London, its second outside Germany, recruiting the longtime managing partner of Luther’s London office to help expand the firm’s international presence. York-Alexander von Massenbach, who managed the London office of Luther for nine years, will co-manage the new GSK office along with partner Andreas Dimmling, who moves over from Munich, according to a person at the firm.
Following the departure of The Ince Group’s CEO earlier this month, it has been revealed that a payment of £15,000 will be paid to him and the company’s former head of finance for loss of office. According to an announcement on the London Stock Exchange, he will receive the payment as part of a settlement agreement.
Bristol-headquartered Burges Salmon reported a revenue growth of 10 per cent from £108.7m to £119.2m for the financial year 2021/2022. The firm also saw an uptick of 5 per cent in operating profits and an increase in 1 per cent in profits per equity partner (PEP) from £512,000 to £517,000.
Taylor Rose MW saw an increase in revenue in 2021/22 and is considering its future options having massively increased turnover in the last half-decade. Taylor Rose MW, which has a 30 September year-end, is now forecasting turnover in the region of £77m, up on £68m the previous year.
The Ince Group is to sell off one of its businesses, in a move that will remove a £2.9m payment from the listed firm’s balance sheet. The business being sold is CW Energy, a tax consultancy to the UK oil and gas industry. It was bought by Ince in 2017. Now it is to be sold back to the original vendors, Phil Greatrex and Paul Rogerson, through PPJ Oiltax Partners LLP.
Revenue at Keystone Law hit £36.8m for the first six months of 2022 ending 31 July, a near 10 per cent increase compared to its last set of half-year results. CEO James Knight said the revenue increase was “largely built on a mixture of strong client demand” and “additional recruits who have joined the firm and introduced new clients”.
Harbottle & Lewis, Howard Kennedy and Womble Bond Dickinson have each raised the starting salaries of their London-based newly qualified (NQ) solicitors by £10,000. These substantial salary changes, which have already come into effect, are the latest examples of the pressure on UK heritage law firms to increase base rates.
Midsize US firms saw faster demand growth than their larger counterparts in the first half of the year for the first time since 2015, according to a new report from the Thomson Reuters Institute. The 2022 Report on the State of the Midsize Legal Market showed that midsize firms saw demand tick up 1.7% in the first six months of the year compared to the same period a year ago.
UK-listed virtual law firm Keystone Law has reported a 9.3% increase in revenue to £36.8m against a 2.5% dip in profit-before-tax to £4.5m for the first half of the financial year. The results build on the progress exhibited during the same period last year when the remote firm saw its profit-before-tax skyrocket by 118%, while revenue grew 37.6% amid ‘buoyant’ market conditions. Earnings per share, meanwhile, went down slightly from 10.8p to 10.5p.
National UK law firm Irwin Mitchell saw its pre-tax group profits tumble in the year to 30 April against a fall in group turnover of just under 3% to £275.7m, though the firm saw revenue for its ‘core’ business grow slightly. Profits fell from £43.1m last year to £21.2m.
Specialist commercial disputes firm Signature Litigation saw its revenue growth slow to 1.4% during the past financial year after jumping by more than a fifth in 2021. Revenue edged up slightly to £27.8m from £27.4m during the same period a year ago. While revenue growth has slowed over the past 12 months, revenue has more than doubled over the past five years and has achieved an annual compound growth rate of 23.4% since its launch a decade ago.
Osborne Clarke has upped its salary rates for newly qualified lawyers after holding its rates steady for more than a year. NQ’s in the firm’s London base will now take home £90,000, up from £80,000.
The 100 largest law firms in the world posted exceptional profitability growth in the 2021 fiscal year, pulling in a 16.8% increase in profits per equity partner.
The 200 largest law firms in the world have collectively grown their revenue 14.7% in the 2021 fiscal year, which for many included several months into 2022. While U.S. firms made up the bulk of the Global 200, firms based in China, Australia and Europe were among the biggest movers up the ranks.
The firms grew their fee income by 10.9% on average in the last financial year, a noticeable improvement on the previous year, when the average rise was 5.9%. It was the largest average rise in revenue since the 2007-08 financial year, when turnover rose 12.5%.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has acted to prevent its London lawyer salaries spiralling after intense currency fluctuation this week. The U.S. headquartered firm has introduced a ‘collar and cap’ style approach to lawyer salaries in the U.K. as the pound plunged this week.
London law firm partners are bracing themselves against significant economic market volatility in the U.K. this week, with many expecting their practices to be affected. “Shocked and surprised” is how one London corporate partner at a U.K. Top 50 firm said they and their peers were feeling about the new Conservative leadership team’s decision to shift the U.K.’s economic policy to the right, with substantial effects.
Technology & Innovation:
Speaking at this month’s Legal Geek tech conference, two Freshfields lawyers explain when it might be justified to pay a ransom, and it might land you on the ‘sucker’s list’.
As the market for Web3 technologies continues to grow in maturity, companies increasingly turn to legal professionals for advice on how to best navigate this nascent space. As a lot of the uses of Web3 innovations, such as nonfungible tokens or the metaverse, are still coming into focus, many questions are still up in the air regarding how centuries-old bodies of law will apply to these emerging technologies.
TikTok could face a fine of up to £27 million after the U.K. Information Commisioner’s Office (ICO) found that the company may have breached U.K. data protection law and put children’s data privacy at risk.
Top 10 US firm Jones Day is launching an accelerator programme to help equip more than a dozen fintech start-ups with the legal skills and business connections to fast-track their growth. The ‘FinAccelerate Empowered by Jones Day’ programme is designed to give fintech entrepreneurs wide-ranging legal knowledge and connect them with financial institutions, investors and potential joint-venture partners. The three-day programme is due to take place on 25 October until 27 October across the firm’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices.
Diversity & Inclusion:
Lawyers should be at the heart of resolving the climate crisis, and Mishcon Purpose is the firm’s attempt to make big changes. Mishcon Purpose is developing its own framework discussing risks and how they can be dealt with by companies. Paul Clements-Hunt, once part of the UN team that coined the term ‘environmental, social and governance’ (ESG) back in 2004, is focusing exactly on that: how companies can govern themselves amid the shifting ESG landscape and how this affects their future plans – and their lawyers. Now a director at Mishcon Purpose he argues that it is time for lawyers to be taking the reins.
As part of chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget that was announced today, The Lawyer reported that lawyers earning £1m per year will be £55,000 richer now because of the new tax cuts. The Free Representation Unit (FRU) has asked lawyers, and anyone else who will benefit from the UK Government’s latest tax cuts, to donate their additional wealth to help improve access to justice and to fund pro bono work.
In recent years, law firms have been talking the big talk about diversity. Terms such as ‘diversity committee’, ‘targets’ and ‘mentoring’ are now commonplace within firms, as they attempt to improve the make-up of their ranks, to better reflect the societies they operate in. But it is hard to know how well firms are really doing without comparing them. Law.com International’s 2022 diversity rankings have revealed how far the statistics are matching up to these efforts and how much of an uphill climb is left to ensure true equality in the industry. This year, firms were asked to split their diversity data across different qualification levels, including partner (both equity and non-equity), trainees, NQ lawyers-2PQE, and 3PQE+, in order to get to the bottom of the industry’s retention problem. Sixty-eight major legal institutions provided data for the survey—which was sent to Top 50 U.K. law firms and large U.S. law firms operating in London with a U.K. headcount of over 50 lawyers.
Clifford Chance’s global head of diversity & inclusion, Tiernan Brady and recently-appointed UK head, Nina Goswami, talk through previous failures in the D&I world and where to go next.
Big Law support staff aren’t just ignoring in-office mandates and flouting office policy rules. Like many of their lawyer counterparts, they’re also saying they’ll leave their current jobs to pursue greater remote-work flexibility, according to a new report this week. In a survey of law firm support staff, 55% of North American respondents and 48% of respondents in the U.K. said they would look for a new job if required to work more than three days in the office.
A ‘silver exodus’ from U.K. workplaces has seen the number of people aged 50-64 who are economically inactive in the U.K. reach 3.6 million, according to the Office of National Statistics—a rise of almost 10% since before the pandemic. According to the SRA, only 8% working at larger law firms are aged 55 to 64, and while the current war for talent has meant law firms have focused on attracting and retaining lawyers early on in their careers, we rarely hear about efforts to recruit and retain older lawyers. Too often ageism counts against them and law firms fail to accommodate a group that offer valuable skills and experience.
‘The person with the disability often thinks if they don’t prove themselves, then the employer will not invest in other people with disabilities’, says Reed Smith associate Vaibhav Adlakha.
Diversity is a matter of justice, and the issue of diversity in the composition of the arbitral tribunal—both gender and disability diversity—is an issue of legitimacy, lawyers at the event said.
‘Having a visible role model would definitely have helped me with feelings of acceptance and it may have helped to combat my feelings of isolation and otherness in the early days of my disability,’ says Reena Parmar.
In-depth research shows the firms with the highest proportion of state-school educated lawyers and partners, with campaigners saying the industry is still taking far too narrow a view of ‘talent’.
Dana Denis-Smith, CEO of Obelisk Support and founder of the First 100 Years campaign, talks about what law firms can do to boost diversity in leadership roles.
The Law Society of England and Wales has published a diversity and inclusion framework to help the l-egal industry create faster and lasting change. The framework has been devised with the help of consultancy Delta Alpha Psi, whose clients include Magic Circle UK law firm Linklaters, as well as the BBC, the NHS and HM Revenue & Customs. It includes an action plan template, links to additional guidance and resources, and a call for law firms to submit diversity and inclusion case studies so that ‘best practice that actually worked’ can be shared.
Am Law 200 firm Adams and Reese has launched a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to advising historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutes (MSIs). Led by partner B. Jeffrey Brooks and special counsel Roy Hadley, the practice advises on a range of matters including federal funding, cybersecurity, government relations, employment, athletics and legal issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The number of solicitors on the roll has reached an all-time high while the number of women with a practising certificate has been growing at more than three times the rate of men, according to new report from the Law Society.
A group of 150 prominent UK and international lawyers has called on law firms and in house lawyers to be ethically obliged to advise clients of the risks associated with deals at odds with the UN’s climate change targets.
Annabel Dumbell, managing director of litigation and dispute management for EMEA North at Accenture Legal, discusses her role as global I&D lead and how working with schools can improve diversity.
Ukrainian Legal Developments:
The country’s legal institutions have set themselves up to become firms “fit for the market in wartimes.”