Weekly Update – 04th of September 2023



Allen & Overy Finance Partner Flies to Bird & Bird in Warsaw

Piotr Lesinski, a debt capital markets and finance regulatory partner based in Warsaw, had been with A&O since 1998. He became an A&O partner in 2010, according to a person with knowledge of the hire. Bird & Bird has also hired a Dentons partner in Madrid.

French Firm Moncey Hires Veteran Linklaters Partner

Fabrice de La Morandière had been a partner at Linklaters for 22 years and headed the firm’s private equity practice and corporate department.

Norton Rose South Africa Boosts Mining Law Capabilities with Bar Hire

It is a significant hire for the firm in Johannesburg. Anneke Higgs’ joins NRFSA as a director—the equivalent of partner—from the bar where she has been an advocate for 15 years.

Addleshaw Goddard, DWF Scale Up in Dubai with Partner Hires

Several law firms are scaling up in the Middle East amid liberalizing markets. Sandeep Puri joins Addleshaws from Baker & McKenzie, having worked in the UAE for over two decades, advising on banking, finance and capital market matters, on both the lender and sponsor sides, according to a firm statement.

King & Spalding, Fieldfisher Add Partners in Paris

Fieldfisher has hired a biotech partner along with two associates while King & Spalding is building in arbitration. Amy Frey, an international arbitration partner, has rejoined King & Spalding after less than a year at McDermott Will & Emery.

Latham & Watkins Loses Veteran PE Partner in Hamburg to German Rival Gleiss Lutz

Stefan Widder, a 21-year veteran of Latham, will bring the number of partners at Gleiss Lutz Hamburg to seven and the total number of lawyers at the Hamburg office to 33.

As Regulatory Issues Become More Complex, Stephenson Harwood Forms Multidisciplinary Compliance Team in Paris

The firm said it is seeing an increase in demand for advice on white-collar investigations, competition, litigation, and other compliance-related issues. The team will include current Stephenson Harwood lawyers as well as significant new recruits from outside the firm, including a compliance specialist from Baker McKenzie in Paris and a former French member of Parliament who was instrumental in drafting new laws extending legal privilege for in-house counsel.


RPC Adds Contentious Practice Partner to Hong Kong

Ivan Chang was a partner in the shuttered Hong Kong office of Addleshaw Goddard.

Appleby Adds First Shanghai Partner Almost a Decade After Office Launch

Appleby became the first offshore law firm licensed to provide offshore legal advice in mainland China in 2014. Hannah Yao is the firm’s first ever partner hire to be based full time in Shanghai, where it has had a presence since 2012. Admitted in the U.S. and in China, Yao was a counsel at Beijing firm Fangda Partner and formerly a lawyer at King & Wood Mallesons.

K&L Gates Hires Tech Partner from Seyfarth Shaw Hong Kong

Paul Haswell becomes the 19th partner at K&L Gates Hong Kong.

Yulchon Grows Disputes and Antitrust Practices With Duo Partner Hire in Seoul

Big Six South Korean law firm Yulchon has recently made two key partner hires from the Korea Fair Trade Commission and Korea’s international dispute resolution law firm KL Partners. Following the recent addition of partner Jooyup Chae, who was previously the general counsel of Korea’s biotechnology company SK Biopharmaceuticals, the Seoul-based firm has further deepened its dispute resolution bench with the hire of international arbitration lawyer Eun Nyung Lee.

Former Rouse Disputes Head Set to Join Hong Kong Firm Tanner De Witt

Douglas Clark, who started his legal career as an associate at Hogan Lovells in 1993 left Rouse in 2022 to set up his own practice.

Clifford Chance Lands M&A Partner From Linklaters in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-based M&A lawyer Alex Bidlake was a lead partner on Cathay Pacific Airways’ $5.3 billion government bailout in 2020.

PwC Australia Departures Continue, Melbourne Partner Joins Pinsent Masons

Florence Riviere joins Pinsent Masons’ property team in Melbourne.

All of Proskauer’s Full-Time Greater China Partners Depart

The firm no longer has any full-time partners in China or Hong Kong, but it says it will continue to operate in Hong Kong and will not be leaving the market.

The Americas

Clifford Chance Hires Jones Day Energy Partner in Houston

Jones Day energy partner David Stringer joined Clifford Chance as a partner in Houston on Tuesday, as the U.K. firm continues to build an energy and infrastructure team in its new office.

Bennett Jones Grabs Partner From Blake Cassels for New Montreal Office

Yannick Beaudoin has been part of some of the biggest infrastructure and financing projects in the region.

Shearman & Sterling Lures Capital Markets Attorney Back From Linklaters

Alejandro Gordano is rejoining the firm as a New York-based partner in the Latin America group, after working at Linklaters and in an in-house role.

Holland & Knight Welcomes Zubin Khambatta to Growing Health Care Practice in Texas

Holland & Knight has strengthened its health care regulatory and enforcement practice group with the addition of Zubin Khambatta as a partner in Austin, the law firm said. He was previously a partner with Perkins Coie.

DLA Litigator Returns to Dentons as a Partner in Dallas

DLA Piper trial lawyer Matthew Nickel rejoined Dentons as a partner in Dallas on Monday, saying it was the ‘right time’ for his career.

Another Kirkland Partner Heads to Phillips Lytle, as Firm Builds Out Midwest Base

Former Kirkland partner Jaran Moten, now at Phillips Lytle, said he thinks clients are more often hiring multiple firms to work certain matters, and the ability to do so successfully will help give firms like his an edge.

McDermott Hires Former EY GC From Gibson Dunn, as Accounting Firms Face More Scrutiny

Ron Hauben’s arrival at McDermott coincides with increased regulatory activity from the SEC and PCAOB.

Ex-Holland & Knight Media Co-Chair Sandy Bohrer Leaves Retirement to Join Boutique Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen

“This law firm functions as a team,” Bohrer said. “They’re all supportive of each other. It’s not like in a Big Law firm, where people are competing for that partnership spot.”

King & Spalding Continues Texas Growth With Locke Lord ‘Heavy Hitter’

Locke Lord partner Mitchell Tiras, who joined King & Spalding on Monday as a partner in Houston said his move provides his clients with broader-based services as they evolve.

Eversheds Sutherland Builds ‘Gateway to a Global Firm’ With New San Francisco Tax Partner

Michael Lebovitz, the co-head of the international tax and transfer pricing team at Mayer Brown, joined Eversheds as it builds its San Francisco presence.

McDermott Lands International M&A Partner From Dechert

Howard Kleinman has a focus on South America and cross-border transactions.

Milbank Adds Cahill Partner Who Will Co-Lead White Collar Defense Practice

The addition of Nola Heller boosts the firm’s pitch to land on clients’ most important matters, said Milbank’s George Canellos.

Troutman Pepper Takes 2 Private Equity Partners as Midmarket Deal Work Moves Ahead

Bruce Steinert, a Perkins Coie partner, joined the firm in San Francisco, while Gibson Dunn of counsel Jonathan Homer joined the firm in New York.

Baker McKenzie Regulatory Co-Chairs, Seeking Greater ‘Support,’ Jump to K&L Gates

Amy Greer and Jennifer Klass were recruited to build the practice from scratch in 2019, but they said they ultimately needed a firm that offered a broader set of skills and expertise to serve their clients.

Dilworth Paxson to Hire Up to 20 Lawyers From Dissolving Schnader Harrison

The group is composed of attorneys who’d previously belonged to Schnader’s trusts and estates, litigation, real estate, and transactional practice groups.

Sidley Picks Up Cooley Venture Finance Partner in Palo Alto

Cindy Lovering, who spent more than six years at Cooley, joined Sidley’s California global finance practice.

Jones Day Energy Partner Is Latest Big Law Hire for Clifford Chance

Jones Day energy partner David Stringer joined Clifford Chance as a partner in Houston on Tuesday, as the U.K. firm continues to build an energy and infrastructure team in its new office.

O’Melveny Hires Long-Serving SEC Regional Director in Los Angeles

O’Melveny has once again grown its roster of former high-ranking government officials with the addition of Michele Wein Layne to its white-collar defense and corporate investigations group.

White & Case Private Credit Partner Returns to Proskauer

As private credit continues to grow, Jessica Shearer’s “skill set will be an asset to the continued growth of our group and that of our clients,” said Proskauer’s Mike Mezzacappa.

Fish & Richardson Announces 2023 Del. Associate Hire

Fish & Richardson has welcomed nine lateral associates to the litigation practice group since the start of 2023, including Brandon Pakkebier in the firm’s Delaware office in February.

Cravath Public Company M&A Partner Heads to Latham

Latham & Watkins bolstered its public company M&A practice with the addition of Cravath, Swaine & Moore M&A partner Andrew Elken, announced on Monday. Elken, who had been at Cravath since beginning his legal career in 2009, will be based out of Latham’s New York office.


Ex-Foot Locker, Circle K Exec Takes Legal Reins of 520-Location Shoe Store Chain

Randolph Brodwin spent the bulk of his career at Foot Locker, rising from real estate counsel to associate general counsel over 23 years. Now, he’s becoming chief legal officer of a privately owned retailer that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Pax8 Taps Ethics and Compliance Veteran as First CCO

Mary Gill said she is thrilled “to have this opportunity to lead the design and build out of the company’s next generation ethics and compliance program.”

Archer Daniels Midland Taps Globetrotting Legal Vet to Succeed GC Who Put Out Fires

Food giant ADM has hired Regina Bynote Jones away from oil-field-services company Baker Hughes to serve as its senior vice president and general counsel.

Iconic Crystal Maker Swarovski Taps Former Nestle, Wrigley and Coca-Cola Attorney as Legal Chief

Stephan Mechnig appointment as chief legal and compliance officer comes a year after the nearly 130-year-old company installed someone outside the family as CEO for the first time.

Dollar Tree Hires Legal Chief to Replace Ex-Trump Official Who Abruptly Departed

Jonathan Leiken is taking the legal reins of Dollar Tree after helping guide his last employer, the ATM-maker Diebold Nixdorf, through bankruptcy.

Saying ‘Ja’ to Transfer Pays Off for BMG Legal Veteran

A year after relocating from Los Angeles to BMG’s Berlin headquarters, Tony Abner is taking the legal reins of the world’s fourth-largest music company.

Burgeoning UCSF Hospital System Appoints First Chief Counsel

Incoming general counsel Rachel Nosowsky will be “an excellent colleague and mentor for all the attorneys in our office,” said UCSF Chief Campus Counsel Greta Schnetzler.

Saint Louis Bank Axes CEO, Promotes GC to Succeed Him

Kevin King, the general counsel of the three-office Saint Louis Bank who’s practiced banking law for more than four decades, is succeeding CEO Travis Liebig. The bank isn’t explaining the ouster.

National Insurance Crime Bureau Promotes Ex-Federal Prosecutor to GC

At the Illinois-based nonprofit, Rich DiZinno will help ferret out fraud, something he battled as an assistant U.S. attorney and as chief counsel for national security and crime for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ex-Waymo Deputy GC Takes Legal Reins of Battery Startup

David Tressler spent six years at Google-owned Waymo, during which the company became the first self-driving car service to serve the general public without backup drivers in the vehicle.

Biden Picks Former Obama Lawyer for White House Counsel

During his first stint at the White House, Ed Siskel helped fend off attacks on the Affordable Care Act. He also spearheaded the response to congressional inquiries into the 2012 Benghazi attack that resulted in the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Legal Chief for Movie Theater Association Follows Other Execs Out the Exit Door

Jackie Brenneman is the third long-tenured executive of the National Association of Theatre Owners to depart this year.

CLO Cashes Out at ATM-Maker Diebold; Replacement Punches In

After guiding the manufacturer through bankruptcy, Jonathan Leiken is passing the legal reins to veteran Diebold attorney Elizabeth “Lisa” Radigan, whom he called “brilliant, caring and a wise teacher of the law.”

Lawyer Stepping Aside Who Helped Shape Charter Communications Into No. 2 Cable Operator

David Ellen played a key role in the transformation of the cable industry, first as general counsel of Cablevision before its $17.7 billion sale in 2016 and then as a senior executive at Charter as it digested nearly $100 billion in acquisitions.

Promotions & Appointments:

Norton Rose South Africa’s Incoming CEO Committed to Full-Time Executive Leadership

Being chief executive far outweighs the bitter-sweetness of no longer running the disputes practice, says CEO elect Brent Botha in an interview with Law.com International.

Hogan Lovells Names New San Francisco Leader, With Plans to Expand Office

Megan Nishikawa, an energy, environmental and life sciences litigator who joined the firm last fall from King & Spalding, is stepping into the San Francisco office managing partner role on Sept. 1.

Hogan Lovells Partners Are Voting on CEO Miguel Zaldivar’s Second Term

Board members unanimously recommended that Zaldivar, who’s led Hogan Lovells since July 2020, should continue serving at the helm for another four-year term.

Mergers & Alliances:

Canadian IP Firm Smart & Biggar Gets Bigger With Merger

The IPH Group-affiliated firm will combine with former competitor Ridout & Maybee, cementing its position as the largest IP shop in Canada.

Clark Hill Combines With Dublin-Based Firm

Clark Hill’s acquisition of the 10-solicitor Dublin, Ireland-based firm HBMO Solicitors follows earlier acquisitions in the U.S., in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Fox Rothschild Absorbs Five-Lawyer Auto Boutique

Firm chair Mark Morris said Aboyoun Dobbs has been the “go-to firm for automobile dealerships in the tri-state area since its founding in 1989.”

A&O Shearman: The Compelling but Unspoken Rationale

Industry observer Hugh A. Simons dives into historical data and law firm dynamics to explore the true, though perhaps unspoken, benefits of a merger between Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling.

One Big Advantage of Growth by Acquisition? Sticky Clients.

Law firms are continuing to seek out acquisitions as a means of growth, which comes with its share of both challenges and benefits.

Continuing Growth in Existing Markets, Clark Hill Combines With Dublin Commercial Firm

Clark Hill’s acquisition of the 10-solicitor HBMO Solicitors in Dublin follows earlier acquisitions in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Stroock Loses Business-Side Leaders, as Uncertain Merger Future Poses Recruiting Challenges

“Joining Stroock, my goal was to focus on partner hiring…We were seeing a lot of success,” said Regina Robbins, the firm’s former director of talent acquisition. “When the information was getting out in the marketplace about the Paul Hastings group and about the merger talks, it was difficult to help the firm find partners and grow.”

Office Openings & Closing:

Eversheds Sutherland’s New Austin Office Boasts Prime Location, Amenities

To accommodate growth, Eversheds Sutherland moved into new offices in downtown Austin on Monday that will accommodate significantly more lawyers.

Law Firm Leasing Activity Rebounds to Highest Post-Pandemic Point

Building off a strong first quarter, U.S. law firm leasing activity remained robust in the second quarter, resulting in the strongest period of leasing on record since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest quarterly report from Savills. Los Angeles also saw multiple deals over 20,000 square feet.


Nishimura & Asahi Changes Ownership Structure, Foreign Lawyers to Own Equity

Nishimura’s New York and Germany-admitted international dispute resolution partner Lars Markert has since announced his entry to the firm’s equity partnership.

White & Case UK Accounts Show Stagnant Profit Despite Turnover Boost

The LLPs also showed that the firm made almost £3 million more from currency exchange rate fluctuations in the past year.

DWF Profits Slide Ahead of Private Equity Takeover

Though the UK listed law firm’s revenue edged up, the firm’s leaders said they did not expect to undertake ‘any material M&A in the short term’ due to economic pressures.

General Counsel Compensation Chart: Who Made the 2023 Top-Paid GC List?

The tight talent market helped drive up compensation, as current employers tried to lock down legal chiefs with retention bonuses, and companies trying to fill openings dangled juicy signing bonuses and stock grants.

2023 Could Turn Out All Right, If Law Firms Can Collect on What They’re Owed

Clients are slower to pay, but that means inventory is building. If firms start seeing checks come in, the second half of 2023 could be much more promising, Citi’s midyear survey shows.

DC Law Firms See Rebound in First Half of 2023, Increasing Revenues and Controlling Comp Expenses

“The real standout was controlling the compensation line and that really helped D.C.-focused firms,” said Wells Fargo’s Owen Burman.

Big Atlanta Law Firms Saw Revenue and Profits Rise in First Half, Even as Collections Slowed

Billing rate increases appeared to be the largest fuel for revenue growth, as demand in Atlanta was down 1.6%, compared to a 0.4% decrease for all firms nationally, according to Wells Fargo.

Law Firms Are Still Grasping for the ‘Other Side’ of Uncertainty

Firms benefitted from 7.7% average billing rate increases in the first half, Wells Fargo said, noting they are continuing to absorb productivity hits in the hopes of getting to the “other side” of the economic storm.

How to Manage Partner Compensation Expectations in a Challenging Year

MesaFive consultant Blane Prescott recounts common firm compensation models and how firms can set comp in a down year

Technology & Innovation:

1 in 4 Large Law Firms Expect Generative AI to Replace Jobs Internally in Next 5 Years

Generative AI has ‘potential to take away many of the more mundane and administrative tasks that currently form a necessary part of the lawyer’s workload’.

5 Ways Legal Is Mitigating Generative AI Risks

As some of the risks of using generative AI have come to light, legal tech providers and law firms are accessing and using the technology in news ways.

Concerned About ChatGPT Risks, This Australian Law Firm Built an Alternative

It took about six months for the firm to build its own GenAI platform, which it has named “Airlie” in honor of Airlie Smith—the first woman lawyer to join any of the firms that merged to form Allens.

AI in the Workplace: Benefits and Potential Drawbacks

Estimates suggest that nearly 80% of employers are now using AI in some capacity, so it’s imperative businesses understand AI’s rapidly growing presence across the labor landscape.

Cutting Through the Mess: What Does AI Really Mean for Lawyers?

In this column, Katherine B. Forrest presents her views on how artificial intelligence will impact the legal profession moving forward. She also includes some practical guidance about what ethical and professional obligations lawyers should keep in mind as they contend with its increasing usage.

Use This Framework for Integrating AI Into Your Thought Leadership Content Process

There are opportunities throughout the writing process for humans to partner with AI. Here’s how to think about that division of labor.

Law Firms Say They Expect GenAI to Reduce Reliance on Billable Hour—but Observers Are Skeptical

The majority of large UK law firms expect GenAI to impact their approach to the billable hour, according to a Law.com International survey.

Troutman Pepper Rolls Out Proprietary Gen AI Chatbot ‘Athena’ With Painstaking Care

With its new chatbot Athena, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, the firm is drawing an unequivocal line when it comes to certain use cases—and keeping a watchful eye.

Where Generative AI Will Likely Have the Most Impact in Law Firms

A Tuesday standing-room only session at ILTACON 2023 in Orlando highlighted some of the areas of the law firm work where generative AI is expected to have the most impact.

Sullivan & Cromwell’s Investments in AI Lead to Discovery, Deposition ‘Assistants’

Two post-doctoral students set up a lab in Sullivan & Cromwell’s offices to develop and train AI technology. Its capabilities could alter the very fabric of being a lawyer.

Diversity & Inclusion:

GCs Collaborate with Skadden and Others to Ramp Up Corporate LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

The campaign, which involves top lawyers from Rolls Royce, BP and others, comes just months after Law.com revealed stagnant LGBT representation in the legal industry.

The Law Firm Disrupted: The Generation Gap in Big Law Is Real, but It’s Broader Too

Guess who made which damning statement about Gen Z.

Leading DEI with Practicality and Purpose

Corporate counsel are well positioned to play a key role in focusing their companies on the case for DEI, whether premised on fundamental fairness, correcting for historical underrepresentation, or aligning with the shareholder goal of profitability.

Lawsuits Over Big Law Diversity Fellowships Prompt Firms to Scrutinize DEI Program Language

The lawsuits filed this week take particular aim at language contained in the firms’ diversity fellowship applications that conservative legal activist Edward Blum’s group views as exclusionary against its “white, nondisabled heterosexual man” client.

This Weil Gotshal Duo Is Fighting to Make Class a Protected Characteristic in the UK

Two figures are quietly leading a nationwide push to reform the U.K.’s Equality Act in a way that could profoundly affect the way social class is perceived.

The Battle for DEI in the Court of Public Opinion

“Those who are fighting DEI efforts misunderstand and mischaracterize the work. There seems to be a significant disconnect between their characterization of the work and what the work actually is,” says Yusuf Zakir, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at Davis Wright Tremaine.

Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: From Optimism to Action

Alyssa Levy, a first-year corporate associate with Sidley Austin talks to Lin Cherry, Chief Talent Experience Officer at the technology services company, Wizeline, on why it’s important for organizations to advance DE&I as well as some small but powerful steps any organization can take.

Market Commentary:

Is London on the Cusp of a White Collar Boom?

With a SFO soon to welcome a new director and a UK recession looking more likely, some partners are expecting an uptick in investigations, while others offer more sober takes.

India as an Emerging Hub for International Arbitration

The Delhi High Court recently established a significant precedent by clarifying third-party funders cannot be held liable to pay adverse awards, and here’s how it will change the landscape of arbitration in the country.

Global Law Firms Act on China Cross-Border M&A Deals and Japan’s Continuing Overseas Energy Investment Drive

In recent months, global brands such as Volkswagen Group have been revisiting their Chinese target acquisition plans, while Japanese energy companies have been pushed by an energy resource-scarce domestic market to further their investments abroad.

Japanese Tech Startups’ Nasdaq IPO Thirst Generates Deal Work for US Law Firms in Japan

Japanese deep technology, life science and biotechnology companies feel that they are comfortable speaking to U.S. investment banks or U.S. stock exchanges such as Nasdaq, according to a Tokyo-based Greenberg Traurig lawyer.

Challenges to Corporate Decision-Making in the Face of Increasingly Polarized Responses to ESG Initiatives

A wave of “conservative” political lawsuits and advocacy campaigns seeking to advance “anti-ESG” or “anti-woke” themes have resulted in certain companies de-emphasizing disclosure of their ESG initiatives, according to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Stephen Blake and Sareen Armani.

Crunch Time for ESG: When Will Green Advice Pay Off for Law Firms in Asia?

Most jurisdictions in Asia are at different stages in their ESG journeys and that disparity, compounded by the lack of alternative resources and the ambiguity of government regulations and policies across the region, presents significant challenges for companies.

Law Firm Merger Fever May Be Good News for Boutiques

With firm mergers expected to accelerate, boutiques feeling pressure from clients to grow may be ready to take calls from larger firms.

How the GC of a Startup Building ‘Harmless’ AI Balances Risks, Rewards

“It’s a surprisingly full time job at times . . . to really deeply understand where we’re willing to tolerate more risk in service of our mission and where we’re more sensitive to risk,” Anthropic AI legal chief Brian Israel said.

Should I Stay or Go? 8 Questions Partners Facing a Merger Need to Answer

With all the mergers—or potential mergers—taking place this year, what key factors should lawyers consider when deciding whether to remain at their firm or move on?

Partners Are Frustrated With ‘Zoom Associates.’ But Will Threatening Their Bonuses Change That?

Consultants and partners have bluntly described some younger associates as “lacking accountability and initiative.” But surveys suggest younger lawyers and aspiring lawyers are more varied in their motivations than earlier generations.

Law Firm Closures Highlight a Tale of Two Markets

Midsize law firms are seeing faster demand growth than big firms. But this segment of the market is still vulnerable to large, existential threats.

Where Have All the London Rainmakers Gone?

U.K. firms need to rethink their star culture if they want to compete on a global scale.

Prepare to Communicate More Law Firm Leadership Transitions

Since the pandemic, turnover in the leadership ranks of major law firms has been increasing. Transitions can cause anxiety and uncertainty—especially if firms don’t have a clear and consistent messaging. With a good plan, however, firms can use transitions as a way to re-tell their story.

How to Kill Your Culture in a Minor Recession, According to Midlevels

In our annual Midlevel Associates Survey, thousands of associates told us how their firms missed the mark in managing through a downturn—but they gave some praise.

Leveraging Lateral Partner Recruiting Strategies in a Down Market

While the economic downturn certainly adds a layer of complexity to the lateral partner recruitment process, it does not render it an insurmountable task.

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