Weekly Update – 06th of November 2023

Moves:

UK & Ireland

Paul Hastings Secures Restructuring Co-Chair With KKR Hire

William Needham is set to join the top 25 US firm after nine years at KKR and will co-chair its European restructuring practice with fellow partner Mei Lian.

Stewarts Hires From Norton Rose for Head of International Arbitration

Stewarts has poached Norton Rose Fulbright partner Sherina Petit as the latest hire for its international arbitration practice, the firm announced today (3 November). The disputes expert will also lead the firm’s India team and will assist in its expansion across the Middle East, Africa and Singapore.

White & Case Swoops for Ropes & Gray Partner in London

The partner, Emily Brown will help bolster the firm’s M&A and private equity practice.

Pinsent Masons hires Irish funds partner Conor Durkin

Pinsent Masons has hired funds partner Conor Durkin to lead its funds team in Dublin as it continues to grow its pan-European funds capabilities.

EMEA

Kirkland Lures White & Case, Latham Partners for New Saudi Arabia Office

Adding rising stars from rivals in Riyadh, Kirkland says its new office will be led by an existing corporate partner from Chicago.

McDermott Strengthens Finance Muscle in Munich With Ashurst Partner Hire

He is the fourth partner to join the firm this year, into the Finance Practice. Matthias Weissinger.

Norton Rose Continues South Africa Hiring Campaign With New Clyde & Co Partner

NRFSA’s strategy is to ensure the firm has a bank of senior but younger lawyers to enable it to service clients for decades to come, says CEO.

APAC

Reed Smith Takes Regional Investment Funds Practice Co-Head From Sidley Austin in Singapore

Reed Smith has been actively hiring for its Asia practice and now has 140 lawyers, including nearly 50 partners, across its four Asian offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Hill Dickinson Takes Team of 10 From Ince Hong Kong

The team includes three partners and ‘represents a bold step forward’ for Hill Dickinson’s marine practice.

DLA Piper Adds Real Estate Partner from BCLP In Singapore

DLA has been building its presence in the region, saying ‘Singapore is a key office in our Asia network’.

Goodwin Hires Debt Finance Partner from White & Case Hong Kong

White & Case’s debt capital markets partner Margie Chan has also recently left the firm’s Hong Kong practice.

Herbert Smith Freehills Loses Aviation Partner Duo in Singapore

Subramanian and Kohlemainen both joined HSF in 2018 as part of a four-partner defection from Watson Farley & Williams.

Freshfields Builds US M&A Advisory Capability With Latham & Mayer Brown Partner Hires In Tokyo

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has made simultaneous U.S.-qualified partner hires from Latham & Watkins and Mayer Brown in Tokyo in an effort to win U.S. work mandates from Japanese clients and inbound work from U.S. companies.

Australia’s Hamilton Locke Takes Team of Ten from Clyde & Co.

The departures come after Clyde & Co laid off 10 lawyers in August.

Han Kun Corporate Partner Joins Clyde & Co in Hong Kong

With Wu’s joining, Clyde & Co will count 32 lawyers, led by nine partners, in Hong Kong.

The Americas

Firm With Focus on Latin America Startups Hires Brown Rudnick Practice Chair in New York

The Latin America-focused law firm has recruited Argentine lawyer Alejandro Fiuza, whose cross-border experience includes private equity and venture capital deals.

Former Counsel to New York City Mayor Back at WilmerHale to Lead New Practice

Brendan McGuire advised Mayor Eric Adams as his administration grappled massive influx of more than 100,000 migrants into a city with a “right to shelter” law and a potential federal takeover of the jail complex on Rikers Island, where inmate deaths have spiked in recent years.

Debevoise Lands Goodwin Technology M&A Co-Chair Aly Love Simons

Alessandra “Aly” Simons, after close to 10 years at Goodwin Procter, where she ascended to co-chair of that firm’s technology M&A practice, is joining Debevoise & Plimpton.

With Firm Winding Down, Longtime Stroock Defense Attorney Joel Cohen Heads to Defense Boutique

The announcement of Cohen’s move comes just after Stroock announced that–following a string of grim developments for the 147-year-old firm that has included botched merger talks and mass departures of talent–the firm is forming a wind-down committee to oversee a potential dissolution or restructuring.

Proskauer Hires Cooley IP Litigator in New York

Joseph Drayton is the third first-chair trial lawyer to join Proskauer since October.

Vinson & Elkins Energy/Infrastructure Partner Moves to Simpson Thacher in New York

Vinson & Elkins partner Gabriel Silva joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as a partner in the energy and infrastructure practice in New York, as the firm continues to seek out Big Law partners working in that sector.

McDermott Lands Online Platform Litigator from White & Case

Jonathan Hawk has worked with many online platforms over the years and his practice seems well positioned as regulators continue to scrutinize online content such as hate speech.

Latin America-Focused PAG Law Hires Brown Rudnick’s Latin America Practice Chair

The Latin America-focused law firm has recruited Argentine lawyer Alejandro Fiuza, whose cross-border experience includes private equity and venture capital deals.

In-House

Apparel Wholesaler With an Eye on Sustainability Hires Legal Chief

“With her as our chief legal officer, our team, business, vendors and customers will all benefit,” S&S Activewear CEO Fred Meyers said of Alaina Brooks’ hiring.

Teva CLO David Stark Moving On After Two Rough-and-Tumble Decades

“My main criteria for the future will be to work with fantastic humans and to find yet another challenge that puts my experiences to their best possible use,” Stark said in a LinkedIn post.

Specialty Vehicle-Maker Hires Cooper Tire’s Top Lawyer to Replace Ousted GC

“The leadership team is committed to continuous improvement and driving shareholder growth. I look forward to working with the team to reach our goals.” General Counsel Stephen Zamansky said.

Veteran Defense Industry Attorney Lands CLO Role at Former Forcepoint Unit

Raytheon in-house veteran James Wallace is taking the legal reins of G2CI, which has hired its own management team now that it operates as a stand-alone business.

McKesson Taps Its Former Associate GC to Replace Retiring CLO

Michaele Lau is taking the reins of the health care giant, where she previously worked for 13 years.

Philadelphia Museum of Art GC Jumps to Foundation That Aids Deaf Children

Albert Suh, who started his in-house career at Aramark, will be VP of administration and general counsel for the Oberkotter Foundation.

Blackstone Attorney Takes Legal Reins at Fast-Growing Owner of Rental Homes

Ama Romaine has joined Progress Residential, the nation’s largest owner of single-family rental homes—a segment that has seen torrid growth.

Promotions & Appointments:

Morris Nichols Announces New Partners and Special Counsel Promotions

Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell announced that Alexandra Cumings and Kyle Pinder have been invited to join the firm partnership, effective Jan. 1, 2024, and Elizabeth Mullin will be promoted to special counsel.

‘We Know Who We Are’: Frank Ryan Reelected DLA Piper’s Americas Leader

Under Ryan’s direction, the firm saw its highest revenue year to date in 2022, growing 6.2% from a strong 2021 to $3.68 billion. The U.S. offices accounted for just over $2 billion of that tally.

CMS and Travers Smith Elect New UK Senior Partners

The incoming senior partners at both firms are set to step into their new roles early next year. Charles Currier and Andrew Gillen respectively.

Mergers & Alliances:

Allen & Overy Sells Majority Stake in Risk Management Division to Private Equity

Inflexion is investing in the £20 million-revenue A&O affiliate, but that the law firm will retain a ‘significant minority stake’.

How Big Law Mergers Succeed: The Quiet Part Out Loud

In short: mergers between healthy firms work, Hugh Simons explains, detailing data that shows adding an unhealthy firm into the mix is a recipe for multi-year declines in PEP rank.

Office Openings & Closing:

Rawle & Henderson Opens a New Wilmington Office

The law firm of Rawle & Henderson—the nation’s oldest law firm—has opened a new office in Wilmington.

As Stroock Plans Its End, Wind-Down Committee to Examine Liabilities

Whether the firm lands in bankruptcy is unknown at this point, sources said, as Stroock will be dealing with both preferred and non-preferred creditors. Its full liabilities are unclear at this point.

Epstein Becker Green Snags Eckert Seamans Employment Benefits Team to Launch Pittsburgh Office

The five new arrivals include two former members of Eckert’s board of directors.

Cooley Opens Miami Office With Sights On Local Tech, VC Community

The tech-focused firm follows Sidley Austin, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Winston & Strawn, Kirkland & Ellis and King & Spalding in the bustling South Florida legal market.

Swiss-Korean Litigation Boutique Launches Second European Office

The firm’s latest office launch coincides with the recent hire of international dispute resolution lawyer Arie Eernisse, who was most recently a senior foreign attorney at Big Six South Korean law firm Shin & Kim.

Kirkland Officially Launches Office in Saudi Arabia with Partners from White & Case, Latham

Adding rising stars from rivals in Riyadh, Kirkland says its new office will be led by an existing corporate partner from Chicago.

Mishcon Becomes Latest Firm to Target Saudi Launch

A rule change this year has made it easier for international firms to establish a presence in Saudi, leading to a flurry of launches.

Financials:

Big Law’s Approach to Billing Rate Hikes in 2024

“There’s a lot of people trying to play a little bit of catch-up, and they’ll run out of opportunity runway if there’s a recession,” said Mark Medice, a principal at LawVision and law firm consultant.

Firms Confront Tough Questions About Single-Tier Partnerships in Wake of Surging Profits

The decision to add a non-equity tier is often a play to compete for senior associate and counsel-level talent by offering the title of partner without diluting shares of the firm’s equity, so firms can continue to pay for top-performing talent.

Higher Attorney Pay Brings Southeast Law Firms Closer to New York Scale

The majority of Am Law firms in Atlanta around 2021 “figured out” they were competing with New York firms, rather than only other Atlanta firms, for talent, noted Rebecca Glatzer of Major, Lindsey & Africa.

In Cost-Saving Bid, Legal Departments Snatching Back Work From Law Firms

A newly released survey found departments also are trying to save money by switching from large law firms to smaller ones, and by leveraging artificial intelligence.

Baker McKenzie Unveils Flat Revenue and Profit

The firm’s revenue remained flat this year, after last year’s 5.5% leap forward.

Why Concealing PEP Isn’t Always the Best Idea

A few firms have omitted PEP from their most recent financial results—there’s really only one way the market will interpret this, writes The London Lawyer.

Technology & Innovation:

ChatGPT Fall Update

As a follow up to her April article in this publication, “ChatGPT as a Legal Tool? Ethical Considerations in the Evolving Generative AI Landscape,” Kimbrilee Weber, partner with Norris McLaughlin, continues the discussion, covering some of the caselaw that has cropped up with the rise of ChatGPT, including court rules and privacy issues.

Cooley Launches Cooley D+O, an Online D&O Questionnaire Platform for Clients and Attorneys

The firm plans to soon expand the platform into Cooley D+O 2.0, which will include additional features such as scalable initial public offering filings.

The Artificial Intelligence Imperative for Lawyers

The law school curriculum has long needed an update. We propose that a training in AI be a complement to legal education, not a replacement.

For Law Firms, Will Generative AI Really Be a Major Competitive Differentiator?

Law firms will likely all be relying on a small pool of similar generative AI tools. But that doesn’t mean there will be a leveled playing field.

AI Will Promote You Now: Exploring the Implications of Artificial Intelligence in the Employment Context

In the employment discrimination context, the use of AI offers the possibility of eliminating bias from employment decisions, but the current reality may be just the opposite, according to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Chet Kronenberg, Laura Lin and Rachel June-Graber.

AI-Powered App Designed to Simplify Legalese Wins Top Honors at Hofstra Law’s Innovation Tournament

The one-day innovation tournament was held virtually on Oct. 13 and was sponsored by JAMS, the American Arbitration Association and the New York State Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section. Nine teams of law and engineering students entered the competition this year.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Susman Godfrey Leaning In to Diversity in Response to Questions About Diversity Programs

Susman Godfrey plans to increase the number of law students participating in its 1L Diversity Fellowship and the number of winners of the Susman Godfrey Prize.

Special Section: Labor & Employment 2023

In The Legal’s Labor & Employment supplement, read about new protections for pregnant and nursing employees, evolving DEI efforts and a push for unions in the arts and culture sector.

Mid-Market Roundup: Firms Embrace Diversity, Business Development Efforts

Welcome to Mid-Market Roundup, where our team of regional editors shares the trends, challenges, opportunities and observations emerging in their markets.

California Bar Report: 77% of Lawyers Disciplined in 2022-23 Were Men

The state bar’s latest discipline report looked at gender, race and ethnicity for the first time.

How Employers Can Embrace DEI Without Inviting Lawsuits

“The way to minimize risk is the engage in conduct that promotes diversity without making decisions or limiting opportunities explicitly on the basis of race or gender,” said Rutgers Law School professor Stacy Hawkins.

DEI Litigation Trends and Risk Mitigation: More Than Semantics

Using precise, thoughtful language in communication about DEI initiatives, both internally and externally, can take the proverbial bullseye off a company. The authors of this column offer some specific examples of how this plays out in practice, identifying high-risk and low-risk alternatives in five common scenarios.

Law Firms, Big and Small, Dominate Latest UK Employer Social Mobility Rankings

Over 40 law firms, more than half the list, were included in the rankings produced annually by the Social Mobility Foundation.

Latham’s New Partner Class Is Male-Dominated, But So Are Many of Its Peers’

The law firm’s new partner class is 38% female, an increase over last year’s 31%. Six of the new partners are based in London.

Market Commentary:

Legal Departments Frustrated by Law Firms’ Lack of Transparency

In-house staffers say in a new survey that they want law firms to provide better visibility into their costs and processes. But the respondents gave the firms high marks for the quality and responsiveness of their communications and for how they collaborate on strategy.

Lateral Moves in California Slow as Firms Shift Focus to ‘Clear-Cut Growth’ Markets

Lateral partner moves in the Bay Area have especially slumped through the third quarter, according to data from two legal industry groups.

In Smaller Litigation Shops, New Partners Emphasize a Focus on Trial Skills

Four newly-minted boutique partners who participated in Law.com’s “How I Made It” series over the past year highlight the striking amount of practice diversity out there in smaller firms.

Big Law Attorneys Are Hitting the Lateral Market. Should Midsize Firms Hire Them?

It’s a buyer’s market for midsize firms across the country as Big Law associates struggle to hit hours and partners get priced out of their own practices.

Associate Support Shortages Are Driving ‘Valuable’ Partner Departures

Partners in their prime business development years, often in key transactional practice areas for the firm they’re at, are leaving for firms that can offer more robust associate teams.

Rise of Fake Lawyers Threatens Legal Practice in Africa

The sensational story of a non-lawyer allegedly masquerading as a qualified attorney in Kenya has led to growing concerns of ‘widespread’ malpractice across the continent.

Big Firms Less Bullish on Growing Leverage Than a Year Ago, Survey Finds

Pre-pandemic, large firms were reserved in making changes to their equity partner head count. “But one of the interesting trends we saw in 2022 was there was a significant jump in firms growing equity partner head count,” one researcher said.

Partners Reluctant to Merge Can Tank Firms’ Chances at Growth, Survival

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan missed its window of opportunity to find a merger partner, and now the firm is shutting down. Could leaders have done anything to secure greater support for their plans?

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