Weekly Update – 07th of August 2023


UK & Ireland

Simpson Thacher Hires Senior Lawyer from Blackstone in London

Angus Lennox, a managing director at Blackstone, is joining the firm as a partner after seven years at the private equity giant. Prior to that, he had been a senior associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, according to a statement from Simpson Thacher.

Fieldfisher Hires Eight-Strong Litigation Team from US Boutique

The rare London team hire is a major boost to the firm’s disputes practice.

Kirkland & Ellis Swoops for Paul Weiss London Head

It is the latest blow for Paul Weiss’ UK practice, which parted ways with two partners in May. Kirkland & Ellis has hired Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison’s London head, Alvaro Membrillera, in the latest blow to the latter firm’s U.K. presence.

BNP Paribas’ UK Disputes Head Joins Norton Rose Fulbright

The latest hire is also the President of the UK’s Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Alison Kellett joins the firm as a partner. At BNP Paribas, she also headed up the bank’s Channel Islands region, and oversaw legal investigations and litigation and legal financial security, according to NRF’s statement.


Reed Smith Frankfurt Founding Partner Moves to Deloitte

Simon Grieser joins the Big Four giant as a partner next month.

Reed Smith Appoints New Munich Partner

Reed Smith also recently hired two prominent partners from McDermott Will & Emery, including the firm’s private equity head and the founder of McDermott in Germany. Reed Smith hired McDermott Will & Emery counsel Germar Enders as a partner in its Munich office, the third senior corporate lawyer to join the firm this year.

Bowmans Takes Litigation Lawyer from Dentons

Vanessa Jacklin-Levin was previously head of dispute resolution at Dentons in South Africa and office managing partner in Johannesburg.


Norton Rose Fulbright Hires Capital Markets Partner from Kirkland Hong Kong

Ethan Chen will be the second U.S.-qualified capital markets partner for Norton Rose in Hong Kong.

Norton Rose Fulbright Takes Sydney Construction Team from Clyde & Co

Glen Warwick rejoins the firm as a partner. Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has bolstered its projects and construction team in Australia with the addition of a partner and two other lawyers from Clyde & Co.

White & Case Establishes Insolvency Practice in Australia as Corporate Failures Increase

Global law firm White & Case is establishing a restructuring and insolvency practice in Australia with the addition of two partners, Timothy Sackar and Jillian McAleese, from Australian firm Clayton Utz.

Milbank’s Asia Aviation Head Moves to Rajah & Tann in Singapore

Singapore firm Rajah & Tann has strengthened its aviation practice with the hire of Milbank aviation partner Paul Ng. At Milbank, Ng led the firm’s aviation and asset finance practice in Asia.

Pinsent Masons Launches Australian Employment Practice with 3 Partners

Pinsent Masons has launched an employment and reward practice in Australia with the hire of three partners from Australian firms. Aaron Goonrey and Neil Napper join from Lander & Rogers in Sydney, and Ben McKinley from Holding Redlich in Melbourne.

PwC Tax Partner Leaves to Join Australia’s Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Cameron Blackwood, who will work in Corrs’ Sydney office, spent 18 years at the specialist tax firm Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills before joining PwC in June 2022 following its acquisition of Greenwoods.

Shin & Kim Expands Projects & Energy Practice with Fourth Hire from Kim & Chang This Year

Big Six South Korean law firm has hired four project finance lawyers from Kim & Chang, Korea’s largest law firm, in an effort to further strengthen its projects and energy practice.

Dentons Lands CIMB Bank’s Head of Legal as a Partner in Hong Kong

Dentons bolstered its banking and finance, capital markets and corporate finance capabilities with the hire of Nicholas Chua as a partner in Hong Kong. Dentons deepened its bench in Asia in recent months with the hire of a senior foreign attorney from Shin & Kim and a senior Korean attorney from Korea Reinsurance Co. in March.

Australian Firm JWS Takes Disputes Partner From Baker McKenzie

Aleisa Crepin joins Johnson Winter Slattery in Brisbane, the third addition to that office this year.

The Americas

Cravath, Facing Fierce Competition, Builds Out DC Office With Top Government Hires

Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s latest lawyer addition—Jeffrey Rosen, former acting U.S. attorney general—highlights the law firm’s emphasis on hires with top government experience to fill out its Washington, D.C., office, bolstering its pitch to institutional clients to handle their regulatory work.

Former Insurance Company In-House Counsel to Lead BLG’s Insurance Team

Partner Rick Da Costa joins the firm’s financial services group in Toronto.

Baker McKenzie Hires Another Latin America-Focused Partner in New York

Steven Sandretto leaves Greenberg Traurig to rejoin former long-time colleagues including Michael Fitzgerald, who recently moved from Paul Hastings.

Wilson Sonsini Snags Cooley Life Sciences Partner

Karen Deschaine, a corporate life sciences lawyer who has spent her entire career at Cooley, joined Wilson Sonsini in San Diego.

Grant & Eisenhofer Hires Philadelphia Attorney for Wilmington Office

Grant & Eisenhofer announced that Elizabeth A. Bailey has joined the Wilmington office of the firm as of counsel. Bailey focuses her practice on complex and mass tort litigation as well as catastrophic injury litigation.

Weber Gallagher Adds Delaware Partner

Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby announced that the firm added a 15-year veteran as a partner to its bench of attorneys in Delaware: Loren R. Barron. Barron handles matters involving torts, corporate and contract disputes.

Holland & Knight Grows Health Care Practice With 3 Dentons Partners

Summer Martin, who led Dentons’ U.S. health care M&A team, and Rebecca Merrill joined Holland & Knight’s Atlanta office, while Susan Banks joined the firm’s Denver office last week, said Brent Hill, leader of Holland & Knight’s health care and life sciences section. All three are focused on how health care systems grow and navigate the regulatory environment.

Simpson Thacher Adds 2 Partners From SVB Capital, Blackstone

The partner lateral market has been fairly active, but Simpson Thacher has taken its latest two partners from outside the Big Law sphere. Jennifer Albrecht, who was an associate at Simpson Thacher until 2017 and was most recently the deputy general counsel for SVB Capital, joins the firm’s alternative capital and private credit practice in New York. Angus Lennox, most recently a managing director in Blackstone’s European real estate business, will join the firm’s real estate team and will be based in London.

Paul Hastings Hires Milbank White-Collar Partner as Enforcement Actions Rise on Both Coasts

Adam Fee, a white-collar lawyer who represented Binance in recent SEC litigation, has joined Paul Hastings in Los Angeles.

Citadel Hires 2 Top Lawyers Away From Goldman Sachs

The exits come at a time the venerable investment bank, long known for its stability, already was rattling Wall Street with an exodus of partners.

O’Melveny Grabs 2 Trial Partners from Baker Botts in Houston

O’Melveny & Myers, which is aggressively hiring in Texas, hired two first-chair trial partners from Baker Botts to launch a litigation practice in Houston. Baker Botts trial partners Travis Sales and John Anaipakos joined O’Melveny & Myers as partners in Houston.

McDermott Lures Cahill Antitrust Practice Head in Boost to Regulatory Group

Elai Katz, who had been at Cahill for almost 27 years, is at least the third practice leader to depart the firm in 2023.

Bracewell Gains 2 Energy Transactions Partners From Stroock

Partner Brian Rogers co-chaired Stroock’s debt finance practice while partner Scott Le Bouef, a commodities and derivatives lawyer, worked at the firm for 25 years.

DLA Piper Picks Up 2 Shearman Emerging Growth Partners in Austin

DLA Piper, which has more than 200 lawyers in its emerging growth and venture capital practice, continues to expand it in Texas and nationwide. Shearman & Sterling partners Alan Bickerstaff and Cassandra Cuellar have joined DLA Piper as partner in Austin.


Audubon Society Fills GC Slot After Longtime Legal Chief’s Quiet Exit Amid Renaming Controversy

Veteran environmental attorney Charlotte Young is taking the legal reins from Lorraine Sciarra, who stepped down in March, the same month the organization announced it would keep the “Audubon” name despite namesake John James Audubon’s racist views.

Longtime Interim GC of Fastly Scores Job on Permanent Basis

Karen Greenstein, a former lawyer at Viacom and NBCUniversal, will oversee Fastly’s 16-person legal department.

Ex-NCAA, LPGA Legal Leader Becomes GC of Trail Blazers

The NBA franchise has plucked Zandria Conyers from the NCAA, where spent a decade, rising to deputy general counsel.

Norfolk Southern, Swamped by Lawsuits, Hires Tesla Litigator as GC

Nate Smith has joined Norfolk Southern as a general counsel specializing in litigation. The railroad operator is adding to its litigation firepower six months after a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, sparked a deluge of lawsuits as well as scrutiny of its business practices and safety record.

Huntington Bank Hands Legal Reins From One Bank of America Alum to Another

Marcy Hingst is giving up her 16-year career at Bank of America to become general counsel of regional banking giant Huntington, the nation’s 22nd-largest financial institution.

Ex-Twitter GC Sean Edgett Takes Legal Reins of Unicorn That Produces ‘No Kill’ Meat

Edgett will serve as chief legal officer of the eight-year-old company, which recently received FDA approval to sell its lab-cultivated chicken across the U.S.

Moody’s Changing Out GCs for First Time Since 2000

Richard Steele is the new general counsel of Moody’s Corp. The prominent ratings agency is sticking with stability, hiring a 17-year company veteran to succeed an exec who is retiring after 23 years as legal chief.

Promotions & Appointments:

Holland & Knight Creates Chief Knowledge & Innovation Officer Role as Legal Tech Explodes

“It’s an absolute growing field, and particularly over the last few years, firms that traditionally have not had this role are now upgrading it,” said Glenn LaForce, who comes to the firm from Shearman & Sterling.

Litify Announces New CEO Following Ownership Changes Earlier This Year

Curtis Brewer joins Litify from business management software provider Davisware, where he served as CEO.

Osler Names Toronto M&A Partner as New Firm Co-Chair

The Canadian firm has also brought on new partners in real estate and IP. Toronto-based Emmanuel (Manny) Pressman is the new co-chair of the firm succeeding Shahir Guindi, who was in the post for six years.

Norton Rose South Africa Appoints New CEO

Brent Botha will take up the role in October and currently heads the firm’s disputes practice group.

Mergers & Alliances:

Continuing to Beef Up Existing Offices, Clark Hill Laps Up LA Boutique

Clark Hill’s Los Angeles office gains a team of 10 lawyers in a combination with the 65-year-old boutique Barton Klugman & Oetting.

Saul Ewing Launches in Southern California Via Merger With Freeman Freeman & Smiley

In a move firm leadership called “imperative for clients,” Saul Ewing gained offices in Los Angeles and Orange County, combining with 100 legal professionals, including 50 attorneys, from Freeman Freeman & Smiley.

Alt Legal Acquires TM Cloud’s Docketing System, Accelerating Global Expansion

In its fourth acquisition, IP and Trademark cloud docketing provider Alt Legal absorbed TM Cloud’s docketing system, attracted by its international customer base.

Stroock Partnership, Seeking to Remove a ‘Major Obstacle’ to Merger, Authorizes Pension Buyout

“A vote of the retired partners is in progress. We are optimistic about its success,” said firm co-chair Alan Klinger.

Office Openings & Closing:

Dickinson Wright Adds 20th Office With Formerly Remote Lawyers in Denver

The firm is starting with four partners and one associate, and it hopes to grow to 25 to 50 lawyers in Denver in the next year.

Heritage Foundation Legal Chief Departing to Open DC Office for Religion-Focused Law Firm

Nelson Madden Black partner Barry Black said the addition of Chris Byrnes “brings a whole new level of organizational advocacy to our firm as well as a wide network of contacts in Washington, D.C., and throughout the nation.”

Moving into Southeast Asia: Regional Firms Launch New Offices

Vientiane, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are just a few of the cities where Asia-based firms have set up shop.

Schnader Harrison to Cease Operations

Firm partner and general counsel Keith Whitson said it will be “dissolving and winding up its affairs,” but did not give a date for when the nearly 90-year-old firm will close its doors.

Tucker Ellis Expands Calif. Footprint With New Office, Absorbing Six-Attorney Litigation Shop

The Am Law 200 firm is adding its eighth office via a merger with Connor, Fletcher & Hedenkamp, based in Orange County.

US Litigation Boutique Shutters in London After a Decade

The move follows the exits of two teams in London over recent weeks. U.S. boutique firm Constantine Cannon has closed its London office, meaning the firm now only has American offices.

DAC Beachcroft Launches in Argentina with Double Hire

The new launch means the firm now has a Latin American presence in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, as well as an office in Miami.

Chinese Legal Market Busy with Lateral Partner Moves, AllBright Sets Up in Kunming

Shanghai-based AllBright Law Offices has also bolstered its local capabilities by setting up a new office in Kunming to seize opportunities presented by China’s Belt and Road Initiative.


Clyde & Co Sees Merger-Fueled Revenue Boost as PEP Stalls

The results detail the firm’s first full financial year since its merger with BLM. Revenue at the U.K. law firm increased by 20% to reach £788.6 million in the year ending April 2023, largely as a result of its ambitious merger with U.K. top 50 firm BLM.

Dentons UKIME Arm Posts Modest Growth with 2% Revenue Uplift

£38 million of revenue came from inbound work outside the UKIME region, an 8.6% increase.

Bird & Bird Continues Growth with Double-Digit Revenue

The firm has added 11% to its top line while profit growth has eased.

Addleshaws Bucks Trend and Enjoys Double Digit Revenue and Profit Boost

The firm enjoyed an 18% increase in revenue.

Stewarts Suffers 55% PEP Drop, Reversing Last Year’s Fortunes

The managing partner pointed to his firm’s ‘non-linear’ revenue, and said the firm still had ‘good core income’.

Technology & Innovation:

Big Law, Nixing ChatGPT for Legal Work, Seeks Secure AI Solution

“Generative AI can be like an overeager intern who wants to make you happy,” said Kate Orr, global head of practice innovation at Orrick.

‘Bogus’ Cases and Confidential Data: How Artificial Intelligence Tests Legal Ethics

While the use of AI for writing may enhance creative analysis and identification of persuasive precedents, such use may also violate legal ethics rules, including the duty of competence, the duty of confidentiality and assisting in the unauthorized practice of law.

Many Aren’t Comfortable With Legal Using Generative AI. But That Could Soon Change

While there are some use cases that consumers feel comfortable with the legal industry leveraging generative AI for, a new survey from DISCO found that about a third of respondents said they’re against any use of the tech in legal.

Legal Tech Rundown: Exterro Partnership, Nextpoint Investment, Filevine University Launch, and More

An update on the legal tech market’s past few weeks, from product launches to new partnerships.

Southeast E-Discovery Leaders Say Generative AI Needs More Development for Their Use

Both Kilpatrick Townsend and Maynard Nexsen e-discovery team leaders said they do not incorporate generative AI into their operations.

Law Firms’ M&A Technology Spending Likely to Rise, As AI Becomes More Vital

Though M&A deal volume is dropping, investment in M&A technology is growing, according to Litera’s “Technology in M&A Report: AI, Tech Adoption, and Talent Management in the US and Canada.”

Diversity & Inclusion:

Ahead of the Curve: Assessing the Diversity of U.S. Law Deans After a Flurry of Leadership Changes

Welcome back to Ahead of the Curve. I’m Christine Charnosky, legal education reporter for Law.com, and I’ll be your host for this week’s look…

Ranked: The Top UK Law Firms for Partner Disability Representation, 2023

Law.com research shows that representation at partnership level is massively behind the national average, with some disabled lawyers calling current firm efforts “insufficient” and little more than a PR exercise.

Market Commentary:

Rise of Private Credit Has Been a Boon to Big Law

The shift in market players has created “winners and losers,” Debevoise’s Jeff Ross. The rapid expansion of the private credit deal market has led law firms to stock up on talent in the area, and it’s creating what some lawyers are saying are “winners and losers” in the shifting market.

Armstrong Teasdale Lets Go of 24 Staff, 11 Lawyers

Firm leaders said the staff reduction comes amid an effort to streamline the firm’s operations, while the lawyer reductions come after a review of productivity and performance.

Associate Lateral Moves Remain Depressed Even as Partner Moves Bounce Back

U.S. lateral moves were down 41% in the second quarter, though most of the impact was at the associate level. If partner hiring is a leading indicator, firms may already be bouncing back from a quieter period at the start of the year, according to newly released data.

Hiring a ‘Job Hopper’

In this article, I share my guidance for legal departments considering candidates with a lot of movement.

South America Sees M&A Surge in July

The region, which is chock-full of family-run companies and increasingly teeming with new technologies, has become fertile ground for private equity and other growth investors.

Katten Lays Off Lawyers and Staff While Deferring Some Associates

“The decision reflects the reality of the business environment in which we find ourselves,” the firm said.

Big Law Turns to Lawyers With IP Experience for Tech Practice Hires

Clifford Chance and Dentons have both recruited tech practice lawyers with strong IP backgrounds.

Mid-Year 2023 Check-In: Top Risk and Compliance Challenges

Corporate risk and compliance teams play an instrumental role in helping their organizations navigate crises and disruptions. Here’s what to keep top of mind in the next six months.

‘Lawyer Mindset’ at Odds With Succession Planning Best Practices

“It’s really hard to get law firms to embrace long-term planning because there’s a high sense of urgency for the immediate,” said Angela Sebastian, the former CEO of Chicago’s Levenfeld Pearlstein.

Reforming Regulatory Review: Environmental Lawyers Take Note

While clearly important to environmental lawyers focused on the development and administration of environmental regulations, the recent changes apply broadly across the larger regulatory landscape.

How to Financially Plan for a Job Change

If you are considering a job opportunity outside of Big Law, you may be questioning whether the new salary can support your current lifestyle. There are practical steps that you can take to ensure that (1) you will feel confident enough to step away from your current position and (2) you won’t need to come back because you cannot afford your lifestyle. In other words, how can you remove the infamous “golden handcuffs”?

New Hong Kong Listing Rules Eliminate Need to Disclose China-related Risks

In other recent listing rules changes, the HKEX also set a lower threshold for advanced technology companies including those in artificial intelligence and semiconductors to list on the exchange.

Layoff Season Winds Down as Law Firms Firms Prepare for Demand Uptick

Cuts at Katten Muchin Rosenman and Armstrong Teasdale don’t reflect rebounding demand for transactional attorneys, recruiters said.

Countercyclical Work Elevates Most of Legal Industry in Q2

Overall demand at midsize firms was up 3.7%, while Am Law 100 (0.3%) and Second Hundred (0.2%) firms are still below 1%.

Dentons, Clifford Chance and Others in Big Law Turn to Lawyers With IP Backgrounds to Expand Tech Practices

Dentons has hired Steptoe & Johnson’s former managing partner in Beijing. He will serve as head of Dentons’ China IP litigation team. Clifford Chance has hired a Ropes & Gray partner with experience advising clients in intellectual property matters. The firm says it has three other tech lawyers joining in coming weeks.

So You Think August is the Month of Rest? Not for US Law Firms

Kirkland & Ellis, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and other U.S. firms have been making some bold moves in the U.K. Could they be setting a new tone in the London legal market?

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