Weekly Update – 09th of October 2023


UK & Ireland

Cooley Hires Jenner & Block Global Arbitration Chair

Cooley’s London office has been given a significant boost with the addition of Jenner & Block’s international arbitration practice chair and former London head, Charlie Lightfoot. Lightfoot, who joins Cooley after eight years at fellow U.S. outfit Jenner & Block, was originally brought in by the U.S. litigation specialists in 2015 to launch and subsequently lead the new London office.

Clifford Chance Hits Latham Again, Relocates London Partner to Build NY Leveraged Finance Practice

The firm, which hires again from Latham in the space of a week, is making a concerted effort to strengthen its US leveraged finance group. Clifford Chance has added another Latham partner, less than one week after it hired an infrastructure duo in London, in a significant boost to its U.S. leveraged finance and capital markets capabilities. New York-based debt finance partner Jason C. Ewart is to join Clifford Chance’s U.S. leveraged finance team, alongside current CC partner Thomas Critchley, who relocates from the firm’s London office.

Latham Partner Exits for Covington in London

Earlier this year, Latham experienced two partner departures in the space of a week. David Berman joined Latham as a partner in 2017, having previously been head of financial services regulation at Macfarlanes.

Travers Smith Environment Head Walks to Freshfields

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired a partner to join its global ESG and sustainability practice in London, the firm announced on Thursday. Doug Bryden is set to join the firm from Travers Smith, where he spent more than 13 years as partner, most recently as head of its environment and operational regulatory practice, as well as co-heading the firm’s ESG and Impact group.


A&O Adds to Warsaw Disputes Team With Partner Hire from Bird & Bird

Adam Kowalczyk had practiced as a partner at Bird & Bird since 2018. Prior to that he was head of litigation, regulatory disputes, and white-collar crime at PwC Law in Warsaw, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Eversheds Swipes Corporate Partner from Freshfields in Saudi Arabia

Dhabaan & Partners, the associated firm with Eversheds Sutherland, has poached corporate partner Walid Salib as head of M&A in Saudi Arabia from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he spent nearly 13 years, latterly as head of its Saudi M&A practice. In recent years, several major firms have boosted their corporate M&A practices in the Kingdom.

Paul Hastings Taps Clifford Chance for Private Equity Partner in Frankfurt

He is the second partner to join from Clifford Chance in recent months. Gerd Hegele joins the firm after nearly a decade at Clifford Chance, where he was most recently a counsel, according to his LinkedIn profile.

DLA Piper, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Add Partners in Madrid

DLA Piper brings on a new capital markets head, while Gómez-Acebo & Pombo adds a competition and EU law partner from Cuatrecasas.


Greenberg Traurig Lands Senior Financial Regulatory Counsel From MoFo In Tokyo

Greenberg Traurig has expanded its banking and financial markets regulatory offering in Japan with the hire of Akihiro Wani, who was most recently a senior counselor at Morrison Foerster and a former joint managing partner of Linklaters in Tokyo, as a senior counsel. The latest lateral hire comes less than three months after the U.S. firm added Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Japan real estate practice head Yuko Ino.

Hong Kong Law Firm Lands Former Osborne Clarke Head

Hong Kong-based law firm Georgiou Payne Stewien has bolstered its corporate and commercial practice with the addition of a partner from Asia Pacific law firm FitzGerald Lawyers. John Koh was previously the managing partner of U.K.-headquartered Osborne Clarke’s Hong Kong office, and a Hong Kong-based partner at Bird & Bird.

Charles Russell Speechlys Hires Disputes Partner from Ince Hong Kong

The hiring of Stephen Chan follows that of Vanessa Duff, who joined the firm from Withers.

Baker McKenzie, Clayton Utz Add Real Estate Partners in Australia

Adam Peppinck joins Clayton Utz and Emily Peverill joins Baker.

Dentons Adds Planning Partner as Brisbane Prepares to Host Olympic Games

Mitchell Osborne has over 15 years of experience in environment and planning law, and is also a qualified town planner.

The Americas

Milbank, Continuing to Poach From Dechert, Adds Another Private Equity Partner

Paul Bennett IV has represented clients such as The Blackstone Group, Rockwood Holdings Inc. and Pantheon N.V.

Haynes and Boone Grabs Mexico City Finance Partner From Baker McKenzie

The hiring of Diego Sánchez complements recent promotions and a move into a new office in the Mexican capital as the Texas-founded Am Law 100 firm bets big on Mexico.

Big Law in DC Continues to Invest in Litigation Lateral Partners

Life sciences patent litigators Howard Levine and Jennifer Swan from Dechert have joined Hogan Lovells as partners in its regulatory and IP, media, and technology practice.

McDermott Expands Tax Team in Houston With Mayer Brown Partner

Shawn O’Brien, who joined McDermott Will & Emery on Monday as a partner in Houston in the tax practice group, had been global co-head of the tax-energy group.

Defying Convention, US-Based Mintz Levin Grows Again in Toronto

The addition of Anthony De Fazekas and Mervyn Allen means that, since March, the firm has brought its Canadian contingent to 24 lawyers.

Feldman Shepherd Lands 3 Laterals to Fortify Core Practices

Philadelphia Board of Education President Reginald Streater, formerly of Berger Montague, Daniel Klaproth of Murray, Stone & Wilson and Samuel Mukiibi of Grant & Eisenhofer will also continue their individual niches in civil rights and nursing home neglect cases.

Latham Adds Partner From Simpson Thacher Amid Demand for Tech Transactions Talent

Latham is the latest firm to enhance its bench to support technology-related transactions. Jessica Cohen, the firm’s new partner, regularly counsels on IP and tech-related M&A, spinoffs and other ventures.

Manatt Hires New York’s Leading Cannabis Regulator as the Industry Hits an Inflection Point

Axel Bernabe, who developed and implemented all the regulations for New York’s cannabis industry, has joined Manatt as a partner in New York.

With ‘Renewed Focus’ in Silicon Valley, Hogan Lovells Hires Paul Hastings Private Equity Partner

Todd Schwartz brings a new private equity capability to Hogan Lovells in Silicon Valley, as well as a restructuring practice that aligns with the firm’s broader California team.

Womble Bond Dickinson Hires 6-Attorney Team to Kickstart West Coast Mass Torts Practice

The products liability team includes partners Claire Weglarz, Macy Chan and Thomas Remillard in Los Angeles, and partner Mirna Scheffy in San Francisco, all of whom are arriving from Hawkins Parnell.


Chief Legal Officer Joins Exodus From Fallen Star Flexport

The supply-chain-software company Flexport—not long ago one of the nation’s hottest startups, with a valuation of $8 billion—has shed an estimated 80% of its value and is seeing an exodus of executives, including chief legal officer Chris Ferro.

Goodwin Hong Kong Partner Takes on GC Role at Healthcare Investor

Philip Culhane had previously spent two decades at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

4 Longtime Netflix Legal Execs Out in Restructuring

“Parting ways with these valued leaders—all of whom have been at the company for many years—is very hard,” chief legal officer David Hyman said in a statement to Law.com.

TfL Appoints Interim General Counsel After Retirement of Long-Time Legal Head

London’s governmental transportation body, TfL, has appointed an interim general counsel for the next 12 months following the retirement of its former long-time general counsel. Andrea Clarke has taken over the top legal job from Howard Carter, who is stepping away after 17 years in the role.

Promotions & Appointments:

Fried Frank Leadership Sees Structural Shifts

While the leadership structure is in line with a trend of law firms spreading out management duties, new leadership may lack the diversity of some Big Law peers, especially those with recent changes. Fried Frank named as its upcoming chair Kenneth Rosh, a longtime member of the firm and chair of its private equity funds group, a position he will maintain in addition to his role as chair. He succeeds longtime chair David Greenwald on March 1, 2024

Australia’s Slater & Gordon Takes On New CEO After Buyout

The firm was taken over by private equity investor Allegro earlier this year. Dina Tutungi, Slater & Gordon’s  chief client officer, will take over from current CEO John Sumerville when he retires in March next year.

Kirkland Crosses 200 in Latest Record Round of Partner Promotions

The new partner promotions represent about a 6% increase over last year’s 193, a relatively smaller addition than last year’s 28% jump.

Goodwin Promotes 40 to Partnership

Goodwin & Procter has promoted 40 lawyers to its partnership, a drop from last year’s record figure of 58, but still its second largest cohort on record. The majority of the promotions were concentrated at the Boston office, where the firm was first founded, which saw 15 lawyers make the cut. About a sixth of the promotions were at its Europe and Asia offices, with one in Munich, and one at the Paris, Singapore and Luxembourg.

Weil Refreshes London Leadership as Mike Francies Set to Retire

The London managing partner is set to retire at the end of 2024 after over 20 years at the helm. As Francies winds down his tenure, he will be joined in the leadership by private equity partner Jonathan Wood, and head of London M&A partner David Avery-Gee, who will both step up to co-managing partner, the person added.

Mergers & Alliances:

A&O Top Leader Will Take Charge If Shearman Merger Vote Approved

Allen & Overy’s current senior leadership will head the combined operation of A&O Shearman & Sterling, if the deal is approved. Senior partner Wim Dejonghe and managing partner Khalid Garousha will lead the newly combined firm in their current roles, according to several people with knowledge of the situation. Current Shearman senior partner Adam Hakki is expected to play a senior role in the new firm’s leadership, including sitting on its executive committee, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Midsize Firms Are Making Mergers Happen, Despite the Growing Odds

Rimon and Ligris & Associates are among the midsize firms that have completed mergers in the past week, finding commonality across culture and business objectives that set them up for the future.

CMS Incorporates Mexican Firm One Week After Inking Brazil Tie-Up

The addition of boutique firm Escalante y Asociados, which specializes in tax law, foreign trade and money laundering prevention, means five more lawyers, including one partner and a certified public accountant, are now part of CMS in Mexico.

Baker McKenzie Establishes Korea Joint Venture 10 Years After Office Launch

The global firm’s joint venture partner in Korea, KL Partners, specializes in international dispute resolution and corporate M&A.

Office Openings & Closing:

Quinn Emanuel Moves to Launch in Singapore, Says ‘Lots of Cases Veering That Way’

The firm’s two Asian office launches, taking place just months apart, are an indication of increased client demand and needs around complex, high profile commercial litigation and investigations in the region.

Bird & Bird Opens Office in Shenzhen, China

HFW and Morgan Lewis & Bockius have both established their own presence in the city in recent months.

Squire Patton Boggs Opens Office in Beirut

The move represents a bold step as Lebanon is still in the grip of a major political and economic crisis.

2 Former King & Spalding Lawyers Found Singapore Boutique

Several leading disputes lawyers have set out to lead their own practices in Singapore over the past two years.

Japan’s Biggest Law Firm Changes Management Structure With Aim to Compete Globally

Nishimura became the second Big Four Japanese law firm to adopt a foreign law joint enterprise structure, enabling it to hire and promote foreign-qualified lawyers as equity partners and attract the talent needed to expand its U.S. and European client base for Asia-bound work.

CMS’ Expansive Burst Continues with Saudi Launch

The firm’s new licence to practice in the Kingdom follows a feverish period of global expansion, with combinations and tie-ups in Mexico, Brazil and Mozambique.

Anderson Mori Doubles Down on European Market with Brussels Launch

Earlier in the year, the firm also announced new openings in London and Hanoi.


Stephenson Harwood’s Top Partners to Receive Up to £2M as Firm Increases Top of Equity by 40%

The move means the firm’s highest paid partners will receive towards the upper end of what UK Top 50 law firms tend to pay out, ahead of many other mid-market firms.

Optimism About Profitability Declines Among Law Firm Leaders

Law firms are emphasizing billing hygiene, conducting profit education and improving utilization levels to shore up profits by the end of 2023.

Inside Track: Is Long-Anticipated Recession Finally on Horizon?

In-house attorneys are embracing “a mindset of staying put and appreciating ‘the devil you know’ job security,” according to legal department recruiter Mike Evers.

Technology & Innovation:

3 Firms Become Latest to Formalize AI and Tech Offerings, Naming Leaders

Eversheds Sutherland, Bird & Bird and Baker Botts join a raft of firms that have introduced more structured approaches to non-traditional sectors that have grown exponentially over the course of 2023.

4 Catalysts That Have Solidified Law Firms’ Cloud Transitions

Law firms, as a whole, haven’t been keen on swift cloud adoption. But like implementation of many technologies, external factors have done much to twist legal’s arm.

Norton Rose, Hogan Lovells, Other Global Law Firms Join Gen AI Training Consortium

They are working with law firm training provider SkillBurst to develop materials that give legal professionals “the basics” on how to effectively use these emerging tools.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Less Than 1% of Law Firm Partners Are Latina, According to Data. Why Mentorship and Support Might Be a Key to Closing the Gap

“The issue that’s so egregious is that the number has only increased by about 0.5% in 15 years,” said Jill Lynch Cruz, a coach for young lawyers and researcher in career development for Latinas in law.

Mirroring MoFo, Perkins Coie Opens Diversity Fellowship to All Applicants

Edward Blum’s lawsuits against the two law firms were successful in opening diversity fellowships to all applicants, although firms are still asking for diversity of background and experience.

Bridging the Generational Gap of the Modern Legal Workplace

As the legal landscape continues to change shape and find its footing among its corporate counterparts, it’s essential that those of us in this environment work to remain competitive while expanding our identity to become more inclusive.

DEI Legal Pipelining: Understanding the Phrase ‘If You Can See It, You Can Be It’

Early and ongoing exposure to the legal profession is important given that attorneys often hold positions of influence in education, justice, legislation, business, regulations and global trade. The path begins early and starts with basic needs—particularly important in communities such as ours, where resources are lacking on so many levels: employment, housing, food security, and markedly personal safety.

A Push for More Progress: Increased Diversity in the Legal Profession

While diversity within the legal profession has improved over the last few years, progress has been slow, and law firm leadership must be further educated on the importance of diversity and inclusion so they will take greater steps toward enhancing diversity among leadership and increasing transparency of their firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion practices.

Market Commentary:

Paul Weiss Rockets Up Europe M&A Rankings, as Slaughters Slides in the UK

Only 3 of the top 15 law firms for European M&A in 2023 to date were firms founded in Europe.

Kirkland, Goodwin Lead League Tables as Global M&A Hits 10-Year Low

Davis Polk vaulted to No. 4 in the ranking of principal advisers in deal value, while Paul Weiss had the largest jump of the top five.

‘You’re Going to Hit a Wall’: Why Legal Wizards Aren’t Wise About Managing Stress

“This stuff about skipping lunch; I’m not going to stop—that has to go. We have to prioritize and make some decisions,” said Sheila Robinson-Kiss, CEO of Rebalancing America and Beyond.

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