UK & Ireland
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 brings on a new capital markets head, while Gómez-Acebo & Pombo adds a competition and EU law partner from Cuatrecasas.
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-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.
The hiring of Stephen Chan follows that of Vanessa Duff, who joined the firm from Withers.
Adam Peppinck joins Clayton Utz and Emily Peverill joins Baker.
Mitchell Osborne has over 15 years of experience in environment and planning law, and is also a qualified town planner.
Paul Bennett IV has represented clients such as The Blackstone Group, Rockwood Holdings Inc. and Pantheon N.V.
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.
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.
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.
The addition of Anthony De Fazekas and Mervyn Allen means that, since March, the firm has brought its Canadian contingent to 24 lawyers.
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 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.
Axel Bernabe, who developed and implemented all the regulations for New York’s cannabis industry, has joined Manatt as a partner in New York.
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.
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.
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.
Philip Culhane had previously spent two decades at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
“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.
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:
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
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.
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 & 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The global firm’s joint venture partner in Korea, KL Partners, specializes in international dispute resolution and corporate M&A.
Office Openings & Closing:
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.
HFW and Morgan Lewis & Bockius have both established their own presence in the city in recent months.
The move represents a bold step as Lebanon is still in the grip of a major political and economic crisis.
Several leading disputes lawyers have set out to lead their own practices in Singapore over the past two years.
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.
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.
Earlier in the year, the firm also announced new openings in London and Hanoi.
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.
Law firms are emphasizing billing hygiene, conducting profit education and improving utilization levels to shore up profits by the end of 2023.
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:
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.
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.
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:
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only 3 of the top 15 law firms for European M&A in 2023 to date were firms founded in Europe.
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.
“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.