Weekly Update – 17th of July 2023


UK & Ireland

Goodwin Continues London Private Equity Expansion with McDermott Lateral

Arvin Abraham joins Goodwin having spent nearly three years as a partner at McDermott, where he held the roles of co-chair of the fintech and blockchain practice and was a member of the firm’s global venture capital steering committee.

DLA Piper Global Investigations and Compliance Head Joins Rival in London

Patrick Rappo is well known in the sector and had even been touted as a contender for the director role at the Serious Fraud Office.


Wolf Theiss Hires 27 Lawyers From Polish Firm

The CEE firm hailed the move as a major step for the firm’s target market in Poland as well as the wider region.

Baker McKenzie, Baker Botts Continue Middle East Expansion with Laterals

International law firms continue to steadily expand their presence in one of the commercial world’s fastest-growing regions. Abdulaziz Alajlan & Partners in association with Baker & McKenzie has hired a new regulatory partner based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Perez-Llorca Hires from Clifford Chance in Madrid

Spanish law firm Pérez-Llorca has brought on long-time Clifford Chance partner Yolanda Azanza to join its capital markets practice in Madrid. The appointment is part of Pérez-Llorca’s ‘Women in Corporate’ program, designed to increase the number of female partners in the corporate law practice.


Gilbert + Tobin Partner Karen Evans-Cullen to Stand In as PwC Australia General Counsel

Evans-Cullen’s move to PWC marks a return to the Big Four accounting firm two years after she left, saying the firm was unable to attract big deals from major clients.

Watson Farley Adds Former Pinsent Masons Disputes Partner in Singapore

Watson Farley & Williams has boosted its dispute resolution practice in Asia with the hire of construction and engineering disputes lawyer Boon Tat Yeo as a partner in Singapore. The hire comes about three months after the UK firm added Clifford Chance’s international arbitration counsel Nathan Eastwood as a partner in Sydney.

The Americas

Shook Hardy Hires Morrison & Foerster Trial Lawyer in San Francisco

Jessica Grant was drawn to the firm after working with its lawyers on five cases, and represents Phillip Morris, U.S. Bank and Snap Inc., among others.

Alston Lawyer Moves to Akerman

After four years at Alston & Bird, Carlos Encinas has moved his economic development-focused practice to Akerman, working in its Atlanta and Chicago offices.

Womble Bond Dickinson Lands 2nd California Boutique in July

Three partners from Gordinier Kang & Kim have joined Womble Bond, adding a core transactional practice and expanding on litigation services the firm offers in the Golden State.

Littler Mendelson Expands in Miami as Clients Seek Help Navigating Local Politics

“What is unique [in Florida] is that we do happen to have an extremely active state legislature. We have an extremely active gubernatorial administration so that, I daresay, is keeping employers on their toes,” said Littler Mendelson Miami office managing shareholder Lori Brown.

Lewis Brisbois Spinoff Sees 20-Attorney Departure to O’Hagan Meyer

The departures come after Daugherty Lordan lost its Pittsburgh office’s five-attorney labor and employment group to national firm Freeman Mathis & Gary earlier in the month.

Greenberg Traurig Trial Lawyer, Firm Leader, Jumps to King & Spalding in Houston

Greenberg Traurig trial partner and senior vice president Mary-Olga Lovett has moved to King & Spalding in Houston because of the firm’s litigation focus.

Pashman Stein Adds Delaware Partner

Pashman Stein Walder Hayden announced that William R. Firth III has joined the firm as partner in the litigation and bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights practices as of June 30.

Lewis Brisbois Trial Team Moves to Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in Dallas

Christopher White, the head of the Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith office in Dallas, was attracted to Steptoe & Johnson’s growth in Texas, particularly in the trial practice.

Big Law Partner Recruiting Picks Up Steam in DC

Paul Hastings, Baker Botts, Cleary Gottlieb, Wilkie, Proskauer, Boies Schiller, Mintz, and Barclay Damon all announced additions in their Washington, D.C., offices this week.

Wilson Sonsini Hires Former bioMérieux GC as In-House Leaders Navigate Budget Constraints

Meredith Krannich, the former general counsel at bioMérieux, joined the firm’s Executive Advisory Program in its Salt Lake City office.


GC-in-Waiting Takes Legal Reins at Northrop Grumman, Achieving Career Goal

Kathryn Gilchrist Simpson, who a decade ago said she aspired to be a defense-industry legal chief, is getting that opportunity at Northrop Grumman with the retirement of her boss, Sheila Cheston.

Outside GC for Rib Chain Tony Roma’s Jumps Into CEO Seat

“I am excited to bring a fresh perspective from outside the food industry to Romacorp,” Mohaimina Haque said.

AG Jennings’ Chief of Staff Joins Potter Anderson as Assistant GC, Risk Management Director

AJ Roop said he made the move to Potter Anderson to expand the scope of his legal work and is excited to work for a firm with a local and global reputation.

VantageScore Snags Former Visa Counsel for GC Role

Kimberly Schmid is taking the legal reins of a fintech whose rapid growth is shaking up the credit bureau industry.

GoHealth Legal Chief Jumps to Growth-Minded Provider of Mental Health Care

Brian Farley is taking the legal reins at Acadia Healthcare, which bills itself as the nation’s largest stand-alone behavioral health provider with 23,000 employees and 250 facilities.

Owner of Gigantic Tract of California Land Rehires Former GC

Tejon Ranch, which abruptly parted ways with its last legal chief last month, has rehired Michael Houston, snagging him from the nation’s largest municipal planning agency.

Promotions & Appointments:

Continuing Growth Ambitions, Crowell Names New C-Suite Leader in New York

Joseph Palermo, arriving from Lowenstein, is based in New York, as the D.C.-based firm seeks to grow its presence in the Big Apple. “The firm wants to continue to grow” in the market, he said.

Husch Adds Business-First CEO From Baker McKenzie

With Jamie Lawless as Husch Blackwell CEO, women will hold the top two positions at the firm.

Mergers & Alliances:

A&O, Shearman Leaders Embark on Merger Roadshow Ahead of October Vote

The two firms expect to implement a joint compensation system with no maximum cap on remuneration.

Office Openings & Closing:

Expansive Chinese Law Firm to Launch Office in Paris

Global 200 law firm Jingsh Law Offices has two other offices in Western Europe—one in London and the other in Düsseldorf. It also has offices in North America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

Closing of Two Law Firms Highlights Succession Planning Concerns

Attorneys, from junior associates to other firm partners, need to create backup plans well in advance of a rainmaker or founding partner retiring, experts say.

Philadelphia Law Firm Closes, Leading Partners to Jump to Larger Practice

Three lawyers are moving to Semanoff Ormsby after the closing of their prior firm, Dolchin Slotkin & Todd, which shuttered after a firm founder retired.

A Hoteling Success Story? A Look Inside Farella’s New San Francisco Office

The firm has doubled its office attendance from the same period a year ago without any mandated policies, according to a partner who helped steer the move.


UK Law Firm Revenues are Up But Profits are Down. Why?

A look at the reasons why this phenomenon is occurring in the early financial results suggests a rapidly rising challenge in balancing the books, The London Lawyer argues.

US Firm Strength Showcased in Inaugural UK Revenue Rankings

Law.com International launches the first ever ranking of the top 30 law firms in London, irrespective of where they are headquartered.

Simmons & Simmons Posts Double-Digit Growth as PEP Flatlines

The firm’s managing partner Jeremy Hoyland discussed the firm’s China focus and emphasised the importance of local U.S. firm relationships in maintaining its stateside business.

Why Are UK Law Firm Revenues Are Up While Profits Are Down?

A look at the reasons why this phenomenon is occurring in the early financial results suggests a rapidly rising challenge in balancing the books, The London Lawyer argues.

Allen & Overy Managing Partner Exits Ahead of Merger, as Revenue Surpasses £2 Billion

Gareth Price has stepped down ‘for personal reasons,’ the firm announced in its financial results, as the firm prepares to vote on its highly anticipated merger with Shearman & Sterling later this summer.

Technology & Innovation:

Many UK Legal Professionals Expect Generative AI to Change Nature of Client Relationships

The “Generative AI and the future of the legal profession” survey from LexisNexis found that in-house teams and large law firms in the U.K. are among the early adopters of generative AI tools.

AI Craves Content, and Thought Leaders Provide It

A discussion of the evolution of AI in the legal space and how AI-generated content is based on thought-leadership pieces.

Mastering AI Supervision: A Teachable Skill for Modern Lawyers

Whether you are a seasoned lawyer or a recent law graduate, this guide will arm you with the knowledge and practical strategies you need to adapt to the rapidly evolving AI landscape and champion responsible AI implementation.

Diversity & Inclusion:

The UK’s Top Law Firms for Racial Diversity, 2023

US law firms continue to outperform UK rivals, with the Law Society’s president pointing to a trend of minority lawyers quitting larger law firms due to a lack of progress.

Linklaters, Cleary Gottlieb Guide First Sustainable Bond With Gender Goals

As part of the deal, Chile has pledged to convince publicly traded companies to appoint women to at least 40% of their board seats by the end of 2031. It has also committed to getting its annual greenhouse gas emissions below certain targets by the end of 2030.

Women Taking More Partner Positions in Australian Firms, But Still Lag Men

35% of partner or principal positions held by women in Australia’s largest state.

Market Commentary:

A&O, Shearman Leaders Embark on Merger Roadshow Ahead of October Vote

The two firms expect to implement a joint compensation system with no maximum cap on remuneration.

Weil Gotshal to Require Four Days of Office Attendance

Weil is the third Am Law 50 New York law firm to require four days of attendance per week, following moves by Skadden and Davis Polk.

Extravagance in Asia: In Choosing Asia Over the US, What Is Mishcon’s Game Plan?

“Economic hegemony” is shifting toward Asia, says Mishcon executive chair Kevin Gold.

PwC Global Legal Head to Leave in Near Future, New Australian Leader Says

Australian general counsel Meredith Beatty also to leave. Global head of PwC’s legal services arm Tony O’Malley and the Big Four accounting firm’s Australian general counsel Meredith Beattie will shortly leave the firm.

King & Spalding, Alston and Troutman Move Up in M&A Legal Adviser Rankings

Justin Howard, co-leader of Alston & Bird’s M&A group, said the firm’s corporate practice remains active because it works with clients across a wide range of industries.

Anxiety-Inducing Reviews May Hinder Law Firms’ Training Efforts

With less work to go around, a lack of formal training, and a bad rep around performance reviews, firms are still navigating significant challenges around training.

Aggressive Billing Rate Hikes and Boosting Leverage Will Help ‘Static’ Law Firms

Positioning a law firm as a lower-cost alternative doesn’t appear to be bearing fruit for so-called static law firms, according to a new report.

For Staff in Big Law, Supporting Too Many Lawyers Can Be ‘Quickest Route to Burnout’

As lateral mobility has increased, law firms have placed additional pressures on business professionals, from human resources, marketing and those tasked with checking conflicts.

Law Firms’ Return to Office May Be Pushing Some Legal Tech Vendors to Follow Suit

Law firms are increasingly asking to meet their legal tech vendors in-person, precipitating a push to in-person work within legal technology companies—but only to an extent.

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