Weekly Update – 11th of December 2023


UK & Ireland

Slaughter and May Senior Partner Steve Cooke to Take Up PR Role at Brunswick

It is the most recent example of a high-profile corporate lawyer pivoting to public relations ahead of retirement.

One In One Out for Willkie, Amid Year-End UK Hiring Rush

The firm has hired Latham’s former global vice chair of restructuring but lost a banking partner, a former rugby player, to Skadden Arps. Skadden has added leveraged finance specialist Sebastian FitzGerald as a partner in its banking group, the firm said.


Bowmans Takes Banking and Finance Partner from DLA Piper in Johannesburg

Pride Jani was a director for the last five years of the seven years he was with DLA Piper.

Jones Day Takes a Finance Partner in Paris From Orrick

The partner hire is a strategic move as both firms, along with others, are building their capabilities in energy and infrastructure projects in France.

CEE Firm Schoenherr Adds 23-Lawyer Team in Poland

The expansion by the Austria-based firm is a bet on continued growth in the Polish economy, which has attracted investors and law firms in recent years.

BCLP to Launch Luxembourg Desk in Paris Office With A&O Hire

The firm is joining others in establishing a presence in the European center of investment funds and their regulation.


Shook Lin & Bok Takes Four Lawyers from Withers in Singapore

Kenneth Szeto moves over with senior associate John Tan joining the partnership.

Two More Clyde & Co Australian Partners Defect, Join Local Firm

Marcus O’Brien and Jacinta Long join Meridian Lawyers.

HFW Poaches Baker McKenzie Climate Lawyer in Sydney

Ruth Dawes latest hire as HFW continues to expand.

The Americas

Sidley Hires A&O’s Los Angeles Head to Further Bolster Energy Practice

Andrea Lucan, who was LA office managing partner for Allen & Overy, joins roughly one month after Greg Lavigne, another A&O alternative energy alum, joined Sidley in New York.

Spanish Firms Cuatrecasas, ECIJA Recruit More Partners in Latin America

Cuatrecasas has hired an M&A veteran from a top Chilean law firm in Santiago and a regional tax leader from EY in Bogotá, while ECIJA has added a labor and employment partner who will lead that practice in Mexico City.

Moving to Diversify Practices, Cahill Adds M&A, Corporate Advisory Partners From Stroock

“Ultimately, as part of our strategy moving forward, the firm wants to diversify,” said incoming co-chair Herb Washer. “Diversify the client base, the practices, areas of expertise.”

Sidley Adds ‘Another Dimension’ to Energy Practice With Arrival of A&O LA Leader

Andrea Lucan, who was LA office managing partner for Allen & Overy, joins roughly one month after Greg Lavigne, another A&O alternative energy alum, joined Sidley in New York.

Nelson Mullins Gains 7-Lawyer Group From Lathrop, Further Boosting Product Liability Team

The firm gains lawyers in Texas and California, but “probably more important than the geographic location is the skill set that [Robert Thackston] brings as a lawyer of last resort, first-chair trial lawyer,” said firm leader Jim Lehman.

A&O Sees Another LA Partner Exit, as Kirkland Adds to PE Bench

Josh Birenbaum’s departure was the second partner move from A&O in LA announced Monday, with Sidley touting the addition of former A&O office managing partner Andrea Lucan.

Two Veteran DOJ Lawyers Depart for K&L, as Firm Seeks to Boost Government Practices

They are the latest attorney departures from the federal agency ahead of a presidential election year.

Sheppard Mullin Lands Two Real Estate Finance Attorneys From Stroock

“Having been forced into a move, we wanted to be very thoughtful about the next place we went to,” said Lorie Soares Lazarus, a new Sheppard Mullin partner.

As Big Law Consolidation Heats Up, Husch Blackwell Adds IP Boutique Lawyers

The IP boutique “brings a really strong medical device IP practice, which allows us to deliver more for our healthcare and life sciences type of clients,” said Paul Eberle, Husch’s chief executive officer.


Volvo to Switch Gears in Legal with New General Counsel

Helen Hu is taking the legal reins of the automaker, succeeding Maria Hemberg, whom Hu calls her mentor.

KPMG UK General Counsel to Step Down

The move comes after KPMG’s UK arm settled a long-running dispute that followed the collapse of contracting company Carillion.

Gas Company Parts Ways With GC, Hires Visa Veteran as Successor

CNX is providing a severance package to Alexander Reyes, who is stepping aside after 16 years with the company. His replacement is Timothy Bedard.

After Bruising Year, Vice Media Picks Insider for GC Role

Jason Guberman is sliding into the GC’s seat as the company, now with slimmed-down ambitions, fights for profitability.

Macy’s Taps Retail Star to Helm Legal Department

The retail giant’s incoming CEO, Tony Spring, said new legal chief Tracy Preston has “a track record of aligning legal and risk mitigation approaches with business objectives and brand missions.”

GC Who’s Built Career on Disruption Jumps Aboard Grammarly

Newly hired legal chief Jennifer Miller “will help us navigate business risks with precision, especially in areas like AI and privacy regulations,” CEO Rahul Roy-Chowdhury said.

Promotions & Appointments:

Linklaters Names Singapore Partner as India Head

Various law firms are attempting to service India-related work from Singapore as they seek to win work in the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Stephenson Harwood Elects First New Senior Partner in 12 Years

According to a source, the winner overcame a contested election. Paul Thwaite has been elected as the new senior partner. Paul succeeds Roland Foord, who steps down after 12 years in the role at the end of April 2024.

Boies Schiller Flexner Names Matthew Schwartz as Chair-Elect

Schwartz, who has served as co-managing partner of the firm for three years, will replace David Boies starting in 2025.

Norton Rose Appoints Emerging Technologies Partner as San Francisco Partner-in-Charge

Jason Novak, the firm’s new partner-in-charge in San Francisco, will oversee the office’s transition into a new workspace.

Squire Patton Boggs Elevates Miami-Based Partner to Serve on Global Board

“The next four years are about the betterment of the firm and using my abilities and what I bring to the table to help the firm and continue the upward trajectory of the firm and its strategic vision,” litigator Digna French said.

Citing Health-Related Reasons, Proskauer’s Chair to Step Down

Proskauer will have an election to fill Steven Ellis’ position in January, with the newly elected chair taking the reins in April 2024, according to managing partner Daryn Grossman.

New Arnall Golden Gregory Leader Looking to Build on Predecessor’s Work

Jonathan Eady will transition to serve as the firm’s chairman, succeeding Glenn Hendrix.

Mergers & Alliances:

How Nelson Mullins Got Ahead of Miami’s Boom by Moving in Via Merger

“By virtue of that combination, Nelson Mullins had connectivity throughout the state immediately, had productive lawyers producing and a profitable day one,” said Miami partner John Haley.

Salt Lake Sees More Big Law Interest, as Spencer Fane Enters Through Merger

“We do not have a business plan or profit formula that requires the four-figure rates that some of the other firms entering that market are probably expecting,” chair Pat Whalen said.

Office Openings & Closing:

Winston & Strawn Becomes Latest to Close in Hong Kong

The firm follows several others in closing offices in Asia in 2023, amid a slow transactional market and numerous political tensions.

EY’s Hong Kong Law Practice to Shutter in January 2024

There are four lawyers at LC Lawyers. None will remain within the EY network.

China’s Tahota Law Firm Grows with Laos Office Launch

The firm intends to continue its expansion overseas.


Year-End Bonuses Top $300K for Several Boies Schiller Associates

The litigation shop’s formula compensation system rewards associates for originating clients and contributing to contingency cases.

2024 to Upend the Salary Applecart

The recent drama involving OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Microsoft caught my attention not only for the entertaining corporate governance drama…it also got me thinking about compensation.

Will the Economic Crunch Give Alternative Fee Arrangements a Needed Nudge?

Maybe, just maybe, this interest rate-driven crunch will be the nudge that finally gives clients and firms the incentive to increase the adoption of alternative fee arrangements.

Trial Firms Starting to Match or Exceed Big Law Salary, Bonus Scales for Associates

Litigation boutiques and other small firms compete for the same top law students as Big Law, so they are likely to move to the new, higher market salary and bonus scales for associates.

Full Circle: Milbank Matches Latest Associate Pay Scale

Milbank’s mid and senior associates are getting another pay raise.

Why Elite Trial Firms Compete in the Associate Salary and Bonus Game

A whole host of trial-centric firms have met or exceeded the Big Law scale set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Here’s a look at how and why.

On Top of Matching Pay Raises, Arnold & Porter Offers Higher Bonuses for High-Performers

Associates who billed 2,400-2,499 hours will receive an additional 10% bonus, while the firm will pay more for those who bill higher.

Seven Key Metrics to Evaluate Spend on Outside Counsel

Gartner experts have prepared seven example metrics that legal leaders can use to inform their external provider management and align it with their organization’s overall strategy. The following examples provide a framework for assessing needs and working with vendors and/or internal teams to build similar reports.

Technology & Innovation:

Europe Grows Its Own AI Legal Tech

Jimini AI, which is based on European law, is currently being tested by leading law firms in France, including Gide Loyrette Nouel, and by in-house legal departments, including the French logistics company CMA CGM.

Enough Is Enough: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Tech for Firms?

Smokeball’s 2024 State of Law Report found that firms’ adoption of artificial intelligence will likely depend on their size, use cases and practice areas.

California’s Draft AI Rules Offer Protections for Consumers, More Questions for Businesses

“I think we expected the large rubrics,” said Shannon Yavorsky, head of Orrick’s global cyber privacy and data innovation practice. “What I didn’t expect was the level of detail around some of the carve-outs and the broad, broad definitions that are drawn in.”

As AI Disclosures Proliferate, Can Legal Agree on What AI Means?

Some worry that the biggest challenge with generative AI disclosures will be around how to craft a definition that accurately encapsulates the types of tools that parties have in mind, instead of a catch-all that casts too wide a net.

For Legal Tech Providers, How Easy Is It to Switch Generative AI Models?

Even for companies that have built in an architecture that allows them to switch out large language models, doing so is not always a straightforward, or quick, endeavour.

Diversity & Inclusion:

The Voice for Women in Law—Roberta Liebenberg, Fine Kaplan & Black

Roberta Liebenberg, one of The American Lawyer’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement honourees, has blazed a path not only in the antitrust bar, but for women attorneys everywhere.

Over 90 Law Firms Commit to Creating More Inclusive Profession for Lawyers with Disabilities

One in five U.S. workers identifies as having a disability, but lawyers currently self-identify at a rate of 1.4%, per Diversity Lab.

How Should Midsize Firms Navigate DEI Landmines?

DEI pushback and lawsuits have so far targeted the “lowest hanging fruit,” so tidying up policy language and reviewing organizational values can prepare firms for scrutiny.

Market Commentary:

Clients or Partners? Who Does a Big Law Merger Have to Please More?

Law firm strategy is driven by appealing to clients and partners, but one of those two components is ultimately more important than the other to make a merger successful, Hugh Simons and Kent Zimmerman explain in this piece.

Long Hours, Very Little Research: An Expert View on Law’s Wellbeing Problem

A wellbeing expert explains how the legal industry’s toxic mix of intense, long hours combined with a lack of research on its effects can lead to unethical decisions as well as other problems.

‘It Just Isn’t Worth My Time’ Say Slaughter and May Associates of Pro Bono

The associates say they work long hours just to do their regular work and that there’s no time for hours on pro bono.

From A&O Shearman to India: What We’ll Still Be Talking About in Five Years’ Time

The last 12 months have given the industry law firm collapses, splits, ransomware attacks and scandals, but the year will be remembered for other things, writes the Global Lawyer.

Competition Regimes on the Rise in Africa, Ambitious Authorities and the Struggle to ‘Keep Up’

While it is not without challenges, the proliferation of antitrust and competition laws across the continent bodes well for the business community and future investment in Africa, say lawyers.

‘Staggering’ Jump in Law Firms Planning to Expand Nonequity Partner Ranks

The average annual growth in income partner classes at some of the most profitable firms between 2017 and 2022 was 13.4%, while at other large, two-tier partner firms, it was 4%, according to a report this week.

‘Not A Rosy Outlook’: Law Firm Leaders Are Less Bullish Heading Into 2024

Even before some firms embraced associate salary increases, the legal industry appeared less optimistic heading into 2024 than they were going into 2023, according to a recent survey.

Workplace Terminations About to Spike—Tips Employers Should Consider Before Dismissing Workers

Historical statistics show that more layoffs and discharges occur in December and January than any other time of the year.

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