Weekly Update – 12th of June 2023


UK & Ireland

Freshfields Makes Two Further Finance Lateral Hires

The additions in London and New York make it three finance partner arrivals in the same day for the firm. The firm has added a partner from Shearman & Sterling in London, and a partner from Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York, it announced on Wednesday.

One In, One Out For Fieldfisher as Firm Hires Former Travers Smith Partner

Sebstian Reger became the seventh partner to leave Travers Smith this year in April, although it was unclear at the time which firm he was heading to.

Freshfields Bolsters Leveraged Finance With Baker McKenzie UK Partner Hire

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has strengthened its leveraged finance practice with the hire of partner Haden Henderson, the firm announced on Wednesday. Henderson’s arrival marks the latest in a series of private equity and leveraged finance hires.

Freshfields’ Mark Austin Departs for Latham & Watkins

The ECM specialist had spent his career from traineeship to partner at Freshfields, spanning 22 years.


Paul Hastings Loses Paris Bankruptcy Team to Freshfields

The five-lawyer team is led by the same partner who joined Paul Hastings in 2020 to establish the firm’s insolvency practice in the French capital.

Major Defection to Clyde & Co Rocks PwC Legal Middle East

The 13-lawyer hire is thought to be among the biggest team moves ever to take place in the Middle East.


Clifford Chance Grows Antitrust Team with Sydney Partner Hire

Clifford Chance has hired partner Elizabeth Richmond from Australian firm Clayton Utz for its antitrust team in Sydney.

Linklaters Hires Hong Kong Regulator SFC’s Takeovers Team Head

A former Slaughter and May partner, Roger Cheng was involved in the launch of the SFC’s special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) regime in 2021.

K&L Gates Lands BCLP Tokyo Finance Partner

Former Ashurst Tokyo managing partner Dominic Gregory has returned to Japan to join K&L Gates from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

Deloitte Legal Singapore Member Firm Builds IP Practice With Withers Partner Hire

Sabara Law, a member firm of Deloitte Legal in Singapore, has added intellectual property to its practice by hiring intellectual property lawyer Gretchen Su as a director from Withers KhattarWong, where she was most recently a partner. The move follows a number of lateral hires by Withers for its Asian regional offices in the past year.

The Americas

‘A Sensational Offering’: Cooley Hires 3 IP Litigators From Fish & Richardson

“These are elite first-chair litigators who specialize in life sciences patent disputes, and we’re combining them with a best-in-class life sciences practice,” said Cooley’s Michael Attanasio.

Former Dallas Judge Joins Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright announced that trial lawyer Kristina Williams, who previously served as a Texas state district court judge, has joined its Dallas office as senior counsel.

Holland & Knight Adds Former Energy Dept Lawyer, As Law Firms See Demand in Clean Energy

Holland & Knight is the latest law firm to grow its regulatory infrastructure bench, with the firm on Monday announcing that it had hired Ken Cestari, a former deputy chief counsel of the Loan Programs Office of the U.S. Energy Department.

Garrigues Recruits Tax Partner, Ignacio Campino, in Chile as Government Seeks to Raise Revenue

Wealthy Chileans have shuttled an estimated $50 billion out of the country since civil unrest erupted in 2019 and brought calls for heavier taxes on the rich. But some of that capital is trickling back.

Ready for Another Chapter, Ninth Circuit Judge Joins Wilson Sonsini

Former U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford has joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Los Angeles after 11 years on the bench.

Shearman IP Litigator Jumps to Gibson Dunn

Kieran Kieckhefer is the sixth technology-focused litigation partner to join Gibson Dunn in Northern California since 2021.

Paul Weiss Picks Up Morgan Stanley Global M&A Chair

Robert Kindler, global chair of mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley, is leaving the bank to join Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as a partner who will chair its M&A practice, the law firm said Tuesday.

Reed Smith Expands Life Sciences Practice With Manatt Partner-Counsel Duo

Reed Smith has added Brian Bewley and Kaitlyn Dunn to its roster amid rising regulatory scrutiny in the health care and life sciences space.

Freshfields Strengthens New York Finance Group

The Perkins Coie addition, David Sewell marks the firm’s fourth finance practice hire in two days amid a busy week.

Morgan Lewis Hires 5-Lawyer Labour-Management Relations Team

The team is led by partner Adam Abrahms, a member of the board of directors and the co-chair of the labor management relations practice at Epstein Becker. Abrahms is joined by of counsel Elizabeth Bright and associates Maria Arroyo, Neresa De Biasi and Juan Larios, all of whom are based in Century City.

Simpson Hires Partners From Latham, Paul Weiss to Lead Private Credit Practice

Tracey Zaccone was head of the hybrid capital practice and co-head of the special situations practice at Paul Weiss. David Teh had been at Latham for almost two decades.

Squire Patton Boggs Adds Corporate Finance Lawyer in Atlanta From Reed Smith

Andrea Dinamarco, who was previously a corporate counsel at Tesla, said her clients are moving with her.

Dentons Hires Litigation Partner, Two Associates in Nicaragua

The additions complement an already robust team across six countries in Central America, where Dentons has one of the most comprehensive offerings in a scattered legal market. Litigation partner Elvis Martínez joins in Managua from Munguía Vidaurre Law, a small firm where he was managing partner. He brings with him tax associate María José Mendoza and corporate associate Ana Belén Tiffer.

Fasken Nabs Venture Tech and Emerging Growth Partner in Montreal From Dentons Canada

The former co-head of Dentons Canada’s technology, media and telecommunications group Scott Rozansky, has joined the Montreal office of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.

Jones Day Hires Government Regulation Counsel in Mexico City as Near-Shoring Activity Continues

Roberto Torres will help fill a void after the April departure of Jones Day’s government regulation team leader in Mexico, as the country fields a growing number of inquiries related to near-shoring.


Fast-Rising GC Exiting Unisys for Another Legal Chief Post

Claudius Sokenu joined the information services company Unisys in April 2022. Six months later, he got a big promotion. Now, he’s leaving to be legal chief at another company that is yet to be disclosed.

Chemical Giant Taps Senior Kimberly-Clark Lawyer as GC

Alexandra Colin is taking the legal reins of Univar Solutions as it moves to complete its $8.1 billion sale to private equity company Apollo.

Fast-Growing Fanatics Hires New Legal Chief After Reaching $31B Valuation

Gregg Winiarski is taking the legal reins of a retail business that has built a massive U.S. sports-merchandise presence and now is taking those ambitions overseas.

Rite Aid Taps 7-Time General Counsel to Help Execute Turnaround

Thomas Sabatino aims to help the pharmacy chain regain its footing after antitrust concerns scotched plans to sell the entire business to Walgreens.

FTSE 100 Giant Names Former Hogan Lovells Lawyer as General Counsel

FTSE 100 industrial technology company Smiths Group has appointed a former Hogan Lovells lawyer as its new general counsel. James Down replaces Mel Rowlands in the top legal role at the GC at the engineering company.

Promotions & Appointments:

Baker McKenzie Selects First Woman Partner to Lead Texas Offices

Michelle Hartmann, a Baker McKenzie litigator in Dallas, takes over on July 1 as the managing partner of the global firm’s Texas offices.

Herbert Smith Freehills Names Tokyo Partner as New Asia Head

Graeme Preston succeeds May Tai, who will continue to practice at the firm as a consultant focusing on her personal arbitral practice and other projects from September this year.

Holland & Knight Managing Partner Steven Sonberg To Step Down After 16 Years At Helm

Sonberg will be replaced by a trio of current partners. Robert Grammig, co-leader of the firm’s corporate, M&A and securities practice group, will serve as Holland & Knight’s chair and CEO. Meanwhile, David Whitestone, executive partner at the firm’s D.C. office, will serve as managing partner and Tiffani Lee, the firmwide diversity partner since 2008, will serve as deputy managing partner.

Dilworth Paxson Elects First Female Co-Managing Partner

Trusts and estates partner Kristen Behrens will join litigation partner Patrick Northen, who has been in the role for the past five years.

Arnold & Porter Fills C-Suite Slot With Veteran Firm Marketer, Consultant

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer hired Jeff Berardi, who has law firm and advisory firm experience in marketing, as its chief business development and marketing officer.

Brazil’s Mattos Filho Elects M&A Partner to Lead the Firm for 3 Years

Pedro Whitaker de Souza Dias, who joined the firm as an associate in 1999, will take on the managing partner role in April 2024.

White & Case Taps Miami-Based Partner to Lead Latin America Practice

The practice encompasses more than 300 lawyers, including dozens based in Mexico City and São Paulo. Christian Hansen, an asset finance partner who has spent his 30-year-plus career with White & Case at the firm’s offices in New York, Mexico City and Miami, will take over the role from Miami-based project finance partner Carlos Viana.

Mergers & Alliances:

Two Midsize Toronto Business Law Firms Combine in Latest Merger in Canada

The combination of Loopstra Nixon and Macdonald Sager creates a new entrant among the city’s 100-plus lawyer law firms and is the latest in a string of mergers involving regional and midsized firms across the country over the last year.

How A&O Shearman’s Global Office Network Would Look

Operating across almost 50 locations is no small feat for any organisation, let alone two merging entities. For Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling, a combination is set create one of the world’s most geographically comprehensive commercial law firms, with about 3,900 lawyers.

Office Openings & Closing:

Clifford Chance Hires from Latham for Houston Office Launch

The launch includes the addition of seven new partners to the firm and will be its third US operation. The launch involves the arrival of Houston-based Latham & Watkins partners Jonathan Castelan and Trevor Lavelle, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, as well as five other partner hires that have not yet been announced.

Clifford Chance’s Houston Debut Marks the Latest UK Entry into Texas

“We are trying to play our own game,” said Clifford Chance’s Sharis Pozen. “We are looking at where the talent is and where our clients are pointing us.”

Faegre Drinker Opens Its First Florida Office, Targeting Litigation Work

“This launch is a strategic move for Faegre Drinker,” Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath chair Gina Kastel said in a press release. “We already have strong relationships in the area, and now can better serve clients with needs in the rapidly expanding Southeast region.”

Brazil’s Gaia Silva Gaede Advogados Launches Office in Madrid

The new office, which is launching as a growing number of Brazilian law firms follow clients to Europe, will be run by a Brazilian lawyer who has collaborated for years with firms associated with Spain’s ECIJA.


Stephenson Harwood Offers Hope for UK Results Season With Strong Financials

The firm attributed its strong performance to its balance in practice areas, with dispute resolution bouncing back after a quieter couple of years.

Partner Pay Spread Condensed Across Big Law, as Head Count Rose and Profits Shrunk

Still, several Am Law 50 firms widened their spread of equity partner pay, including DLA Piper, Goodwin and McDermott.

Alston & Bird Deposes King & Spalding as Largest Atlanta Firm for Second Year

King & Spalding, which has seen its lawyer count in New York and D.C. mushroom, is “doing a very good job of keeping their rates up and keeping their attorneys very busy,” said a law firm recruiter.

As Kirkland Doubles Down in Salt Lake, Partner Billing Rates Soar in Region

Kirkland is now the third-largest law firm in Salt Lake, based on attorney head count last year.

The Law Firm Disrupted: Interest Rates are Hurting Law Firm Valuations

Hunton Andrews Kurth CFO Madhav Srinivasan calculated his annual figures for Am Law 100 valuations, finding that these firms as a whole dropped in value for the second straight year.

Technology & Innovation:

Artificial Intelligence: ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’

Since human intelligence is finite in this world by its nature, and retired Judge Joseph W. Bellacosa is counting on humanity to once again defeat tech artificial intelligence, just as the Enlightenment turned out to be not so enlightened.

Lawyers’ Trust in Generative AI May Be Overstated

Attorneys are embracing generative AI faster than they have other tech innovations. However, for some, a perception of the technology being reliable doesn’t necessarily translate into “trust.”

Tracking Generative AI: How Evolving AI Models Are Impacting Legal

A running compilation of how the legal landscape continues to be shaped by generative AI tools, from GPT technologies to art generation tools and beyond.

A New Dawn of Legal Technology

Lawyers have, quite simply, failed to step up and make the business case for investment in legal tech. With the next inflexion point in legal technology evolution, including artificial intelligence and smart contracts, fast arriving, is the legal function finally ready to embrace legal tech and unlock tangible business value?

Risks That Generative AI Poses to Trade Secret Protections

Concerns over possible AI-related data leaks raise the spectre of damaging public disclosure of valuable business secrets, while the mere disclosure of a business secret to a generative AI program may, absent proper protections, undermine or even cancel out efforts to safeguard that information legally as a trade secret.

The Human Connection: Why ChatGPT Can Never Replace Lawyers

If you’re not willing to put your life in the hands of a ChatGPT pilot or a ChatGPT surgeon, why would you be willing to put your life in the hands of a ChatGPT lawyer? I think ChatGPT can and will be useful to the legal industry. However, do I think it’ll replace the lawyers and attorneys in the legal industry? No, I do not.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Fisher & Phillips and Ogletree Are Leading Atlanta Law Firms in Diversity Ranking

Clients want to see law firms “walking the walk and not just talking the talk” on diversity efforts, said Liz Washko, managing director of Ogletree Deakins.

Market Commentary:

Australia-UK Trade Agreement Paves Way for Lawyers to Work in Both Countries

A separate free-trade agreement between New Zealand and the U.K. is expected to lead to a similar outcome between those two nations.

Cooley Delays Some First-Year Associates by Another Year, Reassigns Others as Corporate Slump Continues

The announcement comes just two months after the firm announced in April it would delay its entire incoming class to January 2024.

Where did the Am Law Second Hundred Grow its Headcount?

Firms in the Am Law Second Hundred increased attorney headcount by 2.6% in 2022, but diving deeper and looking at where they added headcount sheds some light on this cohort’s growth strategy.

Eckert Seamans Cuts Staff by 2%

The reductions are concentrated in the firm’s Pittsburgh and Philadelphia office, according to a spokesperson.

Barley Snyder Announces Launch of Liquor Practice

“Liquor law is a very specific, specialized area [of law] in Pennsylvania that very few lawyers know how to do,” said partner Derek Dissinger.

World Environment Day: The Challenges Facing Law Firms

Climate change is moving up the agenda of legal regulators worldwide and into the world of legal ethics, writes Iain Miller of Kingsley Napley.

Travers Announces Partner Promotions, Down By Half From Bumper 2022

Fellow U.K. top 50 firm Shoosmiths also announced its partner promotions, which were up from the last year.

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