Ukrainian Legal Developments:
Despite the Russia Sanctions hit, the UK legal industry’s turnover in March increased by 19% from February, as the industry continues to reap the rewards of a busy market.
A recent episode of a podcast hosted by Quinn Emanuel founder John B Quinn called ‘Law, disrupted’ revealed that the litigation powerhouse began building relationships via marketing trips from as early as 2013. Taking the initiative was Alex Gerbi, now co-managing partner of Quinn’s London office and one of the lawyers representing Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice pro bono in interstate proceedings against Russia for its breaches of human rights laws arising out of the invasion and ongoing war.
Cleary Gottlieb, Akin Gump, Baker Botts, and BCLP are among the firms that have started to relocate their Moscow offices
UK & Ireland
Baiju Vasani, former managing Partner for Ivanyan and Partner has joined Twenty Essex.
Helen Hopkin is set to become the director of global workforce strategy and implementation at HSF.
Paul Ferguson joins Addleshaw Goddards international disputes team from Ontier, where he was Head of litigation.
Angela Kirtley and Robert Rushton have joined Weightmans from Ward Hadaway, along with a team of five associates.
Simon Jackson has joined Bevan Brittan from Knights.
James Stevens has joined Kennedy’s Manchester office from DWF.
Marc Hanson and Adriano Amorese have moved to Mischon after almost a decade at BCLP.
James Esterkin has returned to Simpson Thacher after joining Kirkland in 2017.
Anthony Guillaume, private equity partner, and Benjamin Marche, acquisition leverage finance lawyer, have joined Squire Patton Boggs from DLA Piper and Shearman & Sterling, respectively.
Sara Belotti, corporate partner, joins Squire Patton Boggs’ Milan office from Baker McKenzie.
Rafael Sanchez Sevilla has joined Fieldfisher’s Barcelona office from Sánchez Sevilla – Defensa Penal & Compliance.
Enrico Troianiello has joined Dentons’ Milan office with an associate from Crutis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle.
The team, led by Elisabeth Marrache, have joined from Marrache Avocats.
Joza Al-Rasheed has joined The Law Office of Mohammaed Altammami (in association with HSF) after a five months in-house at the chemical company Air Products.
Teguh Arwiko has joined Widayawan & Partners’ Jakarta office (in associate with Linklaters) from Hiwara Bunjamin & Tandjung (in association with HSF).
Watson Farley Williams’ Hong Kong offcie has hired Simon Collins from White & Case.
Andrew Vouziers, formerly of Sidley Austin, joins Mayer Brown’s Chicago office.
Sean F. Hilson has joined Winston & Strawn’s Chicago office from Kirkland & Ellis.
Craige Vogelsang has returned to NRF’s Houston office to lead the oil & gas practice from Baker Botts. He joins along with senior counsel Alex Niebruegge, who joins from Winston & Strawn.
Caleb Vesey has joined Willkie’s Los Angeles office from Kirkland & Ellis.
Curtis Stefanak, formerly of Holland & Knight, has joined Greenberg’s New York office.
Marshall Brozost, Alykhan Shivji, and Billy Hillbold hace all joined MWE’s New York office, while Justin Bender has joined the Chicago office.
Eli Curi, previously at Fenwick & West, has joined Latham’s New York office.
Allison Wein has joined Kirkland’s New York office from Cravath Swaine & Moore.
Peter Trimarchi, formerly a partner at Nixon Peabody, has joined Reed Smith’s New York office.
Mark Perry has joined Weil’s Washington, D.C. office as co-head of the appellate practice from Gibson Dunn.
Jesse Myers has joined Gibson Dunn’s Houston office from Willkie.
Lane Morgan, formerly of Kirkland & Ellis, has joined Baker McKenzie’s Dallas office.
Erik Goldsilver has joined Gowling’s Toronto office from Borden Ladner Gervais.
Adrianus Schoorl has joined the fintech Wizz Financial from White & Case.
Promotions & Appointments:
Helen Simpson has been named as Dentons’ new practice partner, set to take over from Lisa Sewell who will be leaving in July.
Partner Andrew Blacoe will lead the firm’s corporate practice in Tokyo and Seoul, according to a firm statement.
James Morgan-Payler, the firm’s new APAC head, expects five or six years of dramatic growth in the region.
For those fresh into partnership, several seasoned partners at top law firms including Linklaters, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Hogan Lovells share their advice, including: don’t behave like you’re in the Hunger Games, buy senior partners lots of coffees and think like a business owner…
Mergers & Alliances:
LexisNexis has acquired Silicon Valley-based contract lifecycle management software provider Parley Pro to expand its CounselLink enterprise legal management platform business. The Parley Pro deal will enable CounselLink users to manage their contracts in real-time, from drafting and negotiating through to signing, all within one platform, according to LexisNexis.
International law firms in Japan might have taken a big hit over the past two years when their Japanese clients, cowed by COVID, put outbound M&A deals on hold and plunged Japan’s outbound M&A activity to its lowest level in 20 years. Instead, many of those firms shifted gears along with their clients. And even as COVID fears subside, this change has given them new avenues for growth.
According to new research by litigation and arbitration funder Harbour, 87% of non-London partners said they were considering private equity funding to enable their growth and 88% of non-London partners were “actively considering a credit facility from a litigation funder”.
Office Openings & Closing:
HFW is set to move to a new building in its hometown of London next year, taking advantage of flexible working and more efficient use of space to reduce its footprint by 25% in the process.
Partner concerns around merging profit pools include possible de-equitisation of partners in the non-U.S. arm.
US legaltech startup Evisort has secured $100m in its Series C funding round led by venture capital firm TCV. The fresh injection of capital – which includes both equity and debt financing – will help the San Mateo-based company to further invest in its no-code AI-powered contract intelligence platform and accelerate its global growth plans. The latest funding round also attracted investments from Breyer Capital and existing backers including General Electric, Microsoft’s venture capital fund M12, Amity Ventures and Vertex Ventures. TCV general partner Amol Helekar will join Evisort’s board of directors.
The firm has increased the total possible salary bonus pay out for senior associates at the firm from 40% to 50%. The amount is still calculated by two measures, billable hours and a discretionary element based on business development activities including playing a role on pitches, pro bono work or winning new clients.
Technology & Innovation:
In the years immediately preceding the pandemic, investment in legal tech fell down the priority list. Research by The Lawyer and HSBC found that tech spend plateaued in the years between 2017 and 2019, with investment averaging around 4 to 6 per cent of revenue. The numbers revealed a legal market slow to embrace technological change en masse. But Covid-19 reversed that trend. Where once legal tech investment was seen as an annoying but vital budgetary spend, now it is a lucrative investment domain of its own. The choice for many firms as they emerged from the pandemic with healthy balance sheets was whether to invest in their own legal tech systems or buy from an ever-growing number of vendors.
Law firms often deal with a range of matters for their business clients beyond legal-specific issues. That has inspired several of the legal professionals featured here to develop new, complementary services in addition to their firms’ core activities.
Diversity & Inclusion:
UK law firm Linklaters has introduced a global menopause policy and support package for employees who are directly or indirectly impacted by the menopause. The measures include: expanding the firm’s menopause support group globally to encourage people to talk openly about it; introducing an e-learning module for people across the firm with management or supervisory responsibilities; and creating a resources hub to support those experiencing the menopause, as well as those supporting a partner or family member.
The Law Society has criticised the UK Government’s plans for a British Bill of Rights, saying it will undermine the rule of law. The scrapping of the Human Rights Act in favour of a Bill of Rights has been a Conservative manifesto pledge since 2015, but was not followed through on; however, the ambition was included in today’s Queen’s Speech.
The gender balance of general counsel appointments at US Fortune 500 companies reached near parity for the first time last year when 49% of the 59 new GCs unveiled were women. That near 50/50 balance compared to 42% of the 2020 appointments being female, up from just 28% in 2019, according to the Annual Fortune 500 General Counsel Report by leadership advisory and search firm Russell Reynolds.
Slaughter and May has unveiled a long-term emissions target as firms across the industry set improved targets as part of their environmental strategies. In a statement on Thursday, the firm said it is now aiming for a long-term target of a 90% absolute reduction of emissions by 2040 — a new threshold for the legal sector, a firm spokesperson added.
Tiffani McDonough on how she arrived at Louis Vuitton, being mentored by Barbara Kolsun and creating the next generation of fashion lawyers.
“The whole idea of firing the firms or hitting them with a punitive measure like that undermines what we’re trying to achieve together, honestly,” Matt Lepore said.
Burnout prevention is not just about alleviating a negative; it is about building a sustainable high performing future. That is a future that maximises work performance and personal well-being. For many successful career-driven professionals, this may seem impossible or unattainable. The extent of mental health and burnout concerns are attributed to the long hours, tight client deadlines, and the intense drive towards billable hours. It is no wonder that many of my clients tell me they feel physically and mentally drained. By using a simple yet powerful mindset shift and adopting some easy to adopt habits, those in law can have it all – optimal performance and personal well-being.
A majority of U.K. lawyers said they would not take a pay cut in exchange for full time remote working, according to a survey by Law.com International, despite nearly 50% of the same poll believing that a pay cut for remote staff is a valid policy. In a poll of over 50 lawyers, when asked if they would opt for a pay cut alongside full time home working if their firm offered it, 72% of respondents said no. 15% said they would take the pay cut while 13% were undecided.
The data from a Law.com and ALM Intelligence global survey shows that the legal industry may be coming to grips with the realities of the pandemic, and even benefiting from things like remote work. But historical triggers associated with law firm structures are still having negative effects.
BASF legal chief Matt Lepore has achieved one of his top priorities during his first year leading the German chemical giant’s legal department—the company has taken its data-driven diversity, equity and inclusion program for outside counsel in the U.S. and Canada and expanded it globally.