Weekly Update – 13th of March 2023


UK & Ireland

Skadden barrister moves over to Steptoe

Steptoe & Johnson is expanding its London litigation practice by hiring a barrister from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Jonathon Egerton-Peters has joined Steptoe as a partner. He focuses on international arbitration, litigation and tax across a range of sectors including tobacco, banking and energy.

Sullivan & Cromwell swipes magic circle partner to expand PE practice

Allen & Overy has lost a partner in its London corporate practice to Sullivan & Cromwell. Karan Dinamani makes the move, having joined the magic circle firm in 2014. He previously trained at Ashurst and was given the nod to partner in 2013.

Freeths makes Scotland debut with Addleshaws real estate duo

Freeths has swiped two partners from Addleshaw Goddard to open an office in Glasgow, The Lawyer has learnt. Real estate partners Paul Ockrim and Nick Taylor will kick off the Scottish venture, having spent the last six years at Addleshaws after joining together in 2017.

Linklaters secures private equity ‘rising star’ in London from Travers Smith

Linklaters has bolstered its private equity and financial sponsors team in London with the hire of Travers Smith partner Genna Marten.

Taylor Wessing raids two international rivals for Dublin partners

Taylor Wessing has hired two senior partners in Dublin from rival international firms adding finance and real estate law capabilities to the office. Joining the Anglo-German firm’s Dublin arm are Libby Garvey, who hails from Addleshaw Goddard where she was head of finance and projects, and DWF’s former head of real estate, Órlaith Molloy.

Sullivan & Cromwell adds PE star from Allen & Overy in rare London partner hire

New York law firm Sullivan & Cormwell (S&C) has made a very rare partner hire in London, adding private equity heavyweight Karan Dinamani from Allen & Overy (A&O).

Pinsent Masons hires senior investor-state arbitration partner in London from Jones Day

UK law firm Pinsent Masons has hired an international arbitration partner in London from Jones Day to co-lead its investor-state dispute settlement and public international law team. Sylvia Tonova has joined the UK firm after six years as a partner at Jones Day, having earlier practised at White & Case.

Kingsley Napley adds Ince partner in London to launch IP disputes practice

Kingsley Napley has added a partner from UK rival Ince in London to launch an IP disputes practice. Melanie Hart has joined the firm after nearly five years as a partner at Ince having earlier worked for 10 years at Harbottle & Lewis.

Akin Gump Partner Joins Africa-Focused Firm As London Head

Africa-focused firm ASAFO & CO has hired an Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner as its next London managing partner. The outfit has added Weyinmi Popo from Akin Gump’s London base as its next London head.

Ex-Allen & Overy Partner Quits Morgan Stanley for Norton Rose

Norton Rose Fulbright has hired a former Allen & Overy partner to its London capital markets team. Christian Lambie, a securitisation specialist, joins the firm from investment bank Morgan Stanley, where he acted as legal counsel between October 2021 to February 2023, according to a spokesperson for the firm.


Baker McKenzie UAE Adds 2 Partners from White & Case and EY

Baker McKenzie has strengthened its tax and disputes benches in the UAE with partners from White & Case and EY. Tina Hsieh joins the firm from EY, where she was tasked with growing EY’s VAT business in the Gulf region, following her success in this area at PwC. She qualified at EY Australia before relocating to the Middle East in 2017, the firm said in a statement.

The Americas

Orrick Hires Fenwick Capital Markets Leader

Fenwick & West capital markets leader Jamie Evans joined Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe on Monday, based out of Seattle and Silicon Valley.

Boosting Bankruptcy Team, Gibson Dunn Adds Akin Gump Debt Finance Partner in Houston

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has expanded its bankruptcy team in Houston by adding Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld debt finance partner Chad Nichols, as the firm, like others, builds its bankruptcy and restructuring teams in anticipation of demand growth.

Gordon & Rees adds 30-strong East Coast team from regional defence litigation firm Marks O’Neill

Am Law 100 firm Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani has hired a 30-strong team including 19 litigators on the East Coast from regional defence litigation firm Marks O’Neill O’Brien Doherty & Kelly.

Linklaters Adds Trio of Lawyers Across New York, Washington D.C.

Linklaters has added three lawyers across its U.S. bases, as U.K. law firms seek to embed their practices across the country. Partners Judy Kwok and Marius Griskonis have joined their New York office, marking an expansion of its U.S. energy transition ad renewables platform.


Ince senior partner jumps ship to join marine insurer Gard

Listed UK law firm Ince Group’s senior partner, Julian Clark, is leaving the firm, it has emerged. Clark, a London-based shipping specialist, is set to join Norwegian marine insurance business Gard, Roll on Friday reported today.

Cybersecurity unicorn Armis hires first CLO ahead of planned IPO

Fast-growing cybersecurity unicorn Armis has hired Efraim Harari in Palo Alto as its first chief legal officer as it prepares to go public.

Promotions & Appointments:

A&O’s chief marketing officer leaves after two years

A former employee has rejoined Allen & Overy after seven years to fill its global chief marketing officer role. Michael Michaelides will replace Lucy Murphy, who has been in the role since July 2021. He is expected to join the magic circle firm on 13 March 2023.

Shearman & Sterling begins transition to next senior partner early following shelved Hogan Lovells merger talks

Shearman & Sterling has started the transition to its next senior partner early to ensure a ‘seamless passing of the torch’. Incumbent David Beveridge is in the last year of his term and will hand over the reins to New York litigator Adam Hakki following a formal election later this year, the firm said today.

Pillsbury Announces Next London Managing Partner

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has appointed Matthew Oresman as its next managing partner in London. Oresman, who was the firm’s international public policy leader, started his tenure earlier this month, and his term has no fixed end date, according to the firm’s statement.

Stephenson Harwood Reshuffles Asia Leadership

Stephenson Harwood has appointed new leaders in Asia, which will see Jamie Stranger cut short his five-year term as Greater China managing partner, as well as the retirement of Singapore head Martin Green.

Mergers & Alliances:

Howard Kennedy snaps up boutique in construction push

London law firm Howard Kennedy has cemented its construction offering by merging with Richmond-based Corbett & Co, The Lawyer can reveal. The merger goes live today (13 March) and seven lawyers from Corbett & Co will join the Howard Kennedy team. Senior managing partner Edward Corbett will stay on to lead as a consultant, while directors Victoria Tyson and Joanne Clarke, and counsel Taner Dedezade will join as partners.

Taylor Wessing Greenlights Iberian Alliance With ECIJA

Taylor Wessing has agreed a strategic alliance with Spanish firm ECIJA, expanding the firm’s global footprint.


Dechert Follows 50% Profit Increase With 14% Drop, Epitomizing Big Law Business Cycle

After a 50% profitability boost that made 2021 the best year on record for Dechert, the global firm’s profits per equity partner (PEP) and revenue dropped 14% and 4% in its most recent fiscal year.

Nelson Mullins Reports Revenue Gains Amid a Year of Expansion Into ‘Underserved’ Markets

Last year, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough reported a 6.9% revenue boost along with 12.9% head count growth as it invested in talent and faced continued demand for litigation.

‘Quality First, Scale Second’: Orrick’s Recipe to Revenue, Profits and Partnership Growth in 2022

The firm, which increased revenue 4.8% to $1.38 billion in 2022, said the quality of its international practices is a huge asset to the firm.

In ‘Steady March Forward,’ Haynes and Boone Posts Another Record Year

Internationally, the firm said revenue in Mexico and Latin America grew by 21 percent in 2022, and the London office benefited from the energy practice. But Shanghai was flat due to COVID-19-related challenges in China.

Can Law Firms Hold the Line on Layoffs and Billing Rates in 2023?

Many large law firm leaders were counting on aggressive rate increases coming into 2023. Some analysts said if they didn’t get them, they’d have to start living with lower profits—or start laying off people.

Technology & Innovation:

UK Supreme Court grapples with whether AI can be a patent inventor as DABUS case is heard

Physicist Stephen Thaler’s long-running attempts to secure inventorship for his AI system DABUS was heard at the UK Supreme Court on 2 March. This is the latest round in the UK court battle;  in September 2021 the England and Wales Court of Appeal ruled in a 2:1 decision, that AI systems cannot own or transfer patent rights under UK law.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Closing the gender gap at partner level – time to pick up the pace?

For the last 30 years women have represented over 60 per cent of new entrants to the profession and the most recent data from the Solicitors Regulation Authority tells us that 61 per cent of solicitors currently working in private practice are female. Yet, despite the importance and benefits of gender diversity being universally acknowledged, only 35 per cent of current partners are female.

Sidley and Shearman among firms with biggest gender pay gaps

Sidley Austin, Shearman & Sterling and several other law firms have been called out for their significant gender pay gaps following International Women’s Day on 8 March.

BCLP teams up with clients to launch leadership programme for women lawyers

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has teamed up with in-house legal teams from companies including BT, Credit Agricole and National Grid to launch a leadership scheme for senior women lawyers.

Do Firms Truly Support Women in Asia or Is It Just Lip Service?

Fewer than 20% of the regional heads in Asia at the top 50 highest-revenue law firms are women, Jessica Seah writes in The Asia Legal Briefing. So is all this noise and confetti around International Women’s Day just lip service? When and how will firms in Asia get it right?

Market Commentary:

Big Law Continues to Favor Transfers Over Entry-Level Associates

Am Law 200 firms have widened the gap between entry-level and lateral associates in 2022, making about 1,765 more associate hires on the lateral market.

How Financial Services Companies Can Better Control Law Firm Rate Hikes

Banks and insurers often top the list of clients exerting the most pressure on law firm billing, but recent data shows financial services shops let that cost consciousness slip in recent months.

Climate change and energy transition to heat up Middle East disputes landscape

Climate change and energy transition disputes are likely to create a ‘tsunami of change’ for the region’s dispute resolution community, according to the CEO of the Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) courts.

Saudi Arabia grants first foreign licences to trio of international firms

Clifford Chance (CC), Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Latham & Watkins have become the first international law firms to be awarded licences to practise in Saudi Arabia.

Cravath and SullCrom are Building in London. Should You Be Afraid?

The Wall Street beasts are stirring in London after 50 years of relative dormancy—but is the fanfare warranted, asks the London Lawyer Briefing.

Litigation Funding Prepares for Growth in Europe

As Europe opens its arms, cautiously, to mass litigation and class actions, litigation funders are seeing opportunity and ramping up their plans to seize

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