Weekly Update – 13th of November 2023


UK & Ireland

White & Case Adds Ropes Partner In London

Emily Brown joins White & Case’s global mergers & acquisitions practice and global private equity industry group after almost three years at Ropes & Gray, where she was part of the asset management group.

Paul Hastings Secures Restructuring Co-Chair With KKR Hire

William Needham will join the firm as co-chair of its European restructuring practice, working alongside London office co-head Mei Lian. He is expected to start at the firm imminently, according to a person with knowledge of the move.

Stewarts Hires From Norton Rose for Head of International Arbitration

Litigation boutique Stewarts has hired Norton Rose Fulbright’s head of EMEA international arbitration and head of India practice in London.

Sherina Petit, who is joining after almost 15 years at Norton Rose, will head up Stewarts’ own international arbitration practice from London.

Alston & Bird Hires from Pallas Partners in London

Alston & Bird has brought on Will Hooker from Pallas Partners in London, as it moves to expand its litigation and dispute resolution bench in the U.K.

Hooker joined Alston & Bird on Monday as a partner after almost two years with Pallas in London, where he also was a partner, and five years with Boies Schiller Flexner’s London office, where he rose from counsel to partner, according to his LinkedIn page.

Davidson McDonnell hires Victoria Sterritt to lead new private client team

Northern Ireland firm Davidson McDonnell has recruited former London lawyer Victoria Sterritt to lead a new private client department.

Ms Sterritt is joined in the new private client team by senior solicitors Rachael McKee and Sara Ord.

Eversheds Sutherland absorbs group of KWM lawyers in London

Eversheds Sutherland’s international arm has taken on a group of former King & Wood Mallesons’ (China) London partners and staff as part of the cooperation agreement the two firms announced back in July. The group moving across to Eversheds’ London office includes five partners, 10 lawyers and an additional eight business services staff, representing the bulk of KWM’s London office. The five London partners moving across include three from the corporate team – Greg Stonefield, Joseph Newitt and Barri Mendelsohn – and two commercial dispute resolution lawyers – James McKenzie and Wilson Antoon.


Longtime Weil Partner Joins Major Lindsey to Advise Firms on European Expansion

A retired Weil Gotshal & Manges partner credited with establishing the majority of the firm’s offices in Europe has taken a job at global recruiting firm Major Lindsey & Africa, where he will play an advisory role to law firms seeking to grow on the continent.

Joe Tortorici, who retired from the Weil partnership in June 2020, started at Major Lindsey this month as an adviser to law firms serviced by MLA’s partner practice group, the search firm announced Thursday.


Goodwin Hires Debt Finance Partner from White & Case Hong Kong

Goodwin Procter has bolstered its debt finance practice in Asia with the partner hire of debt and leveraged finance lawyer Stephen Howard, who was most recently a local partner at White & Case in Hong Kong.

Herbert Smith Freehills Loses Aviation Partner Duo in Singapore

Herbert Smith Freehills has seen the departure of two aviation finance partners, Siva Subramanian and Samuel Kohlemainen, in Singapore.

Subramanian has already joined Singapore law firm Allen & Gledhill as the firm’s head of aviation finance and co-head of its maritime and aviation practice, while Kohlemainen is still serving out his notice at the firm but it is unclear where he is headed. Kohlemainen was unavailable for comment.

Han Kun Corporate Partner Joins Clyde & Co in Hong Kong

A former partner at Beijing firm Han Kun Law Offices, Charles Wu, has recently left the firm to join Clyde & Co as a U.S.-qualified counsel in Hong Kong.

China’s Haiwen Continues Strategic Hiring Spree with Addition from Alibaba

Beijing-brd Haiwen & Partners has hired private equity and M&A lawyer, Duan Fu, who was most recently a senior legal counsel at Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group and the general counsel of Alibaba New Retail Fund. Fu is joining Haiwen as an international partner as the Chinese firm continues to deepen its rank of senior lawyers with international backgrounds. Just this year, the firm has already hired three partners from Herbert Smith Freehills including the firm’s former Beijing managing partner Tom Chau, and two other partners from Mayer Brown.

The Americas

Arnold & Porter Adds Johnson & Johnson Regulatory Affairs VP

Philip Desjardins’ experience will help build out the firm’s growing medical device practice, Arnold & Porter said.

Foley & Lardner Scoops Up Former Prosecutor From Carlton Fields in Tampa, Bolstering Tech Expertise

Joseph Swanson comments “[Foley’s] Tampa office is very strong, and it’s growing. The firm’s overall national footprint and platform are very attractive to me, both from a cybersecurity and privacy standpoint, as well as the white collar and government enforcement standpoint. They have very robust practices in both of those areas that I look to contributing to.”

Northern District Criminal Division Chief Heads to Goodwin in San Francisco

Katherine Wawrzyniak, the deputy chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, joined Goodwin as a partner.

A&O Partner Jumps to Sidley in Wake of Shearman Merger Vote

Greg Lavigne is one of several partners who have departed Allen & Overy and Shearman in recent months in the wake of the two firms announcing their plans to merge.

Alston, Recruiting From Pallas Partners, Expands International Arbitration Group

Will Hooker, from Pallas Partners, will “expand our international arbitration practice and increase our litigation and arbitration presence in London,” said Matt Richardson, co-chair of Alston’s litigation group.

Wachtell Appoints New Leadership, Naming Nussbaum and Savitt as Co-Chairs

Ed Herlihy and Daniel Neff will remain on the firm’s executive committee.

Attorneys ‘On the Move’: Proskauer Adds Trial Lawyer; Sidley Expands Energy and Infrastructure Practice

Proskauer has added first-chair trial lawyer Joseph (Joe) Drayton as a partner in its intellectual property group. He joins from Cooley.

Wendy LaManque has joined Pryor Cashman as counsel to the firm’s labor and employment group. She joins from The American Guild of Musical Artists, where she was counsel and director of organizational compliance.

Hogan to Welcome Fewer Than Expected Stroock Partners, but Many Were Firm Leaders

A total of 28 partners from dissolving firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan are scheduled to join Hogan Lovells on Nov. 15, the latter firm said Wednesday. The group includes equity and nonequity partners in real estate, transactions, litigation and tax, including several who held leadership roles, such as Jeff Keitelman, Christopher Doyle and James Bernard.

With Government Investigations Rising, Blank Rome Adds White-Collar Litigator in Dallas

Katten Muchin Rosenman white-collar defense partner Barrett Howell joined Blank Rome in Dallas on Tuesday, as the firm builds out the 4-month-old office.

Longtime Syracuse Prosecutor to Return, While Several Newcomer DAs Voted Into Office Upstate

For Manny Nneji, a Nigerian American who is believed to be the first Black person to hold the post, it was his first run for public office.

On the Move and After Hours: Faegre Drinker; Post Polak; Riker Danzig; Jones Jones; Keating Law Firm

Riker Danzig announced that Liz Small joined the firm as counsel in the securities litigation, arbitration, regulation and investigations group.

After 7-Month Stint at Quinn Emanuel, Crowell Partner Returns

“I don’t think I appreciated it the way I should have when I was here my first stint,” said Michael Shaheen about Crowell.

Longtime Weil Partner Joins Major Lindsey to Advise Firms on European Expansion

Joe Tortorici helped build the New York firm’s footprint in Europe and later in the Middle East.

Sidley Hits Paul Weiss Again for 4-Strong NY Private Equity Team

Sidley Austin has hired three partners and a counsel from rival Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in a boost to its M&A and private equity group in New York, building on its major partner additions in London earlier this year.

Jeffrey Kochian, Gerald Brant and Brittany Harrison all join the firm as new partners from Paul Weiss, Sidley said in a statement.


Ex-Legal Ops Chief at Meta and Coinbase Takes COO Post at ‘Rocket Ship’ SpotDraft

“Very quickly in the process, after they asked me whether I wanted to do this, I started asking myself why I wouldn’t do this. And I didn’t have a good answer to that question,” said Akshay Verma, SpotDraft’s newly hired COO.

Blackstone Attorney Takes Legal Reins at Atlanta’s Progress Residential

Ama Romaine has joined Progress Residential, the nation’s largest owner of single-family rental homes—a segment that has seen torrid growth.

PLW People in the News—Nov. 7, 2023—Sweeney & Sheehan, Barley Snyder

On October 27th, 2023, Partner Patrick J. Sweeney started his one-year term as President of the Defense Research Institute.   DRI is the largest international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of businesses and individuals in civil litigation with 29 substantive law committees.

NPR Attorney for Quarter-Century Takes Legal Reins of Public TV Advocacy Group

America’s Public Television Stations COO Lonna Thompson said Michelle Shanahan “will be a great asset to our stations on a broad variety of legal and regulatory issues arising in our media industry.”

Chipotle Snags Petco’s Legal Chief to Lead HR

CEO Brian Niccol said newly hired HR chief Ilene Eskenazi “will be instrumental in growing Chipotle’s culture of people development.”

Fox Corp. Hires Campbell Soup’s Legal Chief to Succeed Viet Dinh

Fox Corp. has tapped Campbell Soup general counsel Adam Ciongoli to replace departing chief legal and policy officer Viet Dinh.

Stroock Co-Managing Partner to Lead New Labor Practice at Steptoe, Joined by 2

Alan Klinger said Thursday he is making the move with fellow partner Dina Kolker and special counsel David Kahne. Steptoe & Johnson is also assuming Stroock’s lease in Los Angeles.

Tegna Taps Vox Media Veteran for Chief Legal Officer Role

Tegna, which owns 66 TV stations in 54 markets, has filled its legal chief vacancy with Lauren Fisher, who has deep digital media experience, including stints at Hulu and AOL.

Vox Media Taps Deputy GC to Lead Legal Team After Top Lawyer Departs

CEO Jim Bankoff called newly appointed General Counsel Brian Leung “an empathetic leader who manages our risks and opportunities with a deep understanding of and care for our business and our people.”

Blackstone-Backed Music-Management Company Hires First GC

BMG veteran Jonathan Baker is taking the legal reins of Hipgnosis Song Management, which is run by former Elton John and Beyoncé manager Merck Mercuriadis.

Around the house: McKesson names GoDaddy CLO as next legal chief, US aid agency MCC hires Paul Weiss counsel as GC

US healthcare giant McKesson has hired Michele Lau as its next legal chief, replacing Lori Schechter who is retiring next year, the company said in its quarterly earnings report and first reported by Bloomberg.

Harris Beach’s Thomas Garry to Serve as Counsel to Biden’s Re-Election Campaign

Garry helped turn back false claims about former President Barack Obama’s place of birth, and Donald Trump before the businessman entered politics.

Promotions & Appointments:

Major DC-Area Hospital System Promotes Deputy GC to Top Lawyer

Ken DeStefano, Adventist HealthCare’s general counsel for the last 25 years, is retiring and passing the reins to his top deputy, Dwayne Leslie.

Two Law Firms Elect New UK Senior Partners

The incoming senior partners at both firms are set to step into their new roles early next year. At CMS, UK corporate co-head Charles Currier has been named as the successor to Penelope Warne. At Travers Smith, Andrew Gillen will succeed Siân Keall.

Herbert Smith Freehills CEO Wins Second Term

Justin D’Agostino was first elected to the CEO role in 2019, taking up the position in May 2020.

Wilmer’s Jamie Gorelick Turns Over Reins of Strategic Response Practice

As Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr seeks to enact “generational change,” Washington, D.C., litigator Jamie Gorelick is stepping back as co-chair of the firm’s prominent crisis management and strategic response group, though will remain chair of the firm’s regulatory and government affairs department, which oversees the practice.

People in the News—Nov. 9, 2023—Barley Snyder, Sweeney & Sheehan

Barley Snyder announced that partner Kevin C. Myhre has been elected vice chair of the patent law committee for the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).

White & Case’s New Africa Leader Looks to Leverage Region’s Mining, Energy Opportunities

White & Case has appointed London partner Deji Adegoke as the head of its Africa practice to solidify the international firm’s presence on the continent and capitalise on business opportunities.

Although not announced formally, Adegoke took on the role from partner Mukund Dhar and his appointment was effective from November 1, as confirmed by a spokesperson of the firm.

Carsten Zatschler SC joins UCD as adjunct full professor

Carsten Zatschler SC has joined UCD Sutherland School of Law as an adjunct full professor.

LK Shields promotes litigation lawyer Muireann Granville to partner

LK Shields has promoted Muireann Granville to partner in the firm’s litigation team. Ms Granville joined the firm as a litigation associate in 2016, advising clients on a wide range of commercial disputes.

Carson McDowell promotes 11 across Belfast and Dublin

Carson McDowell has announced 11 promotions across its offices in Belfast and Dublin, including eight senior associates and three associates across its teams.

The new senior associates are Judith Rountree in the defence insurance litigation team, Gavin Kerr in construction, Emily Smith in NI healthcare claims, Emma Stephenson in real estate, Kathryn Laverty in corporate, Rachel Toner in commercial, Rachel Lewis in banking and finance, and Stephanie Johnston in healthcare, regulatory and professional discipline.

The new associates are Shannon Gawley in the commercial team, Andrew McWilliams in real estate and Ciara Fitzpatrick in NI and ROI healthcare claims.

Cian MacGinley to head real estate department at Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland Ireland has appointed partner Cian MacGinley as head of its real estate department.

Mr MacGinley, who has been with the firm for over two decades, takes over the leadership fo the department from Joseph Stanley, who will continue as a real estate partner.

BCLP adds 24 to partnership in latest promotions round

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has elevated 24 lawyers to partnership in its 2024 promotions round.

That is a 14% increase on its 2023 intake, when 21 lawyers made partner. However, there was a significant drop off in the proportion of female promotions, with women making up 25% of the 2024 cohort, compared to 38% this year.

Hill Dickinson names successor for veteran CEO

Hill Dickinson has named business services group head Craig Scott as its next CEO, replacing long-serving leader Peter Jackson who will step down at the end of April next year.

Mergers & Alliances:

Fieldfisher to Part With Italian Operation

Fieldfisher has announced the end of its arrangement with its partner firm in Italy.

The U.K. law firm and Italy’s Studio Associato Servizi Professionali Integrati (SASPI)—made up of lawyers and tax accountants—merged in 2016 and have since operated as Fieldfisher Italy, structured as a Swiss verein.

Office Openings & Closing:

Manatt Launches in San Diego With the Southern District’s Top Prosecutor

“We have hundreds of clients in San Diego, and all of the industry sectors that are prevalent and strong in San Diego happen to be the same sectors that we are strong in,” Manatt managing partner Donna Wilson said. “You can’t get someone who is more tied to the legal and business community than Randy Grossman.”

One of China’s Biggest Law Firms Plans to Launch Trio of Offices in Japan, South and North Korea

If successful, Jingsh will be the only Chinese law firm to have an office in North Korea. It will also be the first Chinese law firm to be operating in the country.

Eversheds Sutherland absorbs group of KWM lawyers in London

The deal meant KWM would close its six offices in the UK, Europe and Middle East, with select KWM staff being invited to join Eversheds, subject to practice needs.


Milbank Raises Associate Salaries and Announces Year-End Bonuses

The firm’s chair pointed to “a very, very busy year” across the firm—one in which productivity was “materially” increased, as well as increasing cost of living.

Cravath Adds Non-Equity Tier as Big Law Makes Structural Changes for Competitive Pay

Cravath has been approaching counsel-level attorneys about joining its non-equity tier since at least last summer, according to one Am Law 50 firm leader.

Top Performers ‘Likely’ to Raise Associate Pay After Milbank’s Move, but Broad Hesitancy Lingers

The market hesitation was underscored by the lack of immediate, similar moves. Some firms were still waiting on other market leaders to move, sources said.

Associate Pay Raises Escalate GC Fears of Billing Rate Hikes

Some GCs are voicing concerns about further rate hikes after associate pay raises. But Milbank’s chair said the salary raises wouldn’t have a material effect on its billing rate decisions in the future.

Why Concealing PEP isn’t Always the Best Idea

A few firms have omitted PEP from their most recent financial results—there’s really only one way the market will interpret this, writes The London Lawyer.

Technology & Innovation:

Artificial Intelligence: Balancing Opportunity and Antitrust Risk

While artificial intelligence is an evolving technology with promising use cases, it is also attracting regulatory scrutiny.

Is Your Company Using Artificial Intelligence Intelligently?

In this installment of our ongoing series on e-discovery and information governance, we will delve into the world of AI and discuss how organizations can mitigate legal and compliance risks and maintain an evolving approach to an equally evolving technology.

IAPP AI Governance Conference Takeaways: Job Replacement Fears, Algorithmic Audits and AI Ethics

IAPP’s first ever AI Governance Global 2023 conference in Boston discussed how AI governance can fit into today’s data privacy regime while also allowing technology to flourish.

Reinventing the Legal Department: A Roadmap to Integrating AI for Strategic Business Advancement

Previously seen as gatekeepers of compliance and risk management, corporate legal departments now play a crucial role in strategic decision-making and business innovation, including the integration of AI into legal operations.

The AI Revolution In the World of Architecture: Perils and Promises

The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is underway in nearly every industry, including the real estate industry, but have the consequences of such use in the world of architecture been fully considered?

Are ‘End-to-End’ CLM Systems Possible? Oftentimes, It Depends on the User

Many CLM systems have added numerous capabilities to fit the “end-to-end” label. But users often find themselves disappointed—leading some to wonder if “end-to-end” is even possible.

GAI’s Promise Delivered: A Deep Dive into Real-World Productivity Gains

A recent study from Harvard Business School presents a compelling case for GAI’s transformative potential on knowledge worker productivity and quality.

Lawyers’ Main Barriers With Tech Adoption: Organizational Challenges, Lack of Skills, and Fear

While most lawyers respondents in the Future Ready Lawyer 2023 survey, conducted by Wolters Kluwer, said that they wanted to explore new technologies, some worried that organizational barriers and a lack of skills could inhibit such endeavors.

Al Tamimi Adopts Legal AI Harvey

The law firm will be one of the first in the region to enhance the platform’s Arabic-language proficiency.

A Green Pivot: Adaptive Repurposing of Vacant Office Buildings into Growth Operations

While transforming existing buildings for alternative purposes is not a new concept, this article seeks to explore the feasibility of alternative repurposing options with a focus on pre-existing New Jersey office buildings; namely, converting vacant New Jersey office space into vertical farms or cannabis growth operations.

The Evolving Role of Lawyers Navigating the AI Co-Pilot or ‘Assistant’ Era of Legal Practice

The AI Co-Pilot 4-Stage Maturity Model shows how AI can be used in law, starting with essential AI tools and ending with advanced features that give law practitioners more capabilities as their roles evolve.

Onit Launches Generative AI-Powered Contract Management Tool ‘Catalyst for Contracts’

The contract solution comes with a chat feature designed to let users have conversations with their contracts and ask questions about clauses, draft language or find inconsistent terms, among other use cases.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Discovering Dissatisfaction: Why UK Associates are Unhappy

An in-depth survey of nearly 200 UK associates at large law firms has found nearly a third feel morale has dropped over the last year, with emphasis on billable hours, salary disappointment and a ‘tough’ office culture among the factors responsible.

Integrating Nonlawyer Professionals in Law Firm DEI Initiatives

Including nonlawyer professionals in law firm DEI initiatives will result in greater engagement, a stronger firm culture, better retention, and increased opportunities for success, which will help to foster a truly diverse legal profession.

In-House Counsel Expect Diversity From Law Firms. New Research Says They Aren’t Getting It

“We’re expecting firms to find a way to get out there and find, groom and support diverse and inclusive talent. Companies are definitely watching,” Ginny Johnson, chief legal officer of Aspen Aerogels, said.

Latham’s New Partner Class Is Male-Dominated, But So Are Many of Its Peers’

The law firm’s new partner class is 38% female, an increase over last year’s 31%. Six of the new partners are based in London.

The Best Law Firms for Pro Bono in the UK, 2023

Dechert, Reed Smith and Hogan Lovells have claimed the top spots for the 2023 pro bono rankings, following months of research by Law.com International.

Having analyzed nearly 50 submissions, Law.com compiled and ranked the top 25 law firms for pro bono in the U.K., as the industry marks the 22nd annual Pro Bono Week.

Being Part of ‘a Modern-Day Miracle’: A Non-Profit’s General Counsel Sees Purpose

As general counsel of the Fred Hollows Foundation, a non-profit that aims to provide affordable eye health care and end avoidable blindness in disadvantaged communities around the world, Katrin O’Sullivan oversees seven different legal entities across 25 mostly African and Asian countries.

Is In-House Pro Bono The Next Frontier ?

There is a growing push among in-house lawyers to participate in pro bono work, despite a distinct lack of opportunity and resource available to them.

Private practice law firms have increasingly embedded pro bono work into their offerings. Indeed, a large number of law firms now count pro bono work towards utilization targets and bonuses, and also appoint designated pro bono counsel.

Most global law firms falling short on responsible business practices, study finds

Many of the world’s largest law firms are failing to properly demonstrate their responsible business commitments to clients, according to a study by Lamp House Strategy.

The inaugural Lamp House Strategy Responsible Business Annual Report showed that less than a quarter of firms (22%) publish a holistic responsible business report, with firms falling short in a wide-range of areas including diversity and sustainability.

Market Commentary:

Momentum in Big Law: Who Has It, Why and What They Do to Keep It

The leaders of Paul Weiss, Davis Polk and Paul Hastings weigh in on how they keep their firms going in the right direction, with some commonalities.

Many Large and Midsize Law Firms Are Recovering. Others Are in ‘No-Man’s Land’

There’s been a “bifurcated” recovery among the Am Law 200, but all segments have cut their first-year associate classes, according to the latest Law Firm Financial Index report.

As Domestic Transactions Stall, Dealmakers Look to LatAm Energy Market For a Charge

“In emerging markets, the needs for energy and infrastructure at reasonable prices are endless,” said Oscar Stephens, a New York-based shareholder for Greenberg Traurig focused on renewable energy and infrastructure financing.

Report Raises Security Concerns About Australian Law Firms Acting for Chinese Entities

The report singles out Ashust and King & Wood Mallesons as being lax on cybersecurity when it comes to advising Chinese clients. Both firms say the report is inaccurate.

There’s More Trust in the Market’: Inside the Rise of Law Firm Spinoffs

“People want to control their own destiny,” one spinoff leader said. “And the number of successful spinoffs makes it easier… there is more trust in the market. Corporate America is more meritorious these days. They are looking for the best.”

Deal Watch: Big Week for M&A, but Big Law Dealmakers Say It May Not Last

“The more significant challenge that leveraged M&A is facing is the breadth of available financing,” noted Ethan Klingsberg at Freshfields.

Big Law Policy Practices Prepare for Busy End of Year

D.C. law firms weigh in on how public policy practices are seeing activity pick up surrounding big agenda items.

Regulations in Latin America Are Tightening, But Deals Are Still Flowing to and from the Region

Although the patchwork of changing laws in the region is eliciting concerns and some countries are even seeing increased interest from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, lawyers are finding opportunities from capital entering and exiting the U.S.

Report: Tort Lawsuits Stuttered in 2022, But They’re Poised to Bounce Back

The 2023 Torts Litigation Report, by Lex Machina, a division of LexisNexis, found there were 14,375 tort lawsuits filed in federal courts last year, among the lowest levels in a decade.

Antitrust Anxiety Abounds

The M&A and ESG space seem to be creating the most headaches for legal departments.

Law Firm Leaders May Be Tiring of the Job, But That’s Not Why They’ve Been Leaving

An analysis by former Big Law partner Paul Denis of leadership departures over the past few decades shows recent changes may be based less on satisfaction and more on growing tenure length.

As Office Costs Rise, Law Firms Are Unveiling ‘Hybrid’ Workspace

Leaders of Norton Rose and Lathrop GPM pointed to the pandemic as one of the catalysts for rethinking their offices, and both said they contain a mix of open and private/reserved workspaces.

Like Cash, the Days of Holding Client Data Are Numbered

Cyber-attacks on A&O and Kirkland, as well as changing regulations, may engender an age in which large firms no longer hold client data, writes The Global Lawyer.

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