UK & Ireland
Jason Raeburn joins the ranks of the firm after 12 years at Baker McKenzie. He specialises in intellectual property disputes relating to software development and licensing, cloud, and AI-related implementations.
Duo Richard Kitchen and Amin Doulai are making the move. Kitchen was promoted to partner in 2017 and acts for both borrowers and lenders, while Doulai was promoted to partner in July last year and advises both private equity sponsors and borrowers.
The new arrivals are leveraged finance specialist Carol Van der Vorst and restructuring lawyer Lisa Stevens, who are joining from Ropes & Gray and Kirkland & Ellis respectively. Van der Vorst’s practice focuses on advising financial sponsors on cross-border debt financing transactions, while Stevens’s practice focuses on bespoke and complex special situations debt transactions.
Top 10 global law firm White & Case has boosted its M&A practice in London with the addition of new partner, Di Yu, from Slaughter and May’s corporate team.
Karen Peskett-Hall leaves Hogan Lovells after five years, according to her LinkedIn profile, during which time she set up and led an in-house transformation consultancy, described by Kennedys in its statement as “the first of its kind in a law firm”.
Philipp Klöckner, Nico Feuerstein and Mira Zimmerman will join the firm’s capital markets practice, advising listed and private equity clients and providing advisory services for initial public offerings in Germany, according to the firm.
David Yates returns to the firm’s Dubai office as partner and regional head of digital and data, to lead a team that boasts extensive know-how and presence in the region, the firm said in a statement.
PwC Legal has appointed former Allen & Overy partner Hugh Owen as its next head of legal in Central and Eastern Europe, after the exit of long-standing head Karl Paadam.
White & Case partner Jamie Franklin has moved from the firm’s Singapore office to Houston, Texas, expanding the energy team in that office. which has doubled its lawyer head count since early 2021.
Márcio Eurico Vitral Amaro comes on board as a partner as lawyers in Brazil prepare to play a more active role in the preparation of legislation and regulations. As a former justice of the Brazilian Superior Labor Court, Amaro has deep experience handling strategic and highly complex cases throughout Brazil.
Hong Kong firm Howse Williams now has 33 partners in Hong Kong while Ashurst has expanded further in Tokyo.
Evelyn Partners has hired Charlotte Davies of Provident Financial Group as its next GC. Having spent three years as group GC and company secretary at Provident, she replaces Evelyn’s current GC Nicola Mitford-Slade who is retiring from the role. Davies will begin her new position on 1 September 2022.
Swedish telecom company Ericsson has hired a head of global legal affairs and strategy from a telecommunications rival. U.K.-based Cheryl Yuan has joined from Dutch telecoms company VEON Ventures, where she was most recently general counsel for just under two years and prior to that, deputy general counsel for seven years, according to LinkedIn
Promotions & Appointments:
The American Bar Association has sworn in senior Debevoise & Plimpton adviser Deborah Enix-Ross as its new president, replacing Clark Hill partner Reginald Turner in the top seat. Enix-Ross was sworn in by recently retired US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer at the conclusion of the ABA’s annual meeting in Chicago. She becomes the 11th female to hold that office.
Mergers & Alliances:
US legaltech firm Aderant has agreed a deal to acquire Toronto-based people management platform viGlobal to bolster its front and back office product offering for law firms. The deal will give Aderant’s users access to viGlobal’s suite of people management tools designed to improve the recruitment and retention of staff, something that has become increasingly important for law firms amid the broader ‘great resignation’ trend, which saw almost 50 million people quit their jobs last year in the US alone.
Office Openings & Closing:
Capsticks has opened an “office hub” in Colchester to support its new insurance team. The workspace opened in May 2022 and is located at Lodge Park Business Centre in Langham, a 15-minute drive from the heart of Colchester.
Gowling WLG is expanding its presence in the Middle East with the opening of a new office in Abu Dhabi, bringing its offices in the region to a total of three. In a statement, the firm described the move as a “logical next” step, with Abu Dhabi clients “already accounting for 30% of the firm’s revenue in the UAE”.
The U.K.-based plaintiffs firm PGMBM, which operates as a partnership between British, Brazilian and American lawyers, is launching an office in Rio de Janeiro following a significant win for claimants harmed by a dam collapse at a mine co-operated by BHP Inc. in Brazil.
Law firm profitability declined for a fourth straight quarter in the second quarter of this year, with the Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index ‘flashing warning signs’ for the near term outlook if current trends continue unabated. The four-quarter losing streak is the longest slide in the index’s history and comes after two years of record profitability for firms.
At a time when high profits and pay are being scrutinised, CMS’s managing partner believes lawyer high pay is a reflection of the elite services on offer.
The 0.8 per cent dip stands in contrast to the previous year, when HFW broke the £200m barrier due to a 2.6 per cent growth in turnover from £195.2m. According to HFW, the latest figures are due to the reduced lawyer headcount across the firm’s six sectors following “prudent management of the business” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The staff bonus pool has grown 9 per cent from £2.2m to £2.4m for the 2021/22 financial year, meaning each employee received over £2,000 in July. Staff who had worked at the firm for the whole of the last financial year received £2,231, while employees with five years service or more received £2,566. Partners were exempt from the bonus.
CMS’s UK average profit per equity partner (PEP) has broken through the £1m barrier, having fallen shy of the mark the year before, The Lawyer can reveal. The result shows a 14 per cent increase, from £912,000 to £1.04m. This growth is double that of the previous year, which saw UK PEP rise 7 per cent, from £850,000.
Clyde & Co’s total revenue climbed 1.6 per cent from £639.6m to £650m over 2021/22, as revealed in its first set of financial results since the BLM merger was finalised earlier this year. Net profit increased 4 per cent from £152.8 to £159m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) dipped 1 per cent from £715,000 to £708,00.
Linklaters’ revenue has risen 6.5 per cent to £1.78bn, a better result for the magic circle firm after its modest results last year. The results contrast with those posted for the financial year 2020/21, in which turnover went up by just 2 per cent to £1.67bn. Average profit per equity partner (PEP) continues to rise after falling in 2019/20. It was up 5.4 per cent on the previous financial year to £1.86m. Last year, PEP rebounded by almost 10 per cent after a 5 per cent drop from £1.61m to £1.77m.
Dentons has added £31m to its top-line across the UK, Ireland and Middle East (UKIME), bringing its total revenue to £260.4m. The uptick of 14 per cent from £229.1m is a significant improvement on 2020/21, when revenue nudged up by just 1 per cent.
DAC Beachcroft’s profit per equity partner (PEP) has fallen for the first time in eight years, the firm has announced in its unaudited financial results for the FY year end 2022. It fell by around 7% to £652,000, from what the firm described at the time as its best ever figure of around £700,000.
Clyde & Co saw revenue grow by 1.6% in the last financial year to £650m, the 24th consecutive year the firm has increased revenues. That growth jumps to 2.6% when measured on a constant currency basis, according to the firm, which generates more than half of its revenue outside the UK. It has also reported a 4% increase in profit to £159m. However, profit per equity partner fell marginally to £708,000 from £715,000 in the previous financial year due to an increase in the number of equity partners.
In 2018/19, the firm announced a 12 per cent turnover increase to hit £213m. However, this figure remained unchanged in 2019/20 and then dropped to £206m in 2020/21, where it flatlined over the last financial year. Average profit per equity partner (PEP) also remains stagnant, as the firm posted the same figures as the year before. The firm declined to publish its PEP in 2020/21, but it is now understood to have been £685,000. This has fallen from the £727,000 it reported in 2018/19, which was up after a two-year slump.
Jones Day has increased salaries for its newly qualified (NQ) associates by an eye-watering 27%, taking its pay from £110,000 to £140,000, according to Legal Cheek. Although the firm would not comment on its rate, the salary is outlined on its website. Trainee salaries start at £54,000 rising to £61,000 after 12 months.
Mishcon de Reya is reconsidering other forms of investment to replace funds it had earmarked from its now postponed IPO. The firm has commenced costly plans to revamp its practice management system, kickstarting the two-year process this summer to redesign its tech platforms. The aim is to create a frictionless environment for lawyers to service clients more efficiently.
Law firms won’t totally pivot their international strategies based on the fluctuating value of currency. But the dollar’s increased strength may influence how U.S. law firms manage certain expenses, set billing rates and perhaps give them a boost when they’re trying to attract laterals around the globe, say law firm leaders and industry analysts.
Technology & Innovation:
US firm Loeb & Loeb has hired crypto expert Gian Pastore as its Web 3.0 manager, a newly created position to help support clients and the firm with blockchain and Web 3.0-related projects. Pastore joins the firm in its Los Angeles headquarters from US software company MarkMonitor, where he was a domain portfolio advisor. He brings with him non-legal technical experience in cryptocurrencies, NFTs, blockchain domains and the metaverse.
Law firms are positioning themselves to compete in a new era of M&A that involves technologies such as blockchain, DeFi and Web3, says Gilbert + Tobin’s Peter Reeves.
Diversity & Inclusion:
Boyce – the first black law society president – was commenting on the Building The Baseline: Breaking the Class Barrier Report published today (11 August) by The City of London Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce. It found that 64% of senior leaders are from a family with a professional background, a markedly higher proportion than the general UK population (37%). Employees from a family with a professional background were also 43% more likely to be at a senior level than their working-class colleagues while more than one quarter (26%) of senior employees attended fee-paying schools – three times the national average of 7.5%.
“Disability is at the bottom of the profession’s agenda compared to other protected characteristics”, said Travers Smith associate Kaleem Khan.
Herbert Smith Freehills has signed a power purchase agreement by which its Sydney office will become powered entirely by wind and solar energy. The firm has signed a virtual power purchase agreement with wholesale electricity retailer Flow Power, which came into effect on 1 July, the firm announced.
George Strathy, the chief justice of Canada’s largest court system, is urging law firm leaders to help combat stress and anxiety in the legal profession. Law firms are listening.
As the U.S. government moves closer to regulations requiring climate disclosures, large law firms are staffing up on ESG lawyers and are already seeing more business from corporate clients rattled by the potential changes. The Securities and Exchange Commission in March proposed rules requiring climate-related disclosures in registration statements and periodic reports, although the climate disclosure rule had been on the SEC’s agenda for two years.
Ukrainian Legal Developments:
Inner Temple and Middle Temple are looking to provide practical employment support to Ukrainian lawyers through a new ‘matching scheme’ launched this week. The Inns say the programme is open to Ukrainian lawyers and legal professionals currently based in the UK, many of whom have been seeking opportunities to work within the UK legal profession since fleeing the war in their home country.
“Every Ukrainian who learns English will be much more aware of European life. This will also help the formation of Ukraine’s subjectivity in the world globalization processes. In addition, after our victory, it will affect the growth of Ukraine’s investment and tourist attractiveness,” said the deputy minister.