Weekly Update – 15th of May 2023

Moves:

UK & Ireland

BCLP Continues Rebuilding With 3 Partnership Additions Amid Busy Hiring Market

The firm has strengthened its London white-collar and regulatory practice with the addition of David Rundle, a former criminal barrister who spent almost a decade at U.S. firm Wilmer Hale, where he was counsel.

HFW Flies In Aviation Heavyweight from Clyde & Co Asia

Peter Coles is currently based in Hong Kong and will be relocating back to London to rejoin HFW.

Ashurst Names Next London Managing Partner

Global loans partner Helen Burton, whose term as Ashurst’s London managing partner started on May 1, succeeds previous London leader Logan Mair, who was first appointed to the role alongside EMEA contentious financial services head Lynn Dunne back in 2021.

Cooley Taps Covington Veteran for London Life Sciences Hire

Cooley has strengthened its life sciences practice with the addition of a veteran partner from U.S. rival firm Covington & Burling. Corporate partner Simon Amies, who brings over 25 years experience, joins after more than twenty years at Covington, having first made partner at the firm in 2006, according to his LinkedIn profile.

EMEA

Veteran McDermott Germany Duo Walk to Reed Smith

Reed Smith has added two lawyers to its Munich office from McDermott Will & Emery, including the latter’s former head of private equity in Germany, as well as the founder of McDermott’s Germany branch. Partner Nikolaus von Jacobs joins as a partner in the firm’s Munich office, along with veteran ex-partner Christian von Sydow, who joins as senior counsel.

APAC

Ince Hong Kong Charts Own Path with Partner Hire

Priscilla Wong, most recently a counsel at Loeb & Loeb Hong Kong, has joined Ince’s Hong Kong partnership as a dispute resolution partner in its Hong Kong bench, suggesting the Asia arm of the ailing U.K.-headquartered firm may forge its own path.

Amber Group Legal Head Benjamin Bai Returns to Private Practice for King & Wood Mallesons

One of Greater China’s best-known IP lawyers, Bai joined Amber a year ago from Ant Group, where he was head of the company’s intellectual property legal team, and previously worked at Allen & Overy and Jones Day.

Shearman Hong Kong Loses Two Investigations Lawyers to Steptoe

With McKiernan’s joining, Steptoe will now count three partners in Hong Kong, one of whom is dually based. Steptoe & Johnson has added two investigations lawyers from Shearman & Sterling’s Hong Kong practice. The firm has added Brian Burke and Cáitrín McKiernan as partners to its investigations and white-collar crime practice.

Sullivan & Cromwell Lands Restructuring Partner in Hong Kong From Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland’s restructuring partner Jacqueline Tang will become Sullivan’s fourth partner in Hong Kong.

HFW Expands Australian Employment Practice with Perth Partner Hire

Holman Fenwick Willan is expanding its Australian employment practice with the hire of partner Simon Billing to its Perth office. Billing has over 30 years of employee relations experience both as a legal practitioner in private practice and employee relations consultant.

The Americas

Paul Hastings Adds Willkie Partner as Firm Seeks M&A Practice Growth

The law firm continues to be active in the lateral market, even in practice areas that aren’t firing on all cylinders right now. Its latest lateral partner hire is M&A lawyer Jon Kubek.

Senior DOJ Official Joins Mayer Brown Amid Big Law Demand for Data Security Lawyers

Adam Hickey, who was a deputy assistant attorney general with the DOJ’s National Security Division, noted that the government “has really strengthened its position on data security and data privacy.”

On the Move: Tracking the Ins and Outs of California Lawyers

New hires, promotions and awards from across the California legal market.

Perkins Coie Lands Renewable Energy Practice Leads From K&L Gates

As the market for renewable energy continues to grow, Perkins Coie has hired two K&L Gates partners who were the firm’s renewable energy practice leads: Portland-based Elizabeth Crouse and San Francisco-based Buck Endemann, the firm said Friday. The duo officially started on May 10.

Longtime King & Spalding Crisis Management Lawyer Moves to McGuireWoods

Adam Sowatzka, who spent the past decade with King & Spalding, joins several others who made the switch between the two firms in recent years.

Trio of Stroock Lawyers Moves to McDermott

Three lawyers from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan’s private client group are heading to McDermott Will & Emery, including the chair of the practice, McDermott said Thursday. The group includes New York-based Anita Rosenbloom, who led Stroock’s private client services group, as well as partner Jay Scharf (Miami) and counsel John Kiely (New York). Rosenbloom said the group is also bringing two fiduciary accountants and an administrator from its team at Stroock.

McCarter & English Lands Startup Pair From Ellenoff Grossman & Schole

Self-proclaimed “startup whisperer” James Smedley and fellow intellectual property attorney Alex Korona have joined New Jersey-based McCarter & English’s Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey, offices as partners in the firm’s IP practice.

Kirkland Lures Another Capital Markets Partner From Latham

Latham partner Shagufa Hossain joined Kirkland’s D.C. office, following Rachel Sheridan. Kirkland’s capital markets talent grab is the latest in a series of partner moves between the two highest-grossing law firms.

Greenspoon Marder Picks Up Pillsbury Partner Focused on International Transactions

“Whether it’s venture capital or private equity, sophisticated investors want to be in South Florida and it goes throughout industries,” said incoming Greenspoon Marder partner Jon Lyman. “There’s a lot of interesting work going on.”

Mergers & Alliances:

Stroock Plans to Merge With Nixon Peabody

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Nixon Peabody are discussing a merger between the firms, targeting this summer for announcing the combination publicly, sources with independent knowledge of the talks say.

Office Openings & Closing:

Dechert to Cut Global Workforce by 5%

The firm, which has offices in the U.K., Asia, the Middle East and Europe, is letting go of 55 attorneys and 43 business professionals, including a “redundancy” process that has begun in London.

Everlaw Lays Off 10% of Global Workforce to Prepare for Economic Uncertainty

This is the latest company to join the ranks of other e-discovery and legal tech companies who have announced layoffs in recent months.

Morgan & Morgan Growing Southeast Georgia Operations, Adding More Space in Savannah

Partner Jody Wade said he expected the Savannah office “to grow exponentially in lawyers and staff” with the move.

US Plaintiffs Firm Berger Montague Opens Toronto Office

“Massive opportunities” prompted Berger Montague’s foray into the Canadian market, the firm said. In the latest instance of a U.S. law firm looking to the Canadian market for growth, plaintiffs class action and commercial litigation firm Berger Montague has opened an office in Toronto.

Financials:

Revenue, Profits Drop at Finnegan in 2022, but Firm Invested in Growth

Among its investments, the intellectual property specialty firm opened an office in Munich. Between its offices in Munich and London, the firm said it now has more than 25 IP professionals in Europe, where the Unified Patent Court is set to open this summer, providing work for IP lawyers.

Brown Rudnick Sees PEP Surge 29% in Banner 2022, With ‘Well-Positioned’ Practice Mix

The firm saw success with a mix of litigation, white-collar and restructuring work. “With the economy headed the way it’s headed, we are well-positioned,” said chairman Vince Guglielmotti.

‘Not For the Faint of Heart’: Quinn Emanuel Charts Growth in Boston as More Big Law Firms Circle the Market

Just as financial services and IP litigation has helped Quinn grow to more than 40 attorneys in Boston, several other Am Law 200 are circling the market, interested in life sciences, private equity and transactional work.

These Two Firms Ended the UK Pay War—but at What Cost?

The two firms finally decided to match rivals on salaries last week but have they lost out after a year of being behind?

Technology & Innovation:

Corporate Bans of AI Tools Come With Their Own Risks

“You can ban it on company equipment but you can’t ban it on other devices that employees might be using. It would be like banning email, or Google search, or a reticence to using the Google enterprise suite of products,” said Nithya Das, former chief legal officer of Olo.

Ireland’s Shifting Fines Against Meta Reflect Growing Pains for EU Data Privacy Regulation

“Data regulation in Europe is not so complicated, but it’s not so easy, either,” said Marc Mossé, senior counsel at the French firm August Debouzy and a former attorney at Microsoft.

‘It Can Be Trained on Case Law’: How a Lawyer Is Using Generative AI Inspired by ChatGPT

Attorney Matt Q. Wetherington uses the technology to field incoming prospective client calls, for document creation and summarization tasks. He also thinks GPT could revolutionize depositions.

Legal Tech and Operations Firms Join Forces to Target France’s In-House Market

The Anglo-French partnership comes amid increasing demand from in-house teams for legal technology.

The CLO’s Role as the Board’s AI ‘Traffic Cop’

The increasing political, legal, scientific and media focus on the risks of artificial intelligence (“AI”) provides a new opportunity for the chief legal officer to support the role of corporate governance. Indeed, a series of recent developments focusing on the risks of AI have also added a sense of urgency to clarifying the board’s oversight obligations.

How Will ChatGPT Effect Criminal Lawyering?

One supposes that criminal lawyers are often dentist-like in their professional undertakings— trying to “extract” truth from clients, witnesses and even prosecutors. Are we, however, immune from substitution by designated hitters who can hit the ball out of the park digitally?

Diversity & Inclusion:

Law Firms in Australia Will Have to Report Gender Pay Gaps

Advocates hope the move will narrow the pay differential between men and women.

Addleshaws Introduces Raft of Offerings to Ease Partner Retirement Process

The firm’s head of responsible business said that the topic of partner retirement was “shrouded in some mystery and behind door conversations, and we wanted to change that”.

Market Commentary:

Baker McKenzie and Withers Eye Big Mandates From Global PE Firms’ Newly Established Real Estate Teams in Japan

Attracted by high yield spreads with Japan’s low interest rates, many global private equity funds are building out their teams to incorporate real estate into their strategy.

‘We Could Be Next’: As Law Firms Swing the Axe, Associates are Getting Anxious

‘What if this quietness means that I’m actually just dead weight that the firm needs to get rid of. That kind of thinking works its way into your bones.’ ‘Aligning staffing with levels of demand’. That was the reason Dechert gave last week for its decision to reduce its global workforce by 5%. The figures tally up: earlier this year, the firm posted a 15% profit dip, so it’s time to get the house in order.

Large Lateral Moves Are Raising the Competitive Ante for Law Firms

Precarious law firm partnerships have been disrupted by pandemic-era working conditions, industry consultants, recruiters and firm leaders have observed. New alliances have been formed across offices at the expense of the ties that used to bind lawyers with regular office attendance.

Gen-Z Less Interested in Big Law and Traditional Law Firm Paths

Lawyers and aspiring lawyers in the generation showed significantly more desire to work in-house, while the interest to go into government stayed consistent, according to a new survey.

Anti-ESG Sentiment Is on the Rise, But Law Firms Aren’t Flinching

Republican lawmakers like Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis have targeted the concept as they lean into culture war issues, but clients’ demands for advice haven’t ceased.

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