Weekly Update – 17th of April 2023


UK & Ireland

London Boutique Launches White-Collar Practice with Another Lateral From HSF

Herbert Smith Freehills partner Dan Hudson has joined disputes boutique Seladore, becoming the latest partner to follow the same route.



HSF Announces New Antitrust Leadership

Kyriakos Fountoukakos to serve as managing partner of global competition and trade team.

Signature Litigation builds in Paris with three-lawyer team

Jérémie Fierville folds boutique into UK disptues firm as it seeks ‘sustained growth’



Herbert Smith Freehills Singapore ally launches local disputes practice with Morgan Lewis team

Leading litigator Daniel Chia joins Prolegis with three-lawyer team to head new practice.

India’s Trilegal secures eight-strong M&A team from rival Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas

Team is led by Amit Khansaheb, who assembled group while at BMR Legal before moving to Shardul in 2017.

Watson Farley & Williams hires White & Case asset finance team for Tokyo debut

UK firm follows up Seoul launch in February with new office focused on aviation and maritime finance work.


The Americas

These Attorneys Left Big Law to Chase ‘Ocean’ of Mid-Market Activity, and It’s Paying Off

As a new generation of lawyers shifts its thinking around career goals, more than a few attorneys have left their Big Law jobs behind to tap into the middle market. Now, two new firms created out of this impulse share one problem: There’s more demand than either can swallow.

New Hires, Promotions and Awards from Across the California Legal Market.

An overview of the promotions and hires from across the Californian market including that of McManis Faulkner’s managing partner Elizabeth Pipkin and Dana Kennedy joining Miller Starr Regalia.

Goodwin Lands Orrick Real Estate Partner Dustin Calkins, in San Francisco

Dustin Calkins is the firm’s third partner hire in the Golden State this year. Goodwin Procter has hired Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe real estate partner Dustin Calkins in San Francisco, the firm announced Thursday.

Hogan Lovells Builds San Francisco Bench with Arnold & Porter Litigator

Hogan Lovells on Thursday hired consumer products litigator Trenton Norris in Northern California.

Latham Partner Advising Hunter Biden Leaves for NY Litigation Boutique

Chris Clark, who represents Hunter Biden in a federal tax investigation, is joining white-collar litigation boutique Clark Smith Villazor.

Push to Promote Lawyers to Partner Continues at Big Firms in Texas

A total of 22 of the 25 firms with the most lawyers in Texas promoted 6.4% more partners in Texas in 2022 than in 2021, continuing a trend from the prior year.

Eighth Ex-Dentons Attorney Joins K&L Gates in Pittsburgh

Scott Graham joins seven former colleagues who jumped from Dentons Cohen & Grigsby corporate and private equity practices in January.

McCarter & English Elects 7 New Partners

McCarter & English recently announced the election of seven new partners, including Travis Ferguson, a business litigation lawyer, who works out of both the firm’s Wilmington and Newark, New Jersey, offices.

Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott has welcomed Elaine M. Ross

She joins the firm’s Philadelphia office from Rawle & Henderson, where she was a partner, and brings with her over 25 years of litigation experience.

Gunster Hires 2 Former Florida Officials as Lobbyists Set to Work on Key State Issues

Simone Marstiller and Trey Price are joining the corporate law firm after serving in state-level government roles, where they both worked closely with other state officials.



How Will 6 New Alibaba GCs Shake Up the Legal Landscape in Asia?

The six new general counsel expected to oversee the six separate companies that will result from the breakup of Alibaba announced last month are expected to create a shakeup in the legal market in Asia, lawyers say.

Former Chime, Capital One Counsel Snags GC Job at Fintech Startup

Method Financial, a fintech startup backed by Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz, has hired former Capital One assistant general counsel Phil Chang as its first legal chief.

Bausch + Lomb Replaces Legal Chief Weeks After CEO Change

Bob Bailey is retaking the legal reins of the eye care giant after a decade away. He’ll work under recently hired CEO Brent Saunders, whom he formerly worked for at three companies.

Amid Unionization Pressures, Starbucks Goes Outside to Hire Legal Chief

The Seattle-based coffee giant’s new CEO is handing the legal reins to a former Medtronic, Fannie Mae and Pfizer legal executive Brad Lerman. The company has operated with an acting GC for the past year.

Rackspace Replaces Legal Chief Who Quit After Company Cut Her Duties

The cloud computing company handed the legal reins to Michael Bross, who has deep leadership experience, including a decadelong stint as general counsel of a business Rackspace acquired.


Promotions & Appointments:

Partners Elevated at Flood Law Firm and Madsen Prestley & Parenteau

Claire Howard and Daren Altieri have been promoted at their respective firms. Madsen Prestley & Parenteau recently promoted Claire M. Howard to partner. Howard represents individual employees in a range of employment disputes including whistle blower, discrimination and contractual disputes.


Office Openings & Closing:

Michelman & Robinson Charts Growth in New York With 10-Year Office Lease

The Los Angeles-founded firm has strengthened its bicoastal footprint with a bigger office space in New York, where it expects to soon hit the 25-attorney mark.

Allen & Overy flags eco-credentials as it signs deal to move Sydney team to landmark 33 Alfred Street Tower

UK firm to lease 2,500 sq metres of historic tower from 2025 following eco-friendly refurbishment.

Rajah & Tann litigation partners exit to launch Singapore boutique

Danny Ong and Wern-Jhien Yam leave Singapore Big Four firm to open shop focused on dispute resolution, financial crime and insolvency.

Greenberg Traurig eyes Asia renewables boom as firm opens in Singapore

Singapore launch follows Riyadh opening last month; firm also mulls expansion in Dubai, Brazil



RPL Ticks Up at Hunton Andrews Kurth in 2022, But Profits Fall Following Record 2021

Revenue slipped by 3.1% at Hunton Andrews Kurth, but the firm’s lawyer head count also declined by 4.9% in 2022. Net income, meanwhile, dropped by more than 17%.

Sidley Grew Revenue 4% and PEP 12% Amid Shifts in Partner Ranks

The contraction in the equity tier and the growth of the nonequity ranks are not a result of de-equitizing partners, but a consequence of significant lateral hiring and its largest-ever partner class, the firm said.

Even with Profitability ‘Squeeze,’ Perkins Coie Sees Modest Revenue Growth

Perkins Coie’s gross revenue grew slightly to $1.16 billion last year, while profits per equity partner fell 8.5% to $1.52 million.

Schulte Rides Private Capital Work to 8% Revenue Growth as PEP Takes Slight Dip

The firm’s two largest practices, investment management and litigation, were up 17% and 25%, respectively, Schulte said.

Am Law 100 Firms Reconsider the ‘Givens’ in Their Expense Budgets

Two years ago, law firms realized skyrocketing profits because they had no choice but to work remotely. Today, the cost-benefit analysis of spending on travel and in-person meetings is a matter of their own volition.

Why U.S. and U.K. Firms Capture More Profit

A look into the theory on the financial benefit of common law legal systems.

After Two ‘Boom Years,’ White & Case Sees Drop in Revenue and Profits

Profits per equity partner sank 20.2% to $2.8 million, but firm chair Hugh Verrier said he anticipates a “big bounce-back year.”

Revenue Up at Most Homegrown Texas Firms in 2022, but Profit Growth Lagged

A number of the firms brought in a record amount of revenue in 2022, compared with 2021.

Winston Kept Revenue Above $1B Threshold, While PEP Rose Amid Some Partner Exits

Litigation work buoyed the firm in 2022, led by representations of Boeing, Monsanto and Abbott Laboratories in high-profile products liability matters.

Baker Donelson Sees Record Year Amid Hikes in Demand and Billing Rates

Even after a rate hike, the firm said its billing rates were still desirable because of how they compare across its office markets.

UK Listed Law Firm Ince Group, Facing ‘Increasing Pressure on Cash Flows,’ Says It Will Appoint Administrator

The news follows successive delays in the firm’s financial reporting.

Top Spanish firm Cuatrecasas sees revenue grow 4.7% to hit new record

Firm’s revenue rises to €352.66m for the 2022 fiscal year as Latin American and Portuguese business grows.


Technology & Innovation:

ChatGPT & Generative AI: Everything You Need to Know

Corporate legal departments are increasingly receiving requests from business clients to use ChatGPT or similar AI-powered tools in their operations. These requests can be urgent, with business clients demanding enablement from legal. This article is in two parts: Part One briefly details what “generative AI” tools like ChatGPT are and provides an overview of key legal considerations, including by looking forward to upcoming AI-specific legislation in the EU and the U.S.

Chatbots Can Raise Unique Labour and Employment Law Risks

While few areas of the country have passed laws directly regulating artificial intelligence applications to date, introducing a human resources chatbot to your workplace still carries potential risk of violating any number of established labour and employment laws.

An Insurer Sent Law Firms a ChatGPT Warning. It Likely Won’t Be the Last

A legal insurance provider warned policyholders of the legal and cybersecurity risks of using ChatGPT. Given the chatbot’s rapid adoption, more scrutiny of the generative AI tool from insurers is likely to follow.

Proskauer Data Breach Underscores Hazards of Transitioning to the Cloud

Proskauer Rose is investigating a data breach after large tranches of sensitive client information were found to be publicly accessible from its cloud-based site, highlighting the vulnerabilities that can exist when organizations transition their internal data to the cloud.

Supercomputers Soon Will Crack Encryption. Is Your Company Ready?

“With this level of breach that can and will happen, you can’t afford to take a wait-and-see approach if you are managing sensitive data,” said Rebecca Krauthamer, co-founder of quantum cybersecurity software firm QuSecure.

Report Predicts $8 Trillion in Losses From Cyber Threats This Year

“Phishing has evolved past the Nigerian prince who wants to give you an inheritance you have never heard of, to somebody that you work with in accounting sending you what looks like a legitimate email saying, ‘There has been a last-minute change on the deal, and we need to change the wire transfer numbers,'” said Edward McNicholas, a Ropes & Gray partner.

DLA Piper Global Tech Co-Chair Says General Counsel Need Help With AI

Interest in the way in which technology can be used — and abused — in the practice of law has surged since the launch of ChatGPT.

3 Ways AI Digitization Helps Offload Manual Demand at Law Firms

Although it’s the high-profile attempts to replace human lawyers that have made their way to newsrooms, there’s plenty of industry-disrupting overhaul going on behind the scenes.


Diversity & Inclusion:

Morris Manning Expands on Efforts With South’s First LGBTQ Business Practice

The Atlanta-based firm’s new venture, which launched Monday, will “offer culturally conscious legal services to LGBTQ businesses and Fortune 500 companies,” according to a news release.

ABA Awards 5 Highly Accomplished Women Lawyers for Professional Excellence

The American Bar Association has announced the recipients of the 2023 Margaret Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award including a Hawaii Supreme Court justice, a New York University law professor, and Sidley Austin’s management committee chair.

Freshfields Beats Gender Target for Third Year in a Row in Latest Partner Promotion Round

Magic circle firm elevates 30 to partner – three more than in 2022 – with women accounting for 53% of promotions.


Market Commentary:

What Does It Take to Get Lawyers Back in the Office?

The legal industry personnel would come back to the office at least one more day per week if their firm provided their “ideal” mix of work experiences, a survey suggests.

The U.S.-U.K. Rivalry in Asia: Turns Out No One Has Asia Down Pat

In Asia, U.S. law firms have toppled the old British guard. This has been true for the last two years, at least. American firms have pushed and shoved their way to the top, now dominating the top 25 legal adviser league tables for acting on the largest and highest collective value mergers and acquisitions involving Asian corporates.

In Response to Layoff Chatter, Ropes & Gray Cites ‘Merits-Based Evaluation Process’

Ropes said a performance management process is part of its “normal course.” Industry observers say “aggressive” performance reviews this year are resulting in an increasingly blurry line between layoffs and review-time cuts.

Why Legal Department Generational Shifts Are Tying GCs in Knots

“There’s so much insecurity rooted in establishing a paradigm where he who works the most is the most valuable,” said Foster Sayers, general counsel of Pramata.

The Ever-Changing Minefield of Employment Law in New York

New York state and New York City labor and employment laws are a shifting minefield. Laws may change so swiftly that an employer who is in compliance at one time may find itself quickly out of compliance once New York State or New York City passes a new law. Employers must keep up or face potential peril.

‘Law Firms Are Really Expensive’: How In-House Leaders Ensure They Get Their Money’s Worth

“There are some lawyers that have been practicing for a number of years or with the firm a number of years that don’t have the experience or knowledge,” said Stephen Kim, chief legal officer of Avicanna.

Linklaters ‘Redesigns’ Low-Cost Arm and Commits to Remote Working Model

Limitless by Linklaters will offer alternative legal services without need for regional hub, firm says.

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