Weekly Update – 19th of June 2023


UK & Ireland

Boies Schiller Boosts London with Six-Lawyer Team Hire

The appointment of the highly-ranked partner and his team marks the latest move in the firm’s bid to rebuild its London operation. Pierre Valentin is set to join the firm along with five lawyers from boutique firm Constantine Cannon, the firm announced on Monday.


Wilson Sonsini Hires Baker McKenzie Partner and Former Regulator in Brussels

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s Brussels office has beefed up its Brussels privacy and cybersecurity practice with the hire of Yann Padova a Baker McKenzie partner with deep regulatory experience.

Long-Serving Allen & Overy Paris Partner Leaves for Norton Rose Fulbright

Jean-Claude Rivalland was a founding partner of Allen & Overy’s Paris office, according to Norton Rose’s statement, having joined the firm in 1999. During his near quarter-century career there, he served as the office’s managing partner from 2010 to 2018.


K&L Gates Lands BCLP Tokyo Finance Partner

K&L Gates added finance lawyer Dominic Gregory as a partner in Tokyo. A former Tokyo managing partner at Ashurst, has returned to Japan to join K&L Gates from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

DLA Piper, Dentons Hire Partners from Australia’s Holding Redlich

Dentons has hired corporate partner Warren Scott and DLA Piper has brought on projects partner Tony Rutherford.

Bird & Bird Grows Sydney Finance Team with Partner Hire

Bird & Bird has appointed banking and finance lawyer Tim Macmillan as a new partner for its financial and financial regulation practices in Sydney.

Bird & Bird Hires Sports Lawyer for Sydney Practice

Brianna Quinn joins from Swiss arbitration firm Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler. Bird & Bird has become the largest dedicated sports practice in Australia with the hire of partner Brianna Quinn for its Sydney office, its second Australia hire in a week.

King & Wood Mallesons Picks Up Melbourne Construction Partner

Melbourne-based Jane Hider is moving over from Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Jane has more than 20 years’ of experience and specialises in major projects and procurement, real estate development and transport and energy infrastructure.

Mayer Brown Lands Veteran M&A Partner From Greenberg Traurig in Tokyo

U.S.-qualified Eiji Kobayashi, who was most recently a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Tokyo, has become Mayer Brown’s third partner in Japan.

Charles Russell Speechlys Adds Family Lawyer to Hong Kong Partnership

The firm now counts six partners and 14 other lawyers in the city-state. Vanessa Duff, who has spent the last 15 years at Withers and was most recently a senior associate, joins the firm to focus on family law including issues arising from divorce, financial arrangements and separation, custody, child maintenance, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements.

The Americas

In New Houston Office, Clifford Chance Adds Jones Day, Kirkland Partners

Jones Day partner Alexandra Wilde and Kirkland & Ellis partner Enoch Varner are among seven lateral partner hires tapped to launch Clifford Chance’s Houston office.

Simpson Thacher Again Dips into Lateral Pool, Takes Another Partner From Paul Weiss

Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett has gone back to Paul Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to recruit its second partner from the firm in a week, with M&A lawyer Justin Rosenberg joining Simpson in New York, the firm announced Monday.

As Trials Ramp Up, Arnold & Porter Adds DLA Piper Litigator in Houston

DLA Piper litigation and investigations partner Allissa Pollard has moved to Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s Houston office, which is expanding its trial team.

Sidley Austin’s DC Office Snags First Chair Trial Lawyer From Covington & Burling

“The regulatory area of our firm … is a bit more active in a couple of areas, including antitrust. And we see that there’s a lot of top national talent that just happens to be based in D.C., like Jennifer,” said Yvette Ostolaza, Sidley’s management committee chair.

Wigdor Grows Practice with Pickup of Three Experienced Employment Attorneys

The new hires said they were drawn to Wigdor because of the firm’s reputation for successfully handling cases on behalf of individuals or groups who are taking on powerful and deep-pocketed institutions.

Simpson Thacher Again Dips into Lateral Pool, Takes Another Partner From Paul Weiss

Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett has gone back to Paul Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to recruit its second partner from the firm in a week, with M&A lawyer Justin Rosenberg joining Simpson in New York, the firm announced Monday.

Baker McKenzie Snags Paul Hastings’ Former Latin America Head, Along With Team of Partners and Associates

Former Paul Hastings Latin America practice head Michael Fitzgerald, who is considered a pioneering U.S.-based lawyer in Latin America, is moving to Baker McKenzie along with two long-time collaborators, partners Joy Gallup and Arturo Carrillo, a counsel and several associates.

Freshfields Becomes Latest to Add to Antitrust Practice With Two New Partners

Antitrust litigators Heather Lamberg and Justina Sessions will join the firm in Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley respectively.

Two Lawyers Move to Establish Tax Controversy Practice at Morris Manning in Atlanta

Barclay Taylor and William Stone moved from Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, William & Aughtry’s tax controversy practice group to Morris Manning. Taylor will serve as of counsel, and Stone will serve as an associate.

Wilson Sonsini Hires Spaceflight Former CEO as Space Sector Sees ‘Astronomic Growth’

Curt Blake joined as co-lead of the firm’s newly launched NewSpace industry group, which represents clients such as Astranis, BlackSky and Skylo Technologies.

Spain’s ECIJA Expands in Mexico With Intellectual Property Hire

The new partner previously ran the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property and held other important policy roles before joining a local law firm and now ECIJA. Miguel Ángel Margáin joins from Mexican firm Pérez Correa González, bringing more than 30 years of experience in both the private and public sectors as well as a specialization in technology.

Dentons Canada Brings on Experienced Banker as Partner in Toronto Office

Lisa Ford leaves the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to join the firm’s national banking and finance group.


Women’s General Counsel Network Founder Joins Climate Consultancy as It Expands Globally

“What could be better than working at a company whose mission is to help businesses and their customers take urgent action on climate change,” Jan Kang, general counsel of San Francisco-based 3Degrees Group, wrote on LinkedIn.

Lending Tree General Counsel Exits to Join Silicon Valley Stock-Exchange Startup

Lisa Young said she was drawn to the Long-Term Stock Exchange’s focus on long-term business thinking, which helps companies “be better corporate citizens and further interests that benefit society.”

Axiom Hires Former Mastercard, Pitney Bowes Attorney as GC

Veteran in-house attorney Ashlin Quirk started out as a client of Axiom, a provider of on-demand legal talent. Now, she’s jumping across the chasm to help run the business.

Largest Family-Owned Cinema Chain Promotes Compliance Chief to GC

“It’s just wonderful to be part of a team where you have the owner working with you so closely. It goes a long way toward establishing a family atmosphere,” said Max McCauley, general counsel of Harkins Theatres.

Former Tanger GC Joins DC Hotel Investor RLJ Lodging Trust

Chad Perry is the new executive vice president and general counsel at the high-end hotel investment company.

AI Startup Taps DoorDash Privacy Lead as CLO

“As the market matures, security, compliance and privacy will become a top priority for companies looking to leverage AI solutions. It’s important that AI firms, like Inbenta, take steps now to differentiate themselves in this area,” Inbenta CLO Adam Rivera said of his new role.

Former SpaceX, Lucasfilm GC Joins Charter Flight Startup

“Surf Air attracts people passionate about the future of flight, and we couldn’t be more excited to have someone as forward thinking as David join us as chief legal officer,” said Sudhin Shahani, co-founder and CEO of Surf Air.

Promotions & Appointments:

Wilmer Taps NY White-Collar Partner as Next Leader for a Series of ‘Firsts’

New managing partner-elect Anjan Sahni will be the firm’s first ‘solo’ managing partner since the 2004 merger, the first firm leader to be located in New York and the first person of Sikh faith to run any Big Law firm.

Clifford Chance Names First Managing Partner for New York

Ness Cohen stepped into the new role Thursday as the firm continues to find ways to expand its U.S. presence.

Skadden Names New Executive Partner as Eric Friedman Steps Aside After 15 Years at the Helm

Skadden has selected Jeremy London to succeed Eric Friedman as executive partner, effective April 2024.

Houston Litigator Elected Next Managing Partner of Baker Botts

Partners in Baker Botts tapped Houston partner Danny David, a co-chair of the firm’s litigation department and a member of the executive committee, as the firm’s next managing partner.

Mergers & Alliances:

From ‘Neither’s First Choice’ to ‘Substantial Benefits for Both Firms,’ Big Law Leaders React to Proposed A&O-Shearman Merger

Sources predicted that despite rhetoric from both firms about the combined entity’s global balance, its investment and energy will be focused on the U.S.

Mourant Expands into Luxembourg With Acquisition of Two Local Outfits

Mourant now has eight global offices and says it ‘has ambitious plans’ to attract talent to support the growth and development of both teams. Offshore law firm Mourant has expanded into Luxembourg with the acquisition of two local outfits, law firm LexField and its affiliated governance services business, FideField.

Office Openings & Closing:

Will San Francisco Make a Comeback? This Firm Is Betting on It

Lewis Roca opened a San Francisco office, replacing its Silicon Valley footprint, with the aim to ramp up recruitment and expand its practice areas in the region.

Kirkland & Ellis to Launch Saudi Office

It becomes the latest major firm to leverage lucrative opportunities in the Middle East. For the launch, the world’s largest law firm by revenue has hired a partner from Latham & Watkins and two local partners from White & Case ahead of the office’s opening, according to a person at the firm.

French Law Firm Opens in Abu Dhabi

France-based law firm SRDB has opened an office in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi. The operation will be headed up by two of the firm’s existing lawyers, disputes specialist Chafic Nehmé and financing and corporate governance expert Karl Khoury, who began their careers in Lebano, the firm announced. The firm now has 20 offices in Europe, the Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa.

Clifford Chance Adds Jones Day, Kirkland Partners In New Texas Office as US Expansion Continues

Jones Day partner Alexandra Wilde and Kirkland & Ellis partner Enoch Varner are among seven lateral partner hires tapped to launch Clifford Chance’s Houston office.

Proskauer Rose Calls It Quits in Beijing

The firm has confirmed that it will be closing its office on mainland China. But it says it will continue to operate in Hong Kong, where it has had an office for 15 years.

Kim & Chang Expands Into Indonesia with Jakarta Desk Launch

Kim & Chang’s Indonesia desk launch comes about six months after it launched its second Vietnamese outfit in Hanoi.


Boutique Firm Exceeds Big Law Pay Scale for Incoming Associates

In an aggressive effort to grow its head count, Dallas-founded litigation boutique Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors has raised the starting salary for incoming first-year associates to $250,000.

Technology & Innovation:

AI is Saving Up to 50% of Lawyers’ Time, Say Heavyweight African Firms

Bowmans, Webber Wentzel and Cliff Dekker Hofmeyr all say they are investing heavily in the technology.

New AI Tool Could Aid In Unlocking The Mysteries Of AI-Based Legal Reasoning

OpenAI has released a new AI tool intended to aid researchers in exploring and ascertaining how generative AI such as the widely popular GPT apps can deeply analyze text and fluently interact in a human-like manner. This tool is a handy means to also examine how generative AI can undertake legal tasks and seemingly perform AI-based legal reasoning.

AI Considerations for In-House Counsel

Having an AI policy that outlines acceptable use, and documenting assessments that establish that AI systems are used in a manner consistent with the policy and that the benefits outweigh potential harms, can go a long way in managing legal and reputational risk.

Amid Generative AI Boom, Law Firms’ Metaverse Offices Stuck in ‘Holding Pattern’

Law firms eagerly invested in the metaverse in 2021 and 2022. But since then, high costs to entry are keeping the audience for such virtual services stagnant.

Combating Legal Burnout: Harnessing Technology to Optimize Efficiency and Alleviate Industry Challenges

It is crucial for law firms to consider their ability to streamline general document and record retrieval processes and maintenance. Doing so will result in significant time savings, ultimately reducing industry burnout and enhancing work-life quality and balance.

5 Ways APIs Are Affecting the Legal Ecosystem

More APIs mean faster and more convenient integrations. But as the plug-ins are fast spreading across legal, they are bringing with them their own risks and concerns.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Who Are the 2023 Diversity Initiative Honorees?

These law firms were honored for their diversity, equity and inclusion program efforts.

The Law Firms With the Most Female Equity Partners, 2023

Ropes & Gray, Trowers & Hamlins and Cooley topped the ranking of the UK equity partnerships with the most women, but wider progress at the top level has stalled.

Legal Remains One of the Least Socioeconomically Diverse Sectors in the UK

The legal sector stands to gain significantly from access to the top jobs being decided on merit, rather than limiting opportunities only to those with financial advantages or networks.

Market Commentary:

Legal Departments Hit Accelerator on Insourcing as Cost Pressures Rise

One driver of the trend is in-house frustration over law firm inefficiencies, such as attorneys’ showing off how much they know and commenting excessively on draft documents.

Orrick Lays Off Attorneys and Staff, Defers Incoming Class

The firm is letting go of about 40 associates and 50 staff members due to reduced client demand in some areas and the impact of technology, data and the evolving workplace on the type of support it needs to operate.

Reed Smith Cuts Global Workforce by 50 to Address Demand Slump

Around 20 staff members and 30 lawyers, including those in corporate and bankruptcy practices, are affected, according to sources with knowledge of the cuts.

The Law Firm Disrupted: ‘It’s Lonely at the Top’

A new survey of law firm leaders finds that while expectations for the role are becoming more formalized, they’re still not keeping pace with the growing complexity of the job.

Global Competition Regulators Look Ahead at Enforcement Goals

Continued robust enforcement of antitrust laws in the tech and digital markets, and grounding killer acquisitions were key themes during the Enforcers Roundtable.

Hybrid Work Schedules May Be Here to Stay

“I don’t know if the traditional five days will return in full. There may be some pushback. I do think people have adjusted to the three- to four-day (schedule),” said one legal recruiter.

‘The Power Is Going Back to the Law Firms’: Only Modest Pay Hikes Likely at Australian Firms in the Coming Year

The lower raises come after two years of outsized pay increases.

The FTSE 100 is More Global Than Ever. So Why Isn’t Slaughters?

It trumpets its position as ‘the advisers to corporate Britain’, but research by Law.com International shows the extent to which the firm’s core client base seeks out other advisers on non-UK mandates.

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