UK & Ireland
A Weil Gotshal & Manges private equity partner duo has quit to join rival firm Sidley Austin. James MacArthur and Ed Freeman are leaving the U.S.-led law firm’s London office to join Sidley Austin’s energy, transportation & infrastructure practice, according to several people with knowledge of the move.
Defections from US law firm Shearman & Sterling’s international network have continued, with partners departing the New York firm’s Paris and Dubai offices for Allen & Overy (A&O) and King & Spalding (K&S) respectively. In Paris corporate partner Guillaume Isautier has joined A&O alongside counsel Martin Chassany and senior assoicate Gaspard Bastien-Thiry, while projects partner Brendan Hundt has moved over to K&S in the UAE.
Spain-based ECIJA has hired a new litigation and arbitration partner in its Barcelona office in what is the firm’s first global partner hire since it formed a strategic alliance with Taylor Wessing. Gorka Goenechea had been a partner at Catalan law firm Balaguer Morera y Asociados for more than 15 years. He specializes in corporate, financial and construction sector conflicts, according to ECIJA.
The Spanish arm of U.K.-based law firm DWF has brought on a four-lawyer, partner-led banking and finance team from Mazars España. Jesús Estévez, who was a partner at Mazars for three years, also was previously a partner at Fieldfisher, Ernst & Young and Baker McKenzie, according to his LinkedIn profile. He joins DWF-RCD, the name the firm has used in Spain ever since DWF absorbed the Spanish firm Rousaud Costas Duran in 2019, as a partner in the firm’s banking and finance area in Madrid.
International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has hired a finance partner in the firm’s Frankfurt office. Fritz Kleweta joins the firm in Germany from Paul Hastings. He leaves the U.S. firm’s Frankfurt office after 12 years, including four years as a partner beginning in 2019.
Corporate partner Neil Torpey, who was senior partner for Asia at Paul Hastings and chair of the firm’s Hong Kong office, has joined Baker Botts as a corporate partner.
Norton Rose Fulbright has made its second Australian partner hire in two days, with financial crime prosecutor Sonja Marsic joining the global law firm in Sydney.
Big Four Japanese law firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto has added criminal case and investigation expert, Mitsuhiro Hasegawa, as special counsel.
International law firm Ashurst has hired an experienced employment partner and former prosecutor to bolster its growing workplace health and safety practice. Sydney-based Scarlet Reid, who joins from the partnership of local firm McCullough Robertson, has specialized in workplace health and safety and employment law for 25 years. Her safety practice focuses on investigations, incident management, and assisting clients to respond to safety regulators.
Singapore firm Big Four firm Rajah & Tann has added an international arbitration lawyer to its partnership in Singapore. Vanina Sucharitkul will initially be based in Bangkok and will eventually relocate to Singapore.
Wendell Bartnick, who focuses on digital health matters, boomeranged back to Reed Smith after departing last August to join Holland & Knight as a partner in Houston.
In the face of a volatile financial market, Michael McGrath, an asset management and investment funds attorney, is joining Dechert from K&L Gates in Boston as a partner.
AmLaw 100 firm Baker & Hostetler announced the addition of three new partners focused on M&A and insurance regulatory work. Two of the lawyers, Tony Roehl and Lori Bibb, will be based in Atlanta, while Joe Holahan takes up his role for the firm—which goes by BakerHostetler—in D.C. All three partners are joining from Atlanta-based Morris, Manning & Martin along with four associates, a counsel, a paralegal and a legal assistant.
Jenay Nurse Guilford has taken the title of Executive Director at the helm of the Center for Appellate Litigation as it expands its mission.
Adams and Reese, a midsize law firm, recently announced five new lateral hires at its Atlanta office. In a March 9 news release, the New Orleans-founded firm said partner Robert L. Welch, special counsel Timothy P. Veith, associates Bennett B. Secrest and Madalyn S. Davis and foreign licensed attorney Javier A. Gonzalez have joined Adams and Reese from Drew Eckl & Farnham. With the new hires, Adams and Reese today has 15 attorneys and advisers in its Atlanta office.
Post & Schell has acquired three attorneys with leadership experience from Marks, O’Neill, O’Brien, Doherty & Kelly, in a move that occurred before the Philadelphia insurance defense firm lost 19 attorneys to Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani in the first week of March.
Kenneth Field spent a decade at the firm after a spell at FTC’s Bureau of Competition during the Bush and Obama administrations.
Latham & Watkins global co-chair of fintech has left the firm to join U.K.-led rival Allen & Overy’s Washington D.C. office. Todd Beauchamp joins A&O as head of its U.S. payments practice, according to a release by the firm on Wednesday.
Allen & Overy has added Kirkland & Ellis private equity partner Romain Dambre to its U.S. corporate practice, as U.K. headquartered firms continue to grow their stateside ranks.
May Cheng is “betting on herself,” leaving behind 30 years in Big Law to join a small Toronto firm started by an Asian woman. Cheng, a Lexpert/ALM 500-ranked intellectual property lawyer, left elite Canadian firm Osler Hoskin & Harcourt to join the six-lawyer shop Dipchand.
The world’s largest charitable foundation tapped a longtime member of its legal department to succeed Connie Collingsworth, who has retired after 20 years as CLO.
US dental machinery-maker Dentsply Sirona has hired Richard Rosenzweig as its new GC, with previous legal head Cheree Johnson becoming a special advisor to the company’s recently installed CEO Simon Campion.
A Sidley Austin London managing associate has joined fund manager Daiwa International Capital Partners (DICP) as its first general counsel. Matthew Anson, who had been at Sidley as a London senior managing associate for three years, joins DICP, which was founded in 2020 as an independent fund manager with the support of Japanese securities firm Daiwa Securities Group.
The general counsel of transport company Abellio UK has become a director of the relaunched company, following the completion of a long-awaited management buyout deal. Edward Walker, who became Abellio UK’s first GC in 2020, has become director of the newly-established Transport UK Group.
Mergers & Alliances:
Uncertainty looms for lawyers at MJ Hudson as the legal arm will not be included in the sale of the firm to a private investor, The Lawyer can confirm. Tower Gate Capital, a subsidiary of MJ Hudson, has agreed to sell its UK fund management business to a private investor via special purpose acquisition vehicle Khepri.
Top 20 US law firm Greenberg Traurig has expanded into Saudi Arabia by forming an affiliation with US rival Squire Patton Boggs’ former ally, Khalid Al-Thebity Law Firm, in Riyadh.
Corbett & Co, a three-partner construction law boutique well-known internationally for its work in all forms of construction disputes, is to merge with London law firm Howard Kennedy.
Office Openings & Closing:
Dentons has announced it will combine with its ally in the Philippines, as the global giant moves to become a leading law firm in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.
Gowling WLG is opening a third office in Germany with four partner hires from Taylor Wessing and a fifth partner to be announced. The new office will be based in Germany’s financial center, Frankfurt, as part of the firm’s wider growth strategy in “key global markets, including Germany,” and to “drive growth throughout Europe,” according to a statement.
One of Japan’s Big Four law firms, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, has announced its plan to launch an office in New York, its first office outside Asia, in the fall of this year.
Founding partner Henrique Martins has moved to the Spanish capital, where he will oversee an office and court clients in an unconventional market for a Brazilian firm.
Revenue at Morrison & Foerster crossed the $1.2 billion mark again in 2022, while future-facing investments in laterals and other expenses contributed to a 12.6% fall in net income.
A year of double-digit growth in net income and profits per equity partner was followed by one in which these figures dropped by similar margins.
Even with a slight uptick in the equity ranks, the firm’s profits per equity partner was up 2.9%, hitting $2.16 million.
Blank Rome managed to net double-digit profitability increases for the second year in a row in 2022, with equity partner profits climbing 10.2% to $1.3 million and net income 11.6% to $208.9 million.
For three decades, Sheppard Mullin has seen revenue growth. The streak continued in 2022, in the second year the firm has surpassed the $1 billion mark.
The firm’s middle-market private equity clients were “thriving” last year, said Benesch’s leader. “More clients are expanding their relationships with us,” he said.
With more than 70 offices around the globe, DLA Piper leveraged its broad footprint and roster of more than 4,000 lawyers to continue growing throughout a year that challenged certain offices in Europe and Asia.
Technology & Innovation:
A guide to the key terms you need to know and understand when discussing AI.
As large language models (LLMs) begin to power a host of innovations, from ChatGPT to contract lifecycle management tools, law firms are looking to get ahead of what they see as both business opportunity and a market disruption.
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) following a run on its deposits has spurred legal teams on both sides of the Atlantic into action advising on the fall out from what the Financial Times called the second-largest bank failure in US history.
For now, many lawyers in the U.K. are closely following the progress of the Online Safety Bill as it could significantly transform the tech industry. But down the road, the legal sector might not be entirely immune to the bill’s impact either.
Big Four firm PwC’s tax and legal arm has begun using ChatGPT-style tool Harvey, as the legal sector continues exploring how AI can better assist its people.
Diversity & Inclusion:
While representation has slowly improved over the years, women still only comprise approximately 28% of the total partnership at Am Law 200 firms, a figure that has been a continuous target for improvement in Big Law.
A controversial bill that would carry out Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in state colleges and universities began moving forward Monday in the Florida House, while students came out in force to oppose it.
Elizabeth Rimmer explains why stigma is the main obstacle preventing improvements in wellbeing within the profession – and what can be done about it.
Baroness Floella Benjamin, one of the first black television presenters in the UK and a prominent diversity campaigner, will host next week’s Women and Diversity in Law Awards.
UK lawyers, consultants and GCs all agree cost pressures are causing clients to push for discounts, fixed fees and delayed payments, but others say there are also cultural issues at play.
Around one in 10 in-house legal teams say their regulatory obligations have been compromised due to pressures to meet organisational priorities, according to a new survey of in-house lawyers based in England and Wales from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Aided by the post-pandemic pay war, newly qualified (NQ) solicitors at London’s top paying law are pocketing sums few will have predicted possible just a decade earlier.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has announced the liberalisation of the Indian legal market after more than two decades of restrictions.
Talent wars and remote work are pushing firms to be more systematic about understanding the dynamics that drive the way their personnel interact.
The firm culture from which I benefited greatly as a junior attorney can be replicated with the hybrid model, but it will need to be a targeted hybrid approach that relies on more deliberate and purposeful input and action by associates, partners and administrators alike to create what “the best of both worlds” looks like for each firm.