Weekly Update – 21st of August 2023


UK & Ireland

Kirkland PE Heavyweight Neel Sachdev Joins Paul Weiss with 3 Other Partners

Paul Weiss’ own London head moved to Kirkland earlier this month. Kirkland & Ellis rainmaker Neel Sachdev is leading a team of four partners out of the firm to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Sachdev and fellow debt finance partners, Kanesh Balasubramaniam, Matthew Merkle and Deirdre Jones have all joined Paul Weiss’ London office.

Raid on Kirkland: 10 More US and UK Lawyers Expected to Join Paul Weiss

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison’s raid of Kirkland & Ellis this month includes a four-partner London team led by private equity giant Neel Sachdev as well as other partners in the U.S. and U.K.—a team that could number more than ten lawyers in all. Sources confirmed that Paul Weiss has also hired Kirkland debt finance partner Eric Wedel, who had been with the firm for almost 17 years, working out of New York and Los Angeles. It is anticipated that Wedel will bring a team of three or four partners with him, sources said.

BonelliErede Targets London Expansion with Partner Additions

It isn’t the only elite firm in the Slaughter and May network to eye London growth, with Cravath adding partners to its UK base earlier in the year.


Fieldfisher Makes 2 Partner Hires in Madrid From Dentons, Jones Day

UK firm plans to increase Spanish revenue by 50% by 2025. Eduardo Gómez de Enterría has joined Fieldfisher in Madrid as head of employment after leading Dentons’ practice for three years, and real estate partner Victor Casarrubios has joined the office after heading Jones Day’s real estate practice in Spain since 2007.

White & Case Doha Managing Partner Walks to Mayer Brown

Anne Wicks had been with White & Case since 2004, and relocated from the firm’s London office to its Abu Dhabi base in 2013. She became managing partner of White & Case’s Doha office in June 2020, according to a person with knowledge of the hire.


Stephenson Harwood’s China Associated Firm Boosts Private Wealth & Corporate Practice With Zhong Lun Partner Hire

The UK firm has been deepening its bench in Asia in recent months. Stephenson Harwood’s Greater China associated firm, Wei Tu Law Firm, has strengthened its regional private wealth and corporate practice with the hire of partner Joanna Jiang, who was most recently a partner at Beijing-based Zhong Lun Law Firm, in Guangzhou.

Clyde & Co Cuts 10 Lawyers in Australia as Economy Slows

In addition to the 10, the firm has also parted ways with an insurance partner of seven years. Clyde & Co has made 10 lawyers redundant in Australia, a few weeks after it made back office cuts. Confirming the numbers, a firm spokesperson said none of the lawyers were partners and came from a total staff of around 500 in Australia.

The Americas

McDermott Lands 3-Lawyer Real Estate Transactional Group

David Herman is “one of the most significant hires we have made in New York in a long time,” said McDermott’s Ira Coleman. The lawyers include partner David Herman in New York, partner Sam Limmer in Washington, D.C., and of counsel Cynthia Resnick in Miami.

ArentFox Schiff Hires 3-Partner Employment Team From Sheppard Mullin

Morgan Forsey, Daniel McQueen and Nora Stilestein joined ArentFox in Los Angeles on Monday.

Munger Tolles Hires Former California Deputy Solicitor General

Aimee Feinberg, who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on key issues, including funds for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, returns to Munger Tolles, based in San Francisco.

Egan Nelson Emerging Companies Chair Jumps to Michael Best in Austin

Aaron Barker brings his emerging-companies practice to Michael Best & Friedrich as a corporate partner in Austin and head of Venture Best, Texas, the firm’s emerging-companies team.

Hall Booth Smith Elects 6 Partners; Gordon Rees Adds Partner in Atlanta

Hall Booth Smith announced the election of six new partners, including one in each of three Georgia offices. Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani added Joseph C. Sullivan as a partner in the firm’s Atlanta office from Taylor English Duma. Smith, Gambrell & Russell partner David J. Burge has been elected board chairman of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

Holland & Knight Trade Partner Jumps to White & Case in Mexico

Carlos Véjar, who also previously served as general counsel for international trade at the Mexican Economy Ministry, is changing coordinates as scores of manufacturers and their suppliers relocate to North America.

Freshfields Lands Schulte Litigation Co-Head

Gayle Klein, the litigation co-head at Schulte Roth & Zabel, has decamped for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, joining the firm’s U.S. dispute resolution practice in New York as a partner. Klein had been at Schulte for about 2½ years, following an 8½-year stint at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where she became, at 32, the youngest female partner in the firm history at the time.

Stevens & Lee Adds Wilmington Of Counsel

Stevens & Lee announced that Melissa N. Donimirski has joined the firm’s litigation department as of counsel in its Wilmington office.

McGuireWoods Creates C-Suite Role for AI and Innovation

The Am Law 100 firm is the latest to grow its C-suite staff with a hire focused specifically on AI. McGuireWoods has hired Peter Geovanes as the firm’s first chief innovation and AI officer, the latest Am Law 200 firm to bring on a C-suite leader focused on artificial intelligence.

Weil Adds Skadden Energy Partner as Houston Buildout Continues

The string of hires “results from a months-long review of the market and a strategic plan on what we want to do,” said Kyle Krpata, co-head of Weil’s private equity practice.

Shearman Co-Executive Director Decamps for Sheppard Mullin

Robert Brown joined Sheppard Mullin as chief operating officer, based in New York.

Steptoe Energy Regulatory Partner Jumps to Vinson & Elkins in DC

Vinson & Elkins’ hiring of Steptoe & Johnson partner Monique Watson continues the Houston-founded firm’s focus on expanding its energy regulatory team.  Vinson & Elkins continues to grow its energy regulatory practice, adding Steptoe & Johnson partner Monique Watson, who formerly worked at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and brings experience in oil and gas pipelines and environmental impacts.


Tesla Adds Energy Firm’s Top Lawyer, Senior Employment Litigator

Christopher Dawood announced via LinkedIn this month that he’s joined Tesla as senior counsel for employment litigation. Dawood was previously an of counsel in the labor and employment litigation practice at Jackson Lewis in Sacramento.

Ahead of Possible Sale, UScellular Promotes Legal Chief to GC

Chicago-based UScellular promoted Adriana Rios Welton, head of legal and government affairs, to general counsel. She takes over from John Kelsh, who will focus on being general counsel at parent company Telephone and Data Systems. Title upgrades such as Adriana Rios Welton’s could give her an advantage in any M&A negotiations.

Longtime Bank GC to Join Thomson Reuters

Norie Campbell, former general counsel for TD Bank, is joining Thomson Reuters as chief legal officer, the Canadian-based technology and media company announced Monday.

Tupperware’s CLO Resigning as Company Fights to Stay Afloat

The company did not disclose why Karen Sheehan will be stepping aside Sept. 30. Her exit will cap a tumultuous nine years marked by plunging sales, C-suite turnover and accounting probes.

Looming Legal Threats, the Murdochs’ Influence Make Fox CLO Vacancy Both Alluring and Terrifying

“Taking over at a fraught organization is inherently a gamble. If things start terrible and improve to merely bad, people may not give you any credit,” Andrew Verstein, a law professor at UCLA, said.

QVC Veteran Promoted to GC of Parent, Will Help Lead Turnaround Effort

Eve DelSoldo is taking the legal reins of Qurate Retail Group, which is seeking to resuscitate growth after the rise of e-commerce dramatically altered consumer shopping behavior.

Promotions & Appointments:

Cuatrecasas Taps Barcelona Partner to Lead Corporate Practice in Palma

Less than a year into his post at the Spanish law firm, Sergio Agüera Amat has been given double duty. Cuatrecasas has tapped a Barcelona real estate partner to coordinate the firm’s corporate and M&A practice in Palma de Mallorca. Less than a year into his post at the Spanish law firm, Sergio Agüera Amat has been given double duty – tasked with leading the firm’s corporate and M&A practice on the Balearic Islands while maintaining his position in the Barcelona office focused on commercial real estate law.

Dentons Taps South Korea Leader as Global Board Chair

Nicholas Howon Park succeeds Xuefeng Peng, the president of Beijing-based Dacheng Law Offices. Dacheng and Dentons called off their combination earlier this month.

In ‘Big Deal’ Move, Baker Botts Promotes 3 Women Partners to Department Chair

The corporate, intellectual property and litigation departments are now chaired by women partners, as Houston partner Danny David takes over as managing partner on Aug. 1. Three of Baker Botts’ five departments are now led by women partners. Christa Brown-Sanford chairs the IP department, Samantha Crispin chairs the corporate department, and Bridget Moore chairs the litigation department.

Baker Donelson Shareholder Named ABA Committee Co-Chair

Ferdose al-Taie, an attorney at Baker Donelson, has been appointed to serve as co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Litigation Section’s White-Collar and Criminal Litigation Committee.

White House Counsel Stuart Delery Steps Down

Stuart Delery, the top lawyer in the Biden White House, will soon be leaving his post. In a statement, President Joe Biden called Delery “a trusted adviser and a constant source of innovative legal thinking since Day One of my Administration.”

Mergers & Alliances:

Schnader Waited Too Long to Merge, While Stroock’s Fate Lies in the Balance

The soon-to-be defunct Philadelphia institution and the venerable New York shop have faced a similar set of obstacles in recent months. Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis’ decision to dissolve after nearly 90 years came in the wake of failed merger talks and a declined credit extension from its bank, according to a notice shared by the firm with Pennsylvania and Philadelphia authorities.

The Unraveling of Dentons Dacheng: Was it the Law or the Love that Frayed?

Dentons attributed its breakup with Dacheng to evolving Chinese regulations—it’s a brilliant communications strategy, non-Chinese clients will be pleased. But is there more to this than meets the eye?

Ailing Firms Value Independence, Autonomy Over Survival, Delaying Vital Merger Talks

Philadelphia’s Schnader Harrison is the latest example of a firm that would have been better off acting sooner rather than later.

Luthra and Luthra Adds 33 Lawyers in Merger

Earlier this year, Luthra and Luthra Law Offices’ founder and managing partner unexpectedly passed away. One of India’s most prominent law firms is set to merge with another firm. Luthra and Luthra Law Offices has announced that it will form a partnership with Atlas Law Partners, with the latter firm’s managing partner, Harry Chawla, becoming the head of the newly combined firm.

Office Openings & Closing:

Following Mass Departures, Lewis Brisbois Spinoff to Shutter 5 Months After Launch

Following another sizeable group departure this week to O’Hagan Meyer, the labor and employment boutique that spun out of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in May has announced plans to cease operations entirely just five months after its inception. Nearly three dozen attorneys left Daugherty Lordan to join O’Hagan Meyer in Southern California this week.

Latest US Firm Shrinks China Presence as Latham Closes in Shanghai

Latham’s closure of its Shanghai office marks the trend of American law firms scaling back their businesses in mainland China in recent months.

After Kirkland’s Migration to Century City, Other Big Law Firms Are Following

Skadden is joining a growing number of firms basing their Los Angeles operations out of Century City, as firms continue to reduce their footprints downtown.

Wilson Elser Adds in Indiana, as Second Hundred Firms Continue Expansion

The No. 107-ranked firm by revenue announced this week that its clients wanted an expansion in the Midwest. With Am Law 200 firms poised to continue expanding their maps, defense firm Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman Dicker is the latest to plant a flag, adding an office in Indianapolis with laterals from Foley Mansfield and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

‘Predominantly an In-Office Firm’: Davis Polk Renews NYC Lease, With 30,000 More Square Feet

The firm’s new 25-year lease at 450 Lex is now the largest by square footage in New York in 2023 to date, according to real estate broker CBRE.


Comp Likely to Top $10M Each for 3 Kirkland Laterals Jumping to Paul Weiss

The hires of U.K. partners Neel Sachdev and Roger Johnson and U.S. partner Eric Wedel mark the latest foray in the trans-Atlantic Kirkland-Paul Weiss lateral war that saw Kirkland recruit Alvaro Membrillera, previously Paul Weiss’s London head.

Technology & Innovation:

Spain’s Burgeoning Legal Tech Sector May Make Waves Internationally

Spain has largely relied on European heavyweights for its legal tech solutions. But the last two years have seen a flurry of local innovation, with an eye on international expansion.

Legal Still Has a Lot to Learn—And Navigate—In the Gen AI Era

After months of enthusiasm surrounding generative artificial intelligence, misunderstandings about the technology linger among attorneys and judges alike.

Here Are the Generative AI Products UK Law Firms Are Using

The pressure on law firms to implement generative artificial intelligence into their operations has steadily grown over the course of 2023. The clamour has been so intense that some GenAI companies have had to impose waiting lists.

How GCs Can Get Their Team Onboard with New Tech

A recent study found a majority of lawyers are ‘apathetic’ about lawtech, but there are ways for GCs and senior in-house lawyers to encourage a change of mindset.

Legatics Announces $5 Million Investment, With Plans to Expand to U.S. Market

The investment comes months after Legatics released Legatics 2, an expanded version of the legal transaction management platform with more flexible project management software.

Agiloft Launches AI Trainer, Allowing Legal Teams to Customize AI Models for Contract Analysis

Agiloft seeks to empower legal teams with no IT or coding experience to customize their own artificial intelligence models for a more bespoke approach to contract review and analysis.

How Law Firms Can Avoid A Summer of Cyberattack Threats

Summer at law firms creates an attack surface that hackers love to take advantage of. Legal and support staff rotate through vacations and time off, new crops of interns unfamiliar with tech processes enter the fold, and the remaining employees are often burned out and too distracted to notice the critical signs of an impending cyberattack.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Gender Diversity: Firms Must Jump Off the Bandwagon and Focus on What Works

Next 100 Years founder and former lawyer Dana Denis-Smith calls for a more strategic look at diversity initiatives, focusing on the changes that make a real difference.

Market Commentary:

China’s Regulations Went From Being a Client Problem to a Law Firm Problem, Too

For international law firms that have substantial practices in mainland China, the country’s focus on national security and the broader geopolitical issues has major implications.

Amid Layoffs and Attrition, Law Firms Are Planning More Staffing Adjustments

“With forced exits and continued staff attrition wreaking havoc on the depth and breadth of both skills and experience, are firms fundamentally compromising the quality of a support structure?” a recent report asks.

In Big Law, ‘Flexibility’ Is a Word for All Seasons

“I’m starting to hear ‘flexibility’ along with just being thoughtful about how do you become a bit more rigid about mandating people to come in?” noted Williams Lea’s Joe McSpadden.

What Makes a Successful Litigation Secondment Program?

McKinsey associate GC Veronica Ip and MoFo’s Kate Driscoll discuss what each got out of the six-month spell that Driscoll covered for Ip while she was on parental leave.

Following Years of Growth, Clients Are Increasingly Wondering If Arbitration Is Still Worth It, Litigators Say

“The parties are spending a lot of time and money litigating almost as if they’re in court,” Sarchio said, noting that one recent arbitration involved around 72 document requests. “I keep telling them, this is arbitration. It’s supposed to be streamlined.”

Pacesetter Research: Prioritizing the “G” in ESG, Enables the Integration of the “E” and the “S”

With rising pressure from stakeholders on “E” and “S” initiatives, the “E” and “S” have typically dominated ESG conversations however prioritizing the G may facilitate the integration of all three components.

Amid Spreading Patchwork of Data Privacy Regs, Attorneys Embrace New Opportunities

Litigators are already finding ways to sue tech companies using existing laws, and compliance-side attorneys are advising clients to be proactive with new state laws.

The Pitch for Fully Remote Lawyers Is Becoming More Difficult

“I’ve worked with several attorneys recently making lateral moves to large global law firms, and none were given a formal 100% remote-work option,” said executive coach and former Big Law partner Laura Terrell.

Lateral Hires Highlight Big Law Focus on Boosting Energy Practices

“The introduction of the IRA, and all of these credits available, has really ramped up the need for lawyers who practice in this space,” Pillsbury’s Nora Burke said.

Amid Layoffs and Attrition, Law Firms Are Planning More Staffing Adjustments

“With forced exits and continued staff attrition wreaking havoc on the depth and breadth of both skills and experience, are firms fundamentally compromising the quality of a support structure?” a recent report asks.

Japanese Tech Startups’ Nasdaq IPO Thirst Generates Deal Work for US Law Firms in Japan

Japanese deep technology, life science and biotechnology companies feel that they are comfortable speaking to US investment banks or US stock exchanges such as Nasdaq, according to a Tokyo-based Greenberg Traurig lawyer.

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