UK & Ireland
Louisa Cobbe has joined Kirkland’s London office. She trained at legacy BLP, qualifying in 2010. She made partner at the newly-merged firm in 2019.
Kirkland & Ellis has bolstered its investment funds practice by swiping a partner from Ashurst’s London office. Catherine Gokah makes the move after being appointed partner at Ashurst in May 2021.
Eight partners have left the Ince Group since the end of March, according to an analysis of Companies House documents, as the embattled U.K.-listed law firm continues to grapple with financial challenges and share price woes. An examination of a series of documents found on Companies House, one of which is for an Ince Group entity not listed on the law firm’s website, shows that the U.K. partners all left within the last five months, in one of the biggest flights of talent seen at the firm since a sweep of top partners quit in early 2020.
Robert Lawrence and Ian Chung, who collectively have more than 30 years’ experience in the Middle East, will join HFW’s Dubai office in the coming weeks.
The legal arms of Big Four accountants EY and KPMG have made more hires this week in Europe, as they continue to expand their offering. EY Law has appointed a head of legal consulting for the entire Western Europe region, while KPMG Law has announced a new head for its legal financial services solution line in Frankfurt.
The firm has hired Joost Haans, who joined Baker Mckenzie as counsel in 2010 and was promoted to partner in 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has also worked in-house, as senior legal director at medtech giant Philips, as well as a public servant for the Dutch justice ministry.
Squire Patton Boggs has grown its intellectual property team in Northern California with the addition of trademark partner Candice Kwok.
Adriana Dantas has brought lawyers Marina Nicolosi, Alba Duarte and Eduardo Bassani, plus administrative staff, with her to Lefosse and dissolved her boutique, Adriana Dantas Advogados.
The practice will be led by Claudio Rodríguez, an energy and infrastructure partner who headed the Mexico City office of Thompson & Knight before that firm merged with Holland & Knight in 2021.
Reed Smith has added Fangda Partners counsel, Matthew Townsend, as a partner for its Hong Kong office.
Trudi Procter, who joins from Australian firm McCullough Robertson, advises on all facets of financial services regulation and compliance, Baker McKenzie said.
Harsh Pais will move from Delhi to London to lead the Magic Circle UK firm’s India corporate practice which forms part of a larger India group comprising more than 100 partners, according to the firm.
A senior lawyer at Uber has been hired as the new general counsel of holiday and leisure company Bourne Leisure. Helen Hayes trained in private practice at DLA Piper where she practised as an associate in the commercial litigation department for 10 years.
Promotions & Appointments:
US alternative credit provider CIFC Asset Management has named Asha Richards as its new general counsel and hired Sound Point Capital Management’s former chief compliance officer Lily Wicker as the firm seeks to strengthen its legal and compliance team.
Mergers & Alliances:
Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has hired a group of seven renewable projects-focused real estate lawyers and three support staff as it continues to grow its recently opened Chicago office. The seven lawyers include partners John Young and Christine Fernandez Owen, five counsel and an additional three paralegals, who all join from Chicago renewables-focused real estate boutique Clean Law.
A boost in fee-earner and non-fee-earner numbers in the White & Case London office has contributed to a 15 per cent jump in costs for wages and salaries, according to the firm’s LLP accounts. Overall, the firm handed out a total of £67.8m in wages across 2021, compared to £58.9m in 2020.
The bonus scheme is based on targets and non-financial goals by paying the same bonus to all fee-earning and non fee-earning employees, excluding partners. The firm has a target to pay all employees 5 per cent of their basic salary for the financial year in question. There is also the option to earn 7 per cent of their salary, depending on the firm’s performance.
Exeter-headquartered Ashfords is making plans to secure the longevity of the firm, whether that be through merger, acquisition or organic growth. CEO Louise Workman said the firm’s financials have stabilised following the “bizarre” Covid-19 years, meaning now is the time to start considering the future of Ashfords.
Profits per partner plunged by double digits through the first half of the year, and most firm leaders, in a recent survey, are now uncertain whether revenue can increase for the rest of the year. That represents a significant shift in sentiment, as more than half of survey respondents said they expected increases after the first quarter.
Corporate law firms in Australia are expecting another strong year, as mergers and acquisitions continue and companies keep investing in decarbonizing their operations. In fact, many firms see opportunities in a possible economic downturn, with any slowdown in economic activity likely to lead to more commercial disputes, distressed asset sales and a resulting pickup in M&A activity.
Technology & Innovation:
Since the pandemic, digitisation and remote working have quickly moved to the forefront of the legal industry’s mind. Businesses have successfully adapted to remote working, but the pandemic has left additional challenges, such as how do we retain employees who feel burnt out in an increasingly competitive industry. How do we keep integrating technology to make the business efficient and deliver high standard clients services?
Diversity & Inclusion:
A Blackstone Chambers silk has described the Supreme Court’s recruitment process as “completely opaque”, after the appointment of two recently retired judges sparked fresh concerns over diversity at the Bar.
The reshuffle sees Lord Lloyd-Jones rejoin the Supreme Court just seven months after stepping down in January. Sir David Richard, who retired from the Court of Appeal last year, will be replacing former Supreme Court justice Lady Arden, who departed in January. Critics on social media noted that the Supreme Court remains all white, and now consists of 11 men (three of whom are called David) and one woman.
The prime minister of Canada has nominated the first ever Indigenous person to the country’s top court—a move being lauded as a historic moment for Canada. Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin is bilingual—fluent in English and French—and is an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation.
Ukrainian Legal Developments:
Latham & Watkins and leading Ukrainian firm Sayenko Kharenko have emerged as key legal advisers in the successful restructuring of Ukraine’s sovereign debt. The duo advised JPMorgan in its role as solicitation agent for Ukraine – advised by White & Case and Ukrainian firm AVELLUM – in connection with a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20bn in outstanding Eurobonds and GDP-linked securities.