Weekly Update – 22nd May 2023


UK & Ireland

Van Bael & Bellis Launches London International Trade Practice, Hires Ashurst, Crowell Veterans

Brussels-headquartered Van Bael & Bellis has hired senior lawyers from Ashurst and Crowell & Moring to launch a London-based international trade group.  Michelle Linderman is set to join the new team from Crowell & Moring, where she has spent six years as a partner in the firm’s international trade group. Prior to that, Linderman spent 20 years at Ince, having been a partner there since 2007, according to her LinkedIn profile. She will lead Van Bael’s U.K. trade team.


Winston & Strawn adds 11-strong transactional team in Paris from local boutique

Winston & Strawn has added an 11-strong transactional team in Paris from local boutique Hoche Avocats. Group including four partners to bolster M&A, labour and finance offering.

Pérez-Llorca Adds Tax Law Team in Madrid

Pérez-Llorca has taken on a more than half-dozen-strong team of tax lawyers in Madrid from the Spanish law firm GTA Villamagna Abogados. The three lawyers leading the move were all partners at GTA Villamagna: Felipe Alonso Fernández, co-managing partner will join Pérez-Llorca as of counsel; Javier Povo will join as a partner; and Antonio Ruiz, an economist, will join as a senior tax counsel.


Linklaters Lands Corporate Partner from Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo 

Linklaters has hired corporate lawyer Yoshiyuki Asaoka from Japan’s largest law firm Nishimura & Asahi as a partner for its Tokyo office.

Singapore Inks Mutual Agreements With France and Bahrain for Bilateral Judicial Cooperation

This marks the first time Bahrain has sought assistance from Singapore for establishing an international commercial court to be modelled on the Singapore International Commercial Court. The Supreme Court of Singapore and the Supreme Judicial Council of Bahrain have officially launched a project to collaborate on the establishment of the Bahrain International Commercial Court (BICC).


Han Kun Hires Corporate Partner from Tian Yuan in Beijing 

Han Kun Law Offices has hired capital markets and M&A lawyer Ray Shi from rival Chinese practice Tian Yuan Law Firm, where he was most recently a Beijing-based partner.

The Americas

Holland & Knight absorbs 28-lawyer boutique in Colombia

Group including seven partners join in Bogotá from Cuberos Cortés Gutiérrez just weeks after US firm hired 17-lawyer team in Mexico from Sánchez DeVanny.

Alston & Bird Bolsters Real Estate Group with Two New Partners in Los Angeles

Joining from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, partners Jim Kousoulas and James Litwinovich help guide real estate clients through a variety of complex loan transactions and litigation management strategies, with extensive experience working with a variety of lenders.

Baker McKenzie Adds Tax Partner in Rare Venezuela Hire

Tax expert, Serviliano Abache Carvajal has been hired. The global firm is among a handful of international law firms to maintain an office in the South American country, which was once one of the 20 richest countries in the world. The firm demonstrates its belief that market conditions are improving, which will lead to more work in the country.

Allen & Overy Loses IP Trio to Crowell & Moring

A veteran three-person intellectual property team from Allen & Overy has joined Crowell & Moring in New York, as the firm looks to expand its intellectual property and AI litigation capabilities. Led by IP litigator Paul Keller, the team includes counsel Michelle Wang and James Reed. The group, which will join Crowell’s intellectual property department, focuses on disruptive technologies, including autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, eHealth, among other things.

Crowell & Moring Taps Hogan Lovells Partner as Tax Co-Chair

Washington, D.C.-headquartered Crowell & Moring has added corporate tax attorney Christine Lane from Hogan Lovells as co-chair of the tax group, as Crowell looks to build up its ability to handle the U.S. federal tax aspects of complex business transactions, including joint ventures and domestic and cross-border mergers.

Promotions & Appointments:

Linklaters Appoints Next Portugal Managing Partner

Linklaters has appointed a new managing partner in Portugal. Marcos Sousa Monteiro takes the reins having been a member of the firm for twenty years. He was elected partner in 2015 and took over the corporate and M&A practice in Lisbon the following year.

Mergers & Alliances:

Shearman & Sterling to Merge with Allen & Overy

Shearman & Sterling and Allen & Overy plan to merge combining a revenue of $3.4 billion and roughly 3900 lawyers.

Office Openings & Closing:

Baker Botts secures Ashurst energy projects team for Singapore debut

US law firm Baker Botts has added a team of energy projects and transactional lawyers from Ashurst to open an office in Singapore. The new office will be led by Richard Guit, who has joined from Ashurst’s local office for the launch alongside fellow partners Daniel Reinbott and Michael Harrison and special counsel Jessica Ham and Giles Ashman. Rounding out the Singapore team is global projects partner Lewis Jones, who has relocated from Baker Botts’ London office, and an associate.

With More than 400 Clients in San Francisco, Mintz Prioritizes Office Growth

Mintz continues SF office expansion with laterals from Pillsbury and Jones Day. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo managing partner Bob Bodian didn’t mince words when asked why he thought it was a good idea to expand in San Francisco.


Macfarlanes Ups NQ Pay

Macfarlanes is increasing its pay for newly qualified lawyers by 7% and is now offering a base salary of £115,000, plus individual and firmwide bonuses.

HWF Plans to Double Size in Australia Over Next 3 to 4 Years

Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) is planning to double its size in Australia by 2026 by hiring partners to expand its corporate and commercial capabilities and grow its commercial litigation and international arbitration practices, according to the firm’s Australia managing partner, Gavin Vallely. The U.K.-headquartered firm, which has almost 100 lawyers, including 26 partners, across its Sydney, Melbourne and Perth offices, has increased its Australian revenue by between 15% and 20% annually over the past three years.

After Revenue and Profits Tumble, Kramer Levin Poised to ‘Capture Our Market Share’ in 2023

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel saw a 6.1% drop in revenue, to $421.44 million, while its average profits per equity partner fell nearly 15% to $2.38 million last year.

Still, firm co-managing partner Howard Spilko noted it was still the firm’s second-highest revenue-generating year ever. And, reflecting the cautious optimism among firms with robust restructuring and litigation practices, he said the firm is poised for a strong year in 2023.

Stoel Rives Sees Revenue, Head Count Fall, but Profits Inch Up Due to Higher-Value Work

Stoel Rives saw revenue fall 2.5% to $263.36 million last year as its lawyer head count dipped 8.7%, linked to a wave of departures in Salt Lake City. Managing partner Melissa Jones said the firm weathered the departures well, pointing to the modest revenue decrease and noted that Stoel Rives remains an attractive option for partners, especially in evolving legal markets.

Technology & Innovation:

Simmons Highlights What Annoys In-House Teams Most About Outside Counsel

More than a quarter of in-house legal teams feel that law firms have inadequate technology to meet their demands, while one in five say they’re unhappy with firms’ slow response times.

Fear or FOMO: Big Law Split on How to Boost Office Attendance

Not so long ago, when the talent market was tight and signing bonuses were flowing into laterals’ bank accounts, the law firm conundrum of how to get lawyers back into the office was viewed as a temporary one. The historic leverage lawyers possessed in deciding how and where they worked would not last, according to law firm leaders, consultants and recruiters, many of whom felt that firms would simply demand attendance when the power dynamics shifted back in favour of law firms.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Anxiety the Focus as More UK Law Firms Spotlight Mental Health

Travers Smith, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Macfarlanes and Osborne Clarke have joined the host of firms adopting a series of actions this week to honour Mental Health Awareness Week 2023.

Slaughters Rolls Out Podcasts, Yoga and More for Mental Health Awareness Week

Slaughter and May and Herbert Smith Freehills are among the firms rolling out a series of actions this month to help lawyers confront issues around well-being during Mental Health Awareness Week for 2023.

Clyde & Co Launches 26 Weeks Leave for New Parents

Clyde & Co has rolled out a new parental leave policy which will enable staff to take six months of fully paid leave, a policy which the firm has described as “gender-blind”. The offering is available to both mums and dads, regardless of whether they are the primary child carer or not, as well as those adopting, according to a firm statement.

Market Commentary:

Law Firms Are Increasingly Debt Free—Why?

The U.K.’s largest 50 law firms reduced their combined debt by more than £100 million in the 12 months to April 2022, fresh research shows.

Gen-Z Less Interested in Big Law and Traditional Law Firm Paths

Lawyers and aspiring lawyers in the generation showed significantly more desire to work in-house, while the interest to go into government stayed consistent, according to a new survey.

Ranked: UK Law Firms by Carbon Emissions

Partners are fond of saying that the ‘E’ of ‘ESG’ is something their firm takes very seriously. Clients, they say, expect serious commitments from firms on their individual climate efforts. However, by analysing the limited liability partnership financial accounts for the 2021-22 financial year, business advisory company Evelyn Partners has calculated the amount of emissions in kWh per member of each of the top 50 U.K. law firms.

Financial Irregularities, Undisclosed Business Ties and More: Lateral ‘Red Flags’ Grew During Pandemic

In 2019, 21% of the lateral candidates investigated by due diligence provider Decipher garnered warning signs. In the last three years, that figure has been between 29% and 34%.

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