Weekly Update – 23rd of October 2023


UK & Ireland

2 Antitrust Partners Return to Freshfields and Linklaters

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have welcomed back antitrust and competition lawyers, both rejoining their previous firms as partners. At Freshfields, competition specialist Colin Raftery is set to join the firm from the Competition and Markets Authority, where he spent five years as senior director of mergers, following two years as director of mergers.

Kirkland Rebuilds in London with Simpson Thacher Private Equity Duo Hire

Kirkland & Ellis has hired two private equity partners from rival elite U.S. outfit Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in London, following a few defections at the firm to another rival, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. Partners Ian Barratt and Sinead O’Shea are set to be joining Kirkland’s London ranks, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The pair count some of the world’s largest private equity houses including KKR, Blackstone and Melrose as clients. The hires will go some way to rebuilding Kirkland’s Ranks following Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison defections.

Former WilmerHale Brussels partner rejoins Henderson Chambers

EU law veteran and former Wilmer Cutler Hale Pickering & Dorr partner John Ratliff has rejoined London’s Henderson Chambers. Ratliff was a door tenant with Henderson from 1986 to 1999 while also practising in Brussels with Stanbrook and Hooper, a specialist competition and trade law firm, which merged with McDermott Will & Emery in 2005. He joined WilmerHale after leaving Henderson, retiring from the partnership at the end of last year but remaining with the firm until this month.

Linklaters secures Addleshaws’ competition head in London

Linklaters has hired the head of Addleshaw Goddard’s (AG) competition team in London to bolster its antitrust and foreign investment practice. Bruce Kilpatrick brings more than 25 years’ experience advising clients on complex merger control, antitrust enforcement and foreign direct investment cases, as well as defending high stakes antitrust damages litigation and director disqualification proceedings before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. His return to Linklaters will follow more than 16 years at AG, where he had led the competition and regulatory team for more than a decade.

Senior London fraud partner quits Allen & Overy for London boutique Enyo

Senior fraud partner Andy McGregor is leaving Allen & Overy (A&O) to join London boutique Enyo just 18 months after joining the Magic Circle firm. His departure comes hard on the heels of Friday’s announcement by A&O and Shearman & Sterling that their respective partners had voted overwhelmingly to approve their landmark transatlantic merger.

HSF hires Sidley partner in London as head of international private equity

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has bolstered its private capital offering in the City with the hire of a private equity partner from Sidley Austin and a venture and growth capital specialist from DLA Piper. Eleanor Shanks will join HSF from Sidley to serve in the new role of head of international private equity in London, while Dylan Doran Kennett is leaving DLA Piper to co-lead the firm’s UK venture capital and growth capital practice with partner Michael Jacobs.


Norton Rose adds Stephenson Harwood partner to lead Middle East disputes team

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has hired a partner from Stephenson Harwood to lead its dispute resolution team in the Middle East. Nick Sharratt has joined the firm in Dubai after four years as a partner at Stephenson Harwood, prior to which he was counsel at Winston & Strawn. He replaces NRF’s former Middle East disputes head Paul Stothard, who recently relocated to the UK and remains with the firm.


Littler Adds Counsel Trio in Asia, Covers 7 Jurisdictions from Singapore

From Singapore, the firm’s first and only Asian office, it now counts 7 lawyers who are admitted in Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, India, mainland China, U.S. and the U.K. Littler Mendelson, the world’s largest employment-law focused firm, has added a trio of counsel-level lawyers to its four-year old Singapore office. Furthermore, joining the firm are Soowon Hong, Betty Lee and Shiau Sang Tee. Their additions will give Littler a total count of seven lawyers in Singapore, from where the team will advise on matters related to the U.S., South Korea, Hong Kong, Indian, mainland China, Malaysia and the U.K.

M&A Partner Leaves Australia’s Corrs Chambers Following Plane Incident

A high-profile mergers and acquisitions partner has left Australian firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth following an incident on a domestic flight. Chris Allen, one of six top corporate and banking partners poached by Corrs in a raid on rival ‘MinterEllison’ in 2021, has left the firm.

Morrison & Foerster Adds Veteran M&A Partner From Jones Day in Tokyo

Morrison & Foerster has expanded its mergers and acquisitions practice in Tokyo with the hire of highly experienced corporate M&A lawyer Stephen DeCosse from Jones Day. DeCosse, most recently of counsel in Jones Day’s Tokyo office, joins Morrison & Foerster as a partner. The move marks a return to the firm for the veteran lawyer. He was a partner at Morrison & Foerster in Tokyo before leaving in 2006 for Jones Day, where he was also a partner. He moved to of counsel last year.

Stephenson Harwood Adds Team of Eight from Ince in Greater China

Stephenson Harwood has added a team of seven lawyers plus shipping partner Paul Ho to its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices. Ho was the chief representative of Ince’s Shanghai office and the firm’s head of Greater China. The firm hopes the hire will provide opportunities to work with a greater pool of Chinese mainland clients, from shipyards to traders to LNG operators.

Nishimura & Asahi Adds Watson Farley Thailand Corporate Head In Bangkok

Nishimura & Asahi, Japan’s largest law firm by headcount, has expanded its corporate offering in Thailand with the hire of M&A lawyer Christopher Osborne. Osborne was most recently a partner and head of the Thai corporate practice at Watson Farley & Williams in Bangkok, he joins the Big Four Japanese firm as a partner. Osborne specializes in advising international and Thai companies on the development, sale and acquisition of renewable energy projects in Thailand and across Asia. He advises on onshore wind, solar and waste-to-energy projects, and provides legal advice related to power purchase agreements, project finance to post-commissioning exits and acquisitions. He also advises on mergers and and acquisitions in the region and has previously acted on deals involving the manufacturing, logistics, and technology, media and telecommunications sectors.

The Americas

Cuatrecasas Hires Government Lawyer to Lead Competition Practice in Chile

Cuatrecasas has hired the former head of mergers at Chile’s antitrust authority to lead a new practice area for the Spanish firm. Francisca Levin joins Cuatrecasas as a partner and head of its newly formed competition practice in Santiago, joining a team of nine partners and 28 lawyers in the country.

Vinson & Elkins Swoops for Milbank Corporate Partner

Vinson & Elkins has expanded its corporate and finance practices in London with the hire of a partner from Milbank. Chris Taufatofua joins the U.S.-headquartered firm after more than a decade at Milbank, where he was most recently a partner.

Cleary’s Bay Area Growth Continues With Hire of Ex-Cooley Litigator

Continuing its growth in the Bay Area, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has hired litigation partner Angela Dunning from Cooley. Dunning joined the firm as a partner in its Bay Area offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, marking Cleary Gottlieb’s fifth lateral partner hire since it opened in the market in late 2021. It has about 20 lawyers in the Bay Area now, according to its website. After   hiring Angela Dunning, who spent 23 years at Cooley, Cleary Gottlieb now has roughly 20 attorneys in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Clifford Chance Adds Kirkland Partner, Simpson Thacher Counsel, Continuing Houston Energy Team Buildout

U.K. firm Clifford Chance continues to expand the energy and infrastructure team in its new Houston office by adding Kirkland & Ellis M&A partner Cephas Sekhar as a partner and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett M&A counsel Kyle Kreshover as counsel. Sekhar is the 11th partner to join Clifford Chance in Houston since the office opened in early June. The others include a total of seven lateral partners hires from Big Law firms Latham & Watkins, Jones Day, Kirkland, Baker Botts and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and three Clifford Chance partners who transferred to Houston from New York and Paris.

Gunster Expands Corporate Litigation and Tax Capabilities With 2 New Hires in South Florida

Florida-based Gunster is bringing in two corporate lawyers to handle issues surrounding products liability, real estate and tax matters. Devin Moss is coming to the firm’s Miami office and joining the business litigation group as a shareholder from Shook, Hardy & Bacon, where he focused on products liability work. Meanwhile, David Sawyer is joining the firm’s tax group in Fort Lauderdale as of counsel after coming from an in-house job.

Day Pitney Expands Health Care Practice in Miami as it Prepares to Focus on Palm Beach Growth

After a year of growth at Day Pitney’s Miami office, it’s adding another health care-focused lawyer before the firm pivots to grow its West Palm Beach outpost. Magda Rodriguez is joining the East Coast-based Am Law 200 firm as a partner focused on health care clients out of the Miami office. Rodriguez is at least the firm’s fifth hire in Miami this year.

Paul Hastings adds partners from Cooley, Goodwin in Northern California growth push

Paul Hastings has hired partners from Goodwin Procter and Cooley as it moves to build its private equity and capital markets practices in Northern California. Scott Joachim has joined the firm as global vice chair of its private equity practice in Palo Alto from Goodwin Procter. Paul Hastings said he will be joined by two additional partners with extensive experience advising on tech-focused transactions, strategic investments, M&A and growth equity and venture financings.  Meantime David Ambler, a partner specialising in capital markets, public company advisory and venture capital, has joined the firm from Cooley, also in Palo Alto.


Sainsbury’s Reappoints 8 Firms to Legal Panel

U.K. supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has completed a review of its legal panel, opting to reappoint all of its current advisors for at least the next three years.

Promotions & Appointments:

Brazil’s Mattos Filho Selects New Resident Partner for New York Office

Mattos Filho has selected a longtime mergers and acquisitions partner to represent the Brazilian legal powerhouse in the U.S. as the firm’s resident partner in charge of the New York office. Paula Vieira takes on the role following the departure of Amadeu Ribeiro, an antitrust specialist who left Mattos Filho in September to join DLA Piper.

Dentons Appoints New Head of Office for Papua New Guinea

International law firm Dentons has appointed a new leader for its office in Papua New Guinea, where mining, oil and gas are major industries.  Wavie Kendino Leki, who is currently head of legal and company secretary for Australian bank ANZ in Papua New Guinea, will start with Dentons in January of next year. It will be her second stint at the firm, having worked there as an associate for nearly a decade until September last year.

On the Move: Eversheds Sutherland Creates Worldwide Marketing Position

Eversheds Sutherland has promoted one of its longtime business professionals to a new position as global business development and marketing officer— the firm’s first administrative position in its history that covers all of its offices. Erin Meszaros’ move, announced on Wednesday, highlights the firm’s intent to “collaborate” more closely across offices on developing new business.

Mergers & Alliances:

$240M Verdict: Law Firms Join Forces for Massive Victory

Attorneys with the Winstead law firm and at Irell & Manella secured a $240 million Texas jury verdict on three patent infringement claims against California-based Cloudera Inc., a major cloud data management software company.

“It was a success story of two firms working together. I think this is a top five verdict in the State of Texas for this year,” said plaintiff counsel Jamie H. McDole of Winstead.

Office Openings & Closing:

Wilson Elser Opens in Portland With 4-Partner Lewis Brisbois Team, as Am Law 200 Pursues West Coast Growth

Am Law Second Hundred defense firm Wilson Elser has launched in Portland, Oregon, as Am Law 200 firms continue to plot geographic expansion on the West Coast. The Portland office is led by partner George Pitcher, who is joined by partners Michael Belisle, Dmitriy Golosinskiy and Ross Van Ness. All arriving from Lewis Brisbois, the team is focused on medical malpractice, professional liability, products liability and toxic tort work. Additionally, Wilson Elser hired six Lewis Brisbois partners in the Pacific Northwest.

Herbert Smith Freehills to Shutter Second Asian Office in 12 Months

Herbert Smith Freehills has announced that it will shutter its Kuala Lumpur office by the end of April next year, making it the firm’s second Asia office closure in 12 months. The firm counts a total 38 staff members in its Kuala Lumpur office, around 40% of those are legal practitioners, the rest are business professionals, a firm spokesperson told Law.com International. Two of its lawyers are partners including head of office Peter Godwin, who had relocated from the firm’s Tokyo office in 2017, and disputes lawyer Craig Shepherd.


GC Pay Is Improving, But It’s Still Mission Impossible

Whatever job the GC did before, the transition to GC is an unfathomable leap for which there is no training. Many of the job specs which boards give to recruiters now look like mission impossible. f this was an easy job, anyone could do it. That’s the adage. But for lawyers, it understates the true picture. The levels of complexity and challenge faced by lawyers are not at a steady state. Nor do they grow evenly. They spike without warning or preparation. Yes, of course the job gets harder every year for a host of reasons, but then there are these big “transitioning moments” when the skills gap can be enormous. Transition training, or rather the lack of it, is one of our big themes at Lean Adviser.

Technology & Innovation:

Kirkland & Ellis Announces SideTrack, a Lawyer-Built Platform for Investment Funds Attorneys

Kirkland & Ellis launched SideTrack, a proprietary enterprise software platform for its investment fund attorneys. The development of the solution, publicly disclosed for the first time to Legaltech News, was led by James Desjardins, a partner in the firm’s Investment Funds Practice Group, as well as other members of the group. The development didn’t involve third-party vendors or even the firm’s own information technology department.

With the Rise of Generative AI, Legal Departments Lean on Law Firms as ‘Business Partners’ More Than Ever

Legal departments are starting to embrace generative AI to drive legal and business efficiencies. And just as in-house lawyers are under pressure to adopt new technologies, they’re placing similar expectations on their outside counsel. Certainly, caution reigns supreme in the ongoing dialogue between legal departments and law firms concerning the adoption of generative AI. Yet, in-house leaders are increasingly looking to outside counsel to at the very least understand the technology, if not use it to drive their own business efficiencies.

With Legal Tech Blockchain Experimentation, US Is Lagging Behind

New technologies, regardless of how advertisements and marketing campaigns may present them, are more often a part of a larger puzzle rather than the end-all-and-be-all of a finished product. For example, ChatGPT, which initially seemed to be a magic bullet to many, is slowly being broken down into its various elements beyond the tool itself, with many leveraging the underlying generative AI Model in new ways.

Can Standards, Guidelines Be Enough to Regulate the AI Industry?

A panel at the Soft Law Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday looked at the drawbacks and advantages of having a light touch when it comes to AI regulation. In the U.S., efforts to regulate AI technologies have very much been ubiquitous. Just this year, state legislators have introduced almost 200 AI-focused bills, a 440% increase compared to the previous year, according to a report from the Software Alliance. Out of those, 14 became law.

NY Lawmakers Eyeing Rules for Admitting AI-Based Evidence

A New York lawmaker has introduced a bill that aims to set a series of parameters regarding the admission of evidence arising from artificial intelligence, relative to criminal and civil court proceedings. The proposed rules of the bill state that the AI-based evidence must be supported by something other than artificially created evidence, and the independent evidence must be admissible under the existing rules of evidence. It is still seeking a sponsor in the Senate.

Private Equity Firm Consello Capital Acquires Majority Stake in ProSearch

Today, the private equity firm Consello Capital, itself part of The Consello Group, announced it has acquired a majority stake in the e-discovery and compliance provider ProSearch.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Law Firms Tapping Resource Management for DEI and Talent Development

For law firms investing in resource management, the technology streamlines operations and increases transparency. It can also assist with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and career development programs, which boost talent recruitment and retention. DEI efforts and a well-functioning legal staff also demonstrate to clients that the firmday is keeping up with their interests and concerns.

Munsch Hardt Welcomes Largest-Ever, All-Women Associate Class

With nine female first-year associates at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, women now account for half of the firm’s associates.

Women and Diversity in Law Awards unveil roster of 250-plus nominees

Top UK legal awards now accepting entry submissions for glittering ceremony in March 2024. More than 250 individuals, law firms, legal teams and not-for-profit groups are unveiled today as nominees for the Women and Diversity in Law Awards. The publication of the roster of contenders completes a crucial stage of the awards process in the run up to a glittering awards ceremony, to be held in London on 13 March 2024. All nominees are now invited to submit entries for consideration by a high-level judging panel comprising some of the legal profession’s leading DE&I campaigners, role models and experts.

Menopause in the legal profession: how senior managers can help

For World Menopause Day, Moore Barlow’s Sarah Andrews discusses how senior managers can help women continue to thrive in their legal careers as she describes her own menopause story. When I started my role at Moore Barlow three years ago, I was excited to work in the legal sector, but just six months in, I started to feel massive imposter syndrome. My concentration, focus, memory and sleep all began to change suddenly, and I stopped contributing to meetings in case I forgot what I would say. I started having high and low, dark moods. I regularly hid in the toilet, berating myself for being useless and feeling shame walking back into the office, my internal critical voice in overdrive. I wanted to make a good start at the firm, but instead, I felt like a failure in the workplace and that my career may be over. My relationship with my husband was strained, and parenting my six-year-old son became more challenging. I couldn’t work out what was happening to me.

Market Commentary:

Hello A&O Shearman. Goodbye ‘Magic Circle’

The grouping of what once were the biggest and best UK law firms no longer holds any meaning and should be retired for good.

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