Weekly Update – 24th October 2022




UK & Ireland

Kirkland & Ellis hires London M&A partner from Clifford Chance in latest European infrastructure push

Kirkland & Ellis hired M&A specialist Toby Parkinson from Clifford Chance to boost its infrastructure transactions coverage in Europe. Parkinson was co-head of Clifford Chance’s global infrastructure group and now joins Kirkland in London as a partner and will co-lead the firm’s expansion in the European energy and infrastructure sector. Parkinson’s practice focuses on domestic and cross-border infrastructure, energy and renewables deals.


Meta associate GC among five partners joining DWF

UK law firm DWF added five partners in one week to its corporate, dispute resolution and finance & restructuring teams across the UK and in Saudi Arabia, including an associate general counsel from Facebook owner Meta.

Norton Rose Fulbright completes double partner hire from Gide and Pinsent Masons in Paris

Norton Rose Fulbright made a twin partner hire from Gide Loyrette Nouel and Pinsent Masons to further expand its Paris office. The duo comprise real estate finance partner Kamel Ben Salah, who joins from Gide, and M&A partner Pierre François, who joins from Pinsent Masons. Salah takes up residence in the firm’s banking and finance practice, where he will focus predominantly on real estate asset finance, corporate finance and project finance.

Gide Loyrette Nouel adds seven-strong team in Paris from Shearman & Sterling

Leading French law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel added a pair of partners and their team from Shearman & Sterling in Paris to set up a new employee shareholding practice. The team is led by the head of Shearman’s European governance and benefits team, Sami Toutounji, alongside newly-minted partner Françoise Even.

De Brauw Veteran Partner Leaves for Loyens & Loeff

Dutch firm Loyens & Loeff hired long-time partner and civil law notary Mark Rebergen from De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek’s Amsterdam practice.


HFW Adds Disputes Partner to Hong Kong Office

Joining from Hong Kong law firm Tanner De Witt is disputes lawyer Kevin Warburton. Kevin’s practice spans international arbitration, commercial litigation, regulatory investigations and inquiries, and privacy/cyber. The firm now counts 55 lawyers in the city, including 20 partners.

Clayton Utz Disputes Lawyer Leaves for Thomson Geer in Sydney

Thomson Geer welcomed Jack Fan to its construction team in Sydney as its newest partner. He joins from Clayton Utz, where he previously served as a special counsel. Fan has significant experience in complex disputes involving the construction, engineering, energy and infrastructure sectors.

The Americas

Willkie Farr & Gallagher hires trio of real estate partners from Munger Tolles in LA

Willkie Farr & Gallagher hired a trio of senior real estate lawyers from Munger Tolles & Olson to add further experience to its recently launched Los Angeles office. The team includes Misty Sanford, Karen Lorang and Aimee Contreras-Camua, all joining as partners in the firm’s real estate department, with Sanford becoming chair of its West Coast real estate practice.

Freshfields Hires Longtime Weil Gotshal Leveraged Finance Partner in New York

Allison Liff, a leveraged finance partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges for almost a decade, left to join Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as a partner in New York, the firm announced. Prior to joining Weil in 2013, she spent six years at Goldman Sachs, where she led the bank’s leveraged finance legal team in the United States.


BCLP London Partner Takes In-House Role At Google

Partner Sarah Klein announced that she us set to join Google in the role of senior legal counsel. Klein will focus on investigation and strategy at Google, as well as Alphabet’s regulatory response. Prior to this she has spent nearly two years at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and before that was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.

Siemens Litigator to Lead Germany’s Top Arbitration Institution

Germany’s top arbitration body, the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), hired its next secretary general from Siemens Energy. Starting her term on January 1, 2023, litigation specialist Ramona Schardt will head up the institute following a 13-year in-house career at the German energy giant working in international litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution, according to the Institute’s statement. She has been Siemens’ division litigation counsel for the past three years.

Promotions & Appointments:

Osborne Clarke elects new UK leader as Berg stands down

Osborne Clarke’s UK managing partner Ray Berg is passing on the reins after two terms in charge. Berg will be replaced by Conrad Davies, who will take up the post from January next year. As the firm’s international head of the urban dynamics group, Davies specialises in corporate real estate advice, which has seen him work with clients on the rapid changes taking place in modern cities and towns.

Paul Hastings ushers in new London and global leadership

Paul Hastings appointed Ross Anderson and Mei Lian as the two new co-chairs of the firm’s London office. Lian is a corporate and restructuring partner who joined Paul Hastings in May 2020. She previously spent 19 years at Shearman & Sterling. Finance partner Anderson meanwhile joined Paul Hastings in July 2022 as part of the group move from Latham & Watkins. He previously spent more than 12 years at Latham and three years at White and Case.

HSF disputes partner elected as president of the Law Society of Western Australia

A commercial disputes partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, Ante Golem, was elected unopposed as the Law Society of Western Australia’s president for 2023. Golem, who was first elected to that Law Society’s council in 2018, was the senior vice president for 2022. He is head of the HSF’s Perth disputes team, with a focus on disputes in the construction, engineering, mining, energy and resources and infrastructure sectors, all of which are key industries in the state.

Reed Smith names M&A lawyer as new Frankfurt managing partner in latest German shake-up

Reed Smith made more changes to its German management team by appointing corporate lawyer Octávio de Sousa as its new Frankfurt office managing partner, replacing Rolf Hünermann who has departed for McDermott Will & Emery. De Sousa joined the firm in 2015 from Willkie Farr & Gallagher as one of the founding partners of Reed Smith’s Frankfurt office alongside Hünermann. The Frankfurt leadership change follows the appointment of commercial disputes lawyer Daja Apetz-Dreier as the firm’s Munich office managing partner back in April, taking over from fellow disputes lawyer Oliver Rathje.

Mergers & Alliances:

BDB Pitmans and Womble Bond Dickinson in merger talks

BDB Pitmans and Womble Bond Dickinson are in merger discussions in a tie-up that would create a £440m revenue firm. BDB Pitmans is the product of a 2018 merger between Bircham Dyson Bell and Pitmans, which also acquired City-based Portrait Solicitors in April 2022. Similarly, Womble Bond Dickinson is also no stranger to mergers; legacy Bond Dickinson tied up with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in 2017 to create the latest transatlantic firm.

Over 40 BLM partners to take legal director roles at Clydes

Clyde & Co is nearing the end of its consultation process with BLM’s partnership, with some members moving onto a new salaried tier and others taking on legal director roles.

Mori Hamada Breaks into Indonesia with Domestic Firm Alliance

Big Four Japanese firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto entered into a strategic business alliance with Indonesian law firm ATD Law, paving the way for the planned opening of its first office in Indonesia at the beginning of next year.

Office Openings & Closing:

Brown Rudnick shutters Paris office after nine years

US law firm Brown Rudnick closed its office in Paris. The Boston-based firm shuttered the office last month having launched in the French capital at the end of 2013 with the hire of partner Sébastien Bonnard from French firm Lacourte Raquin Tatar alongside a team of associates and trainees. The firm said at the time that the office would boost its arbitration strength and connect its English and French civil and common law offerings to its broader focus on US litigation.

Leading US class action lawyer sets sights on UK with Manchester law firm opening

The founder of a leading US claimant class action law firm is opening a new firm in the UK. Mark Lanier, founder of Texas-based Lanier Law Firm, is setting up the new firm – Lanier Longstaff Hedar & Roberts (LLHR) – in Manchester to target group legal actions such as pharmaceutical claims, product liability and competition liability.

Gowling hires seven-strong team for Leeds launch

Gowling WLG hired a team of real estate lawyers from Womble Bond Dickinson’s (WBD) Leeds office to kickstart the firm’s entry into the city. Seven lawyers have been hired by Gowling to bolster the firm’s housing development and regeneration (HDR) practice and better serve its national and northern-based residential development, social provider and regeneration clients. Julia Dacre Field will be joining the firm as a partner. She will lead the team and will work with national head of HDR Ashley Mitchell and senior HDR partner Richard Bate. Kathryn Wood and James Lawson will join as legal directors, and Mark Owen has been appointed as of counsel. They will be joined by Patrick Jackson and Emma Speight as principal associates and Liam Turner as senior associate.

Clifford Chance Lines Up New London HQ, Set to Leave Canary Wharf

The firm’s shift west to the City after two decades in Canary Wharf. The redevelopment is taking place over the old City Place House site at 55 Basinghall Street, the former location of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Davis Polk to Close Paris Office by End of 2022

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP will close its Paris office at the end of the year to prioritize its British and American operations. The office, which opened in 1962 and was the firm’s first outpost outside the U.S., today counts five lawyers, including one partner, who are all being outplaced, the firm said.

New Dentons Compliance and Investigations Unit Aims at Traversing Legal and Non-Legal Services

To address the dramatically changing and increasingly complex web of criminal and regulatory laws governing multinational corporations, Dentons launched a new Global Compliance and Investigations offering (“GCI”). GCI brings together a team with nearly a decade of experience, providing clients with local insight into culture and law, backed by the global experience and breadth of expertise of the world’s largest law firm. This newly launched Global Compliance and Investigations group will work with the firm’s Global Advisors to provide linked-up services beyond the traditional legal services offering.

Fragomen Opens Office in Geneva as Global Growth Strategy Kicks In

Fragomen announced that it opened an office in Geneva, Switzerland, its second in the country and the firm’s ninth European office which will be led by Partner Timo Heck and supported by Europe Managing Partner George Koureas. Together with the firm’s global talent network, this office will further enable the firm to effectively assist both current and new clients across Switzerland’s 26 Cantons and their specific immigration processes. The firm is looking to open three more offices by the end of the year, according to its newly named co-chairs.


Top 100 UK firms see average fee income grow over past financial year, study finds

The top 100 UK law firms saw fee income grow by 9% on average over the past financial year, though many firms are bracing for a tougher period ahead, according to PwC’s annual Law Firm Survey. The survey showed that top 10 firms saw a double-digit rise in fee income, clocking in at 10.2% – more than double the 4.5% fee income growth they had forecast.

Technology & Innovation:

The importance of quickly finding relevant, contextual information from multiple information systems

Sean Wilson explains how SimSage’s AI-powered search platform can instantly find crucial information. The amount of data being captured and held within businesses globally is growing at unprecedented rates, with analysts suggesting data growth in companies now easily exceeds 30% per month. The additional complexity means even small law firms now use many types of systems to capture and store their information, including email; Sharepoint; Google docs; iManage and many others. As data volumes grow, many of these systems require users to spend time tagging information to make it easier to find it later. SimSage is a company that specialises in helping organisations of all types and sizes globally with managing these issues, with rapidly increasing engagement at present with the legal, insurance, health, and finance sectors.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Firms including DLA Piper, Linklaters back study into lack of black partners in the UK

Five of the world’s biggest law firms have contributed to a new study looking into the underrepresentation of black lawyers holding senior positions in the UK. DLA Piper, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins and Linklaters supported ‘The 1% Study’, which examines why there is a lack of black partners in UK law firms and outlines steps to improve representation at partnership level.

Travers Latest Firm to Introduce Menopause Policy

Travers Smith is the latest law firm to support employees experiencing menopause, with others, including Freshfields and Linklaters, having done the same. Menopause policies are gaining in popularity at law firms and other organizations as awareness rises about the need to protect women experiencing such health difficulties.

Dechert, DLA Piper Take On Displaced Afghan Lawyers In UK

The Displaced Legal Talent Initiative (DLTI) was launched at the PILnet Global Forum in Dublin this week by the charity Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) working with Dechert and DLA Piper to support law firms to hire displaced legal professionals. It is a global organization that matches skilled refugees with employers. The initiative, which aims to secure skilled worker visas for Afghan lawyers, is looking for five more firms to join the ‘Spring/Summer 2023 cohort’.

Ukrainian Legal Developments:

‘The Test of Our Times’: Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Warns Against Turning Blind Eye to Putin, Disinformation

Marie Yovanovitch told an audience at the Women, Influence & Power in Law conference of the behind-the-scenes events leading up to her removal as ambassador and the power of disinformation campaigns.

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