UK & Ireland
Eversheds Sutherland has added Herbert Smith Freehills’ former infrastructure M&A finance lead David Wyles to its London office, further strengthening its growing energy & infrastructure offering.
Andy Casey, who was global head of corporate secretarial services at U.K. firm Eversheds Sutherland and its related arm Konexo until 2021, has joined Deloitte Legal as a partner in its legal entity management team.
U.S. firm O’Melveny & Myers has made a rare London hire, adding finance and restructuring lawyer from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to its offering. Greg Campbell, who has over 25 years of experience in the legal industry, had been part of the global finance and business restructuring practices at Gibson Dunn since 2008.
Latham & Watkins hired a Hogan Lovells partner to join its mergers and acquisitions and private equity practice in Frankfurt. Alexander “Stefan” Rieger spent more than two decades at Hogan Lovells, according to his LinkedIn profile, advising on infrastructure funds, pension funds, private equity investors and project developers on cross-border M&A and joint ventures.
In Paris, Orrick has recruited a new head of restructuring from Eversheds Sutherland, who arrives with a team of three, and in Germany, the firm has brought on an energy and infrastructure partner, also from Eversheds; Pinsent Masons boosts its international arbitration team with four lawyers, including a partner, from a Paris boutique.
Based in Dubai, Olivia Darlington joins the firm’s global insurance practice having gained expertise in contentious insurance matters. She advises on the defence of high-value claims against professional services firms, financial institutions and directors and officers, and on complex coverage matters.
Fabio Cozzi joins McDermott as a partner and head of the firm’s Milan litigation practice. He was a partner at Delfino Willkie Farr & Gallagher for three years, according to his LinkedIn profile. He previously practised at Paul Hastings in Milan and Washington, D.C., for seven years, rising to senior associate, according to LinkedIn.
K&L Gates has strengthened its tax and project finance benches in Australia with the hire of King & Wood Mallesons special counsel Stuart Broadfoot and Bird & Bird partner James Durnall in Sydney.
Watson Farley & Williams has hired a partner for its disputes practice in Australia. Nathan Eastwood joins the firm from Clifford Chance in Sydney, where he was a counsel.
Johneth Park, the general counsel of Seoul-based Doosan Corp and chief legal officer of its Connecticut-based affiliate HyAxiom Inc, has rejoined Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in Seoul.
Reed Smith has been on a hiring drive across Asia over the past few months, adding a lawyer in Beijing and several in Singapore. Jill Wong, who was a partner at Hong Kong law firm Howse Williams, specializes in banking and securities regulatory and compliance matters.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has brought on Amanda Allexon from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, as a partner in its financial institutions practices in Washington, D.C., becoming one of the latest firms to add to its financial institution’s team.
Global law firm K&L Gates recently welcomed Scott Graham as an asset and corporate finance partner in the Pittsburgh office.
Milbank is adding a 10-lawyer group from King & Spalding, including structured finance head Michael Urschel, partners Martin Eid and Kathryn Weiss and at least seven other attorneys, the firm said Tuesday. The group will be based out of Milbank’s New York office.
Norton Rose has now doubled its lawyer headcount in the Midwest, the firm noted, after a lateral group arrival from BCLP.
Omar Samji said his move to Weil was facilitated by what’s going on in the energy industry and wanting to be part of a “growing team” to take advantage of practice opportunities.
Moses & Singer LLP is pleased to announce the arrival of Paul Eckles as a partner in its Litigation Practice Group. Eckles joins the firm from K&L Gates, where he was a commercial disputes partner.
And other announcements of recent hirings and promotions of New York attorneys.
Laura Lin has joined Simpson Thacher in Palo Alto after over 11 years at her previous firm.
Manhattan expansion follows the opening of an office in Washington, D.C., and naming Anna Jinhua Wang as partner in charge in New York.
John Chibbaro’s speciality is in high demand as developers look to repurpose land in Florida while environmental regulators step up their oversight.
A day after Milbank took a 10-lawyer finance team from King & Spalding, more lawyers from the same practice are leaving, as partner Ryan McNaughton and others head to Cadwalader.
Libby Stockstill has become the first general counsel of Vuori, a maker of Southern California-inspired apparel that launched in 2015 and turned profitable two years later.
Daniel Hart, the longtime chief legal and risk officer for casual footwear brand Crocs, will be retiring in April 2024, the company disclosed Monday in a securities filing.
Genesis Energy gave chief legal officer Kristen Jesulaitis the additional role of chief financial officer, an unusual expansion of duties for a corporate legal chief. In-house consultant Susan Hackett says the pairing is rare partly because CEOs typically look to a company’s legal and finance chiefs to counterbalance one another by offering differing viewpoints.
Sam Brown joined Copper in June 2022 as head of product legal and has been acting general counsel since February.
“I’m thrilled to join the leadership team of Sanctuary Wealth,” said Kevin Miller. “Legal, regulatory and compliance functions can, and should, play a crucial role in both protecting the businesses of wealth managers and reinforcing their success.”
James Shaughnessy joined the electronic signature company from Workday in May 2022.
Promotions & Appointments:
A number of other law firms have announced their own promotions in recent days, including Macfarlanes and Addleshaw Goddard.
Nearly half of the 20 promotions are in the UK firm’s London office.
The high numbers are in keeping with a set of bumper promotions rounds at law firms with large UK operations
HSF has promoted 32 to it’s global partnership, while Dentons has made a record number of promotions in the UKIME region.
Clydes’ 26 promotions represent the largest cohort promoted within one year in the firm’s history—although this figure includes four promotions made in the summer of 2022, following the firm’s merger with BLM.
The latest partners were approved in Lisbon this week on the heels of the firm announcing a record-high revenue.
Mergers & Alliances:
A group from MJ Hudson, which was a provider for the asset management industry before its collapse, has joined Haynes and Boone, boosting the firm’s private equity, venture capital and investment management expertise.
Norton Rose has now doubled its lawyer head count in the Midwest, the firm noted, after a lateral group arrival from BCLP.
Two years after ending its 13-year China alliance, McDermott Will & Emery has appointed a new global head of China practice, based in London. Peter Lu has joined the firm in London from Baker McKenzie, where he has spent over four years. Lu joins McDermott with a team of lawyers including Tina Hartwright, who has been promoted to counsel at McDermott, Ennio Keyte and Alonso de Reyes Lanfranco, all of whom are corporate lawyers.
Office Openings & Closing:
The opening of the Tokyo office comes less than two months after the UK firm launched an office in South Korea.
The new office will be anchored by Megan Gates, who was chair of Mintz’s corporate and securities practice.
The Portuguese law firm’s Singapore office will offer a Lusophone practice to advise on both inbound and outbound business interests between Portugal, the Asia-Pacific region, and the Luso-African countries of Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde in which Morais Leitão has offices.
Shin & Kim’s new Singapore outfit marks the Big Six South Korean law firm’s fifth overseas office.
“Given the headwinds the industry faced in 2022, I think it was a strong performance because of the downturns on the corporate side of the house,” said newly elevated global managing partner Casey Ryan.
A step back in financials is a chance to look around a new corner.
A multiyear look into the evolution of law firm financials highlights some interesting trends in their approach to growth.
While revenue, profits and profits per equity partner declined in 2022, the comparison with 2021—when demand at the firm hit record levels and a contingency win boosted results—is misleading, according to CEO John Hensien.
Large law firms became more expensive to operate and less profitable in 2022, despite growing in terms of revenue and head count. While equity partners took home less money, associate and nonequity partner compensation continued to rise. Rate increases managed to keep gross revenue in the black as demand slid by nearly 2%. Still, the profit margin for The Am Law 100 fell 2 percentage points to 42%, wiping out the profitability gains of 2021 and putting firms below the average 2020 profit margin of 43%.
Fox Rothschild improved upon its 2021-22 revenue by 4.3% to reach $676 million in its latest financial year, although the firm fell short of the previous year’s profitability because of mounting personnel and travel expenses.
It’s no newsflash to report that we’re in the midst of a significant economic downturn. That being said, here’s an important message for businesses across industries and their general counsel: when the economy is in turmoil, lawyers and law firms can be a godsend, especially when companies optimize their legal spend to extract a maximum return on investment.
Technology & Innovation:
A discussion of the appeal of arbitration for technology related matter and the potential challenges it presents for arbitrators, and a look at the legal and regulatory landscape arbitrators will navigate when faced with cases involving new technologies.
Despite the expertise at cloud providers and firms, breaches can often stem from a lack of defined roles and a lack of oversight.
While the “ChatGPT and Generative AI within Law Firms” report by Thomson Reuters Institute found a generational divide in law firms regarding generative AI risks, that situation may change as legal professionals become more knowledgeable about the technology.
ChatGPT can provide a new channel for client engagement and interaction, which can help improve the client experience and drive client acquisition. It also has its pros and cons.
Experience management platform ikaun is looking to use OpenAI’s GPT-4 along with its own generative AI technology to expedite the RFP process.
As companies invest more money in influencer advertising and partnerships, disputes will follow, in which critical facts will be stored within social media accounts and messaging tools, creating a host of challenges when it comes time to access, collect and review evidence.
Watercooler talks in the legal tech industry have all revolved around generative AI in recent weeks, comprising sentiments of fear, excitement, curiosity and questions. Here, Legaltech News looked at some ways law firms are actually approaching generative AI.
As antitrust regulators around the world shorten leashes on tech multinationals, experts advise that now would be the time for companies to beef up their antitrust counsel.
ChatGPT has received increased scrutiny from European data protection authorities, as well as from its citizens, who are starting to file complaints using what lawyers say could be effective strategies.
Diversity & Inclusion:
This year’s promotions include the largest cohort of women for at least eight years.
Nearly 45% of associates said they would like to make partner at their firms, compared to 23.5% in 2021, according to a new survey from Major, Lindsey & Africa and Above the Law.
Regulators are expanding reporting requirements, and non-compliant companies could face financial liabilities.
“Firms are hyper-focused on partner acquisitions as a means to grow in this market,” said Decipher analyst Greg Hamman, who compiled the data.
Sources familiar with the moves said the cuts in business professionals addressed business and efficiency needs while the attorney cuts followed the firm’s annual review process.
Reliance on work that propelled firms into the upper echelons of the industry may no longer be a safe bet. But there are other ways to approach private capital.
While 2022 was a return to reality, 2023 may be the real challenge. Inflation. Recession. War. Interest rate hikes. While not quite the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, those four data points conspired to create a rather difficult business environment in 2022, and even the ever-resilient legal industry felt the pain.
Law firms in Washington, D.C., have made a string of hires in environmental practices this year, with practice heads seeing opportunities for growth amid signs of increased federal enforcement and new environmental regulations under the Biden administration.
Companies that want to make an impact through their ESG investments will need to decide which components best apply to their business and work within those frameworks to achieve their goals.
Kirkland recently cut Salt Lake City associates within 18 months of hiring them to work for national clients, while other recent Big Law entrants have grown more slowly and focused on local clients.
“Businesses understand the value of implementing ESG principles as one way in which to improve their bottom-line costs,” said practice leader Frannie Reilly.
General counsel are hungry for content that keeps them up-to-date on legal developments that could affect their business, but fewer than 10% said in a survey that firms are doing enough to provide it.