Weekly Update – 24th of June 2024

Diversity & Inclusion:

Daniel Abebe to Become First Black Dean of Columbia Law School

In a letter announcing his arrival, Columbia University President Minouche Shafik described Abebe as “an impressive and experienced academic leader.”

‘Hiding Since I Was Eight Years Old’: Ashurst’s First Openly Transgender Woman Shares Her Story

Senior test analyst at Ashurst Bridgette Metior shares her challenges and successes during Pride Month 2024.

‘It Concerns Me to See People Who Still Can’t Be Themselves’ HSF’s Global Co-Head of Arbitration Shares His Pride Story

Recently appointed global co-chair of international arbitration at Herbert Smith Freehills, Simon Chapman KC discusses what it’s been like for him to work in an open and accepting atmosphere as a homosexual man.

Mindful of Risks, Holland & Knight’s New Diversity Partner Aims to Maintain ‘Robust’ Strategy

O’Kelly McWilliams takes on the role Tiffani Lee, who held the role since 2008 but was recently promoted to deputy managing partner.

‘We’ve gone a long way but are by no means complacent’ – embedding LGBTQ+ inclusion in the legal profession

Daniel Gerring, a partner at Travers Smith and a seasoned LGBTQ+ advocate, talks with Legal Business about why it’s critical for legal firms to avoid complacency and how they should keep pushing for LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Women legal professionals team up to promote ‘menopause-friendly’ workplace

Managed by eight lawyers and legal business professionals, #menopausematters has published a guide which highlights their personal experiences alongside advice for employers.


Technology & Innovation:

AI Is Old News, Get Ready for Quantum Computing

While artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more commonplace in the legal industry, quantum computing—a new and potentially more disruptive technology—is rapidly approaching.

AI Threatens User Privacy

The application of AI tools needs to be done so cautiously in the absence of clear legal guidelines. This article discusses some of the concerns around user and transaction privacy that businesses and consumers of AI apps should be aware of.

AI Tips in the Legal World: A Paralegal’s Perspective

Melissa Acosta-Amarante believes that AI “can’t replace paralegal professionals, but it is a tool we have to aid us and assist us with our work”.

AI Gold Rush: Are We Repeating the Dot-Com Bubble?

The current AI bubble and the dot-com boom share many similarities, including a cycle of technological progress, consumer enthusiasm, and speculative investment that frequently marks pivotal moments in tech history.

Allens Study Reveals Risks of Using AI for Legal Advice

Allens’ Miriam Stiel said, “I just thought that was quite staggering, that it could not only just get it wrong, but actually change things to make it look much more reliable.”

What Should GCs Be Doing to Prepare for the EU AI Act?

The Artificial Intelligence Act’s extraterritorial reach is one reason why international businesses looking to expand into the EU must be aware of the ramifications.

As Law Firm Tech Options Grow, Keep It People-Focused, Accessible, Urge Tech Experts

Scott Milner of Morgan Lewis suggested using a kind of hands-on empathy to encourage staff members to adopt new technology or methods of operation.

The AI Advantage: Stay Ahead or Fall Behind

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is dynamic, always changing and improving with each new version that offers more advanced features and enhanced functionality. It is a mistake to wait for AI to reach its pinnacle of development before implementing it.


Mergers & Alliances:

Smokeball Launches Free Product Partnership with Texas State Bar

The Texas State Bar will be the first in the nation to offer free membership access to Smokeball’s trust accounting software to all of its members thanks to a special relationship.

White & Case, Latham Advise on Saudi Aramco’s $11.2 Billion Share Offering

Since Saudi Aramco’s 2019 initial public offering, Aramco’s secondary offering is the largest equity capital markets offering in the Middle East.

Africa Deal Round-up: A&O Shearman, Dentons Lead on $1.3B Morocco Project

Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May are advising parties on the sale of a majority share in Guinness Nigeria in another deal in Nigeria.

Linklaters and Kirkland Lead on $1.8B Tate & Lyle Transaction

Additionally, Weil Gotshal and Skadden, have joined a $1.9 billion private equity transaction.

Simpson Thacher, Anderson Mori Advise Blackstone on $1.7B Offer for Japanese Comic Company

In recent months, the Japanese market has been flooded with assets up for sale as local holding corporations try to reduce their portfolio and concentrate on their core offers and assets.

Javerbaum Wurgaft Announces Begelman & Orlow Merger

Eric G. Kahn, Managing Shareholder said, “We are thrilled to be adding these seasoned attorneys and unique practice areas to our Firm”.

SRA issues warning over law firm mergers

Law firms engaged in their own mergers or acquisitions have received a fresh warning from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) stating that they need to prioritize their customers’ interests and perform sufficient due diligence.

Skadden, Weil shepherd Honeywell’s $1.9bn CAES acquisition

For its $1.9 billion acquisition of the defence technology business CAES Systems from Advent International, which is receiving advice from Weil Gotshal & Manges, Honeywell is represented by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.



UK & Ireland

Cadwalader duo join Greenberg Traurig in London

Today, GT announced the addition of newly appointed Of Counsel William Lo, a former associate at Cadwalader, to its finance and restructuring practice as a shareholder, along with real estate finance partner Duncan Hubbard. Hubbard oversaw the London real estate finance team at Norton Rose Fulbright before both attorneys joined the company at the beginning of 2019.

William Fry recruits’ technology consultant Susan Walsh

Susan Walsh has been hired as a consultant by William Fry to work in the company’s IT department.  Ms Walsh specialises in commercial and technology law.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin expands employment and immigration team

The employment and immigration division at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, a commercial law company in Northern Ireland, has grown with the addition of trainee solicitor Ashleigh Wilson and associate director George Kilpatrick.

Walkers appoints Jody Toner as head of real estate

Jody Toner, a partner and the leader of Walkers’ Irish real estate business, has returned to the international law firm.



Curtis Expands in Italy, Hiring Veteran Corporate, Compliance Partner in Rome

Gianluca Cattani headed the corporate and compliance division for nearly twenty-four years at Studio Legale Delfino e Associati, an associate of Willkie Farr & Gallagher in Italy.

Dentons Lures Mayer Brown Paris Partner; McDermott Names German Managing Partner

McDermott has appointed Matthias Kampshoff as its managing partner for Germany and Joydeep Sengupta, a partner at Mayer Brown, has joined Dentons’ Paris litigation and dispute resolution group to establish and oversee the compliance and investigations team..

Latham Brings Back Partner After 14 Months at Linklaters

Guccione became a partner at Latham in 2020 and departed in May 2023 to join Linklaters.



Long-time HFW partner joins Addleshaws as SG head

Energy specialist Chanaka Kumarasinghe, who has spent his whole 22-year career with HFW, has been appointed as the head of Addleshaw Goddard’s Singapore office.

Pag GC to Join MoFo Tokyo as Partner

The appointment of seasoned corporate attorney Gregory Salathé as a partner based in Tokyo will enable Morrison & Foerster to expand its M&A and private equity businesses throughout Asia. Salathé, who is now a partner and group general counsel at investment manager PAG, will join the company in September.

Ex-Trowers KL Senior Associate Returns as SG Partner

Cassandra Lim, a former senior associate at Trowers & Hamlins’ Kuala Lumpur office, has rejoined the UK law firm as a corporate partner in Singapore.

HSF Names Returnee as Tokyo Construction Disputes Head

Ben Jolley, who formerly had an in house position at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has returned to Herbert Smith Freehills, a global law firm, to lead its construction disputes in Tokyo.


The Americas

People in the News—June 17, 2024—Gawthrop Greenwood, MacElree Harvey

Gawthrop Greenwood, a legal company, reported that Michael Naseef, who has been a partner there since June 1st, is joining to focus on real estate and corporate law.

Midsize Moves: Weinstein Senior Adds Pair from McKuin Frankel, McGlinchey Stafford Hires Partner From Cohen Seglias

Two attorneys from McKuin Frankel Whitehead’s entertainment department have joined Weinstein Senior, which has announced its growth; McGlinchey Stafford has announced the arrival of Shanlon Wu, who will join the firm as a member (partner) in its Washington D.C. office.

King & Spalding Welcomes Return of Structured Finance Partners Martin Eid and Katie Weiss to New York Office

Martin Eid and Katie Weiss, partners in structured finance, have returned to King & Spalding. They join the New York office’s Finance and Restructuring practice area.

Milbank Lands Chief Trial Counsel at FTC Amid Growth in Antitrust, Regulatory Practices

Milbank’s Fiona Schaeffer said “Over the past few years, we have really had incredible growth in the antitrust and regulatory practice. Strategically, James Weingarten fits in as a first chair. And we do a lot of deal work and M&A, and James helps in those areas as well”.

Cadwalader, recruiting from Mayer Brown, Adds Securitization and Financial Regulatory Partner

According to Christopher Horn, he intends to counsel the current clientele of his new business in addition to bringing along a few of his existing clients to Cadwalader.

Perkins Coie Hires K&L Gates Partner as Private Capital Chair

Jacquie Duval was recently appointed chair of Private Capital and Fund Formation at Perkins Coie in New York. With more than ten years of experience, Jacquie offers advice to private foundations, venture funds, family offices, and private equity organizations.

Paul Hastings Adds Vinson & Elkins Litigation Partner in Dallas

Partner Manuel Berrelez of Vinson & Elkins joins the substantial financial team that migrated to Paul Hastings in Dallas and Houston in March at the company’s Dallas location.

Mayer Brown Recruits Gibson Dunn Partner to Co-Lead Employment Litigation Practice

Matthew Ingber, managing partner of the firm’s New York office stated that Gabrielle Levin’s addition is “a clear indication of our commitment to developing a versatile practice in New York”.

Shutts & Bowen Rehires Tallahassee Partner Who Left in 2023 to Help Found Boutique

With the support of a former Florida Supreme Court justice, a former general counsel to Governor Charlie Crist, and a former managing partner of Shutts & Bowen’s Tallahassee office, Amber Nunnally left in January of last year to help start Lawson Huck Gonzalez.

LA Piper Hires Partner Pair from Reed Smith in New York

According to the company, the two offer to DLA Piper specialized knowledge pertaining to agreements with the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Morrison & Foerster Hires Ex-SEC Adviser as Governance Partner

Ryan Adams leaves Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to join Morrison & Foerster.

Littler Brings In Third Toronto Partner in Two Months

The spring lateral rush has subsided a little, but in the past week, Littler Mendelson, Gowling WLG, and Borden Ladner Gervais have all welcomed new attorneys.

Withers Hires Veteran Commercial Litigator in New York

Stephen Younger, a commercial litigator in New York, announced on Thursday that he was moving to an international law firm, Withers, for the third time in as many years.

Cozen O’Connor, Faegre Drinker Add to State AGs Practices

In addition to former New York deputy attorney general Avi Schick, Faegre Drinker has named former Arkansas attorney general Dustin McDaniel as a co-chair of the Cozen O’Connor practice. In the past, Schick oversaw the government investigations, compliance, and enforcement practices in New York for Troutman Pepper Hamilton & Sanders.

Morrison Foerster, Gibson Dunn, DLA Piper, McGlinchey Bring on DC Lateral Partners

Steve Dixon was hired by DLA Piper from Steptoe, and Ryan Adams was brought on by Morrison Foerster from Skadden. Additionally, Victoria Lauterbach left Foley Hoag to work for Gibson Dunn.

People in the News—June 21, 2024—King Spry, Blank Rome

Rachel Sokolsky has joined the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based firm King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul’s special education legal practice.

Cox Castle Hires New Construction Litigation Partner

After working with Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald for 12 years, Robert Shaia now works for Cox Castle.

Midsize Moves: Chapman and Cutler Scoops Rivkin Radler Partner, Hall Estill Hires Two Associates

The banking and financial services division and commercial lending group of Chapman and Cutler have welcomed Michael Twersky as a partner. Hall Estill also announced the addition of Margaret White and Morgan Lawson as associates to the firm’s Oklahoma City office.


In house

Parent of Perkins, Huddle House Hires Ex-Panera GC as Legal Chief

Louis DiPietro’s employment was announced on Monday by Ascent Hospitality, the franchisor of the two businesses, which together have around 600 locations. Ascent Hospitality is based in Atlanta.

Bumble Finds Successor to Legal Chief Who Moved On in Its Own Hive

In 2018, Elizabeth Monteleone began working as legal counsel for the dating and networking app. She became chief legal officer six years later.

Paramount General Counsel Heads for Exit in Wake of Failed Merger

In a memo to her legal team departing GC Christa D’Alimonte said “Our work doesn’t often make headlines or get recognized at glitzy award shows, but you are the heart and soul of this company,”.

US tech unicorn Sigma hires first general counsel from San Francisco boutique

Ali Harmer, a San Francisco digital law boutique’s first general counsel, has joined US data analytics software business Sigma.


Team Moves

Foley Expands in Texas with 2 Jackson Walker Litigators, Jones Walker Finance Lawyer

Foley & Lardner hired Jackson Walker litigators Trey McDonald of Houston and James McFall of Dallas because their clients’ requirements were better served by a larger firm.



The 2024 DBR 100: Ranked By Gross Revenue

In 2023, the majority of Florida businesses experienced a significant increase in sales over the prior year.

The 2024 DBR 100: Profit Per Equity Partner

In 2023, the earnings per equity partner differed significantly between companies.

The 2024 DBR 100: Ranked By Revenue Per Lawyer

The money generated per lawyer did not show substantial growth for the majority of Florida’s leading firms.

Latham Mulls ‘Super’ Points for Partner Pay, as Industry Makes ‘Tectonic’ Comp Changes

Some observers say “Super” points at Latham as well as the legal industry are gaining traction.


Promotions & Appointments:

Akin Elects Co-Chairs to Succeed Longtime Chair Kim Koopersmith

As the new co-chairs of the company, Daniel Walsh, a corporate partner in London, and Abid Qureshi, a partner in financial restructuring in New York, will apply their firm leadership backgrounds on April 1st, 2025.

Young Conaway Partner Selected as Secretary of the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors (AIRA)

Ken Enos, a partner in bankruptcy and corporate restructuring at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, has been chosen to serve as secretary of the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors (AIRA).

Reed Smith Cements Its Focus: Meet the New Miami Managing Partner

Reed Smith has named Francisco Rodriguez, a partner in the global commercial disputes practice, as the next managing partner of the Miami office.

Motley Rice Hires New Office Leader to Deepen Mass Torts, Trial Practice in Philadelphia

As the Ozempic mass tort litigation is consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Michael Daly arrives from Pogust Goodhead.

Four senior appointments at Addleshaw Goddard Ireland

Addleshaw Goddard Ireland has announced the addition of Craig Sowman as joint head of restructuring and insolvency alongside internal promotions for Caoilfhionn Ní Chuanacháin, Doreen Mescal and John Darmody.

Denise Kirwan appointed as director of social work body

Comyn Kelleher Tobin partner Denise Kirwan has been named to the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) board as an independent director.


Office Openings & Closing:

Labor & Employment Law Firm Enters Buffalo, Serving ‘Numerous Existing Clients’ in region

Richard Braden, managing shareholder of Ogletree’s Buffalo office said, “the feeling is that there are plenty of clients that need to be serviced throughout New York state beyond New York City”.

Freeman Mathis & Gary Opens Office in Miami Weeks After Fort Lauderdale Launch

For its third Florida office, the Am Law 200 firm with its headquarters in Atlanta is acquiring all of the attorneys from the neighbourhood civil defence firm Klein Park & Lowe.

DC-Area Law Firms Are Looking to Delaware Market for Possible Expansion

The growth attitude carries on the recent trend of D.C. area businesses opening new locations. Covington, Miles & Stockbridge, Steptoe, Venable, and Arnold & Porter have all relocated to new cities in the previous 18 months alone.

MoFo Closing Beijing Office, Partners Relocate

Over the past 12 months, a number of American companies have closed their mainland China offices and reduced their Chinese practice offerings.


Market Commentary:

The Real Impact of the Biden Era on M&A

Elizabeth Suarez, Kaylynn Moss and Terry Calvani write “Changes in the merger review process have undoubtedly increased the cost and resource burden on merging parties”.

Clifford Chance: Where Next for the UK’s Original Private Equity Golden Child?

Although U.S. companies have traditionally hired from the firm’s renowned private equity offering, leaders Jonny Myers and Spencer Baylin think the market is changing in their favour.

For Law Firms, There’s No Substitute For Associate Growth

There are currently about 84,651 associates in the NLJ 500 overall—more than 10,000 more associates since 2018.

Communication—The Often-Overlooked Keystone to Mergers and Acquisitions

Businesses need to continuously consider their long-term objectives, the changes that will result from the deal, and how these changes will impact all parties involved during the M&A process.

How Mentoring Helps Combat Imposter Syndrome in Young Lawyers

One such lawyer in question stated, “Of course, the first thing I discovered as an associate was just how much I didn’t know, even after three years of law school and months of studying for the bar exam. Luckily, coworkers volunteered to be my mentors before I could get overly consumed by myself. Mentoring is essential to development and success for a reason, particularly in the legal field”.

Post-COVID Growth in Africa Fuels Arbitration and Law Firm Strategies

African party activity in the London Court of International Arbitration increased dramatically from 4% in 2022 to 8% in 2023, causing legal firms to plan ahead for this dynamic transition.

Law Firm Headcount Growth Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

As some firms grew at slower rates in light of repressed demand on the transactional side, others added to their benches to meet clients’ litigation needs.

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