Ukraine Legal Developments:
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has been appointed as counsel by Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice in European human rights proceedings being brought against Russia. The proceedings, which will be brought under the European Convention on Human Rights, arise from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the firm called ‘unprovoked, unjustified and unlawful acts of aggression’.
Justice for Ukraine calls for a tribunal modelled on the legal framework created to prosecute criminals from the Second World War in the Nuremberg trials. Its 140 signatories include Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Koleba, former prosecutor for the Nuremberg Military Tribunal Benjamin Ferencz, and former president of the European Court of Human Rights Sir Nicolas Bratza, as well as former UK prime ministers Sir John Major and Gordon Brown.
Baker McKenzie has resumed its operation in Kyiv following the earlier suspension of work resulting from the Russian attacks on Ukraine.
Whilst they think that any lawyers in either Moscow or St. Petersburg who are overseas citizens or there on secondment will most likely be relocated elsewhere, there is an issue with staff on the ground who are Russian. “Some firms will relocate their personnel to other regions, and some won’t. For the lawyers [in Russia] who don’t get relocated, the two fundamental questions for firms are—what do you pay them, and how do you pay them?”
Values. This is a topic that has come up again and again in both the corporate and legal worlds. International law firms have seen that it is no longer possible for them to sit on the fence—that they are in and of the broader world and cannot always be issue agnostic. They saw this after the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. They witnessed this as Jones Day, which represented President Donald Trump in post-election lawsuits aimed at overturning the 2020 election, was targeted by protesters, in social media, and even by some of its own lawyers.
But as the West takes Russia offline, several emerging economies have maintained a deafening neutrality on Ukraine as they seek to hedge against Western dependence and maintain links with governments and investors in all parts of the world. Notable countries in this camp include Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China. And for law firms faced with the twin concerns of relocating Russian lawyers, where feasible, and rethinking international strategies post-Russia, this could spell opportunity.
Morrison & Foerster partners John Smith and Brandon Van Grack, both co-chairs of the firm’s national security practice, recently spoke with Law.com about how they’re managing the crisis for clients and why the U.S. government has “shattered the playbook” in its response.
Alex Carver moves from Freshfields to Eversheds to boost its infrastructure practice.
Sarah Melaney has joined Withers’ London office from Brown Rudnick.
Mary Mackintosh, formerly of Gowling’s, joins WFW as their first general counsel.
Rich Harbot, formerly of BCLP, joins DLA Piper.
Marie-Claire Strawbridge has joined Morrison & Foerster from Freshfields, where she was a counsel.
Martin Sharkey, finance partner, joins Schulte Roth from Dentons.
Judith Seddon, one of the UK’s top financial crime lawyers, has joined Dechert from Ropes & Gray.
Elia Montorio, corporate partner, has joined Shoosmiths’ Manchester office from DLA Piper.
Aasha Choudhary has joined Shakespeare Martineau’s family team in Birmingham from Mills & Reeve.
Dan Faundez, private funds specialist, has joined Simmons & Simmons’ Bristol office from Osborne Clarke, where he was an associate director.
Loukas Mistelis has joined Clyde & Co’s London office.
Dr Marc Jacob joins DLA Piper’s Frankfurt office from Shearman & Sterling.
Paul Lingard, Miriam D’Souza, and Jessica Davies have joined Ashurst’s Perth office from Norton Rose Fulbright.
Cristina De Dona, international chief counsel, has moved from The Hershey Company to Prada Group.
Michelle Anne Clark joins Littler, the worlds largest employment and labor law practice representing management, from Quinn Emanuel in Fresno.
Jennifer Bennett, IP specialist, joins Jones Day’s San Francisco office from Dentons.
Eunice Choi, formerly a special counsel at Cooley, joins Goodwin.
Patrick Clyder joins McGuireWoods from Swanson, Martin & Bell, where he co-chaired the product liability practice group.
Steven Rutkovsky, formerly of Ropes & Grey, has joined Sidley Austin’s New York office.
Jeffrey D Saferstein, formerly of Paul Weiss, has joined Weil Gotshal.
Megan Ward Spelman has joined Paul Weiss’ corporate department from Kirkland & Ellis.
Chris R.J. Pace joins Winston & Strawn’s Dallas office.
James Fischer and Alexander Meiseles join from Faegre Drinker and will be based in the Short Hills office and New York City office, respectively.
Amy Jane Longo joins Ropes & Gray’s Los Angeles office from the SEC’s Los Angeles Office.
Matthew Barnett, M&A lawyer, has joined White & Case from Sullivan & Cromwell.
Rodney R Miller has joined Womble Bond Dickinson’s Atlanta office from Hall Booth Smith.
Anita Bandy, formerly of the SEC, joins Skadden’s Washington, D.C. office.
Jeffrey M. Chiow joins Greenberg Traurig from Rogers, Joseph, O’Donnell.
Erin Ashwell, former Virginia Chief Deputy AG, joins McGuireWoods.
Deepak Gill, formerly of Cassels Brock & Blackwell has joined DLA Piper in Vancouver.
Phil Kennedy rejoins Gowling’s Ontario office after five years at other national firms.
Promotions & Appointments:
Twenty years after joining New Square Chambers as a receptionist, Michelle Greene has worked her way up to become the set’s top-ranking clerk. Now in the top role, she wants to stamp out “doing as it’s always been done” attitudes.
In London, the lawyers who made the cut are: Richard Hilton (corporate and M&A), Kevin Howes (financing), Charles Osborne (tax), Megan Sandler (disputes and investigations) and Chris Sharpe (pensions, employment and incentives).
Ehsan Haque joined Amber Group, a Singapore-based crypto trading firm, as the first GC for the EMEA region.
Dr Nina Scherf will begin as the Hanover-based company’s chief legal counsel on 1 April and succeeds Dr Hilka Schneider, who left Tui at the start of the year to be general counsel for chemicals manufacturer Akzo Nobel in Amsterdam.
Office Openings & Closings:
Addleshaw Goddard has opened offices in both Frankfurt and Munich, bringing in four new teams to strengthen its commercial litigation, global investigations, tax, and intellectual property offerings.
Addleshaw’s has opened in Luxembourg with the hires of Richard Ledain Santiago, a corporate lawyer who is spearheading the launch, Benjamin Devouassoux, a banking and finance lawyer, and Theodoros Karantanos, a corporate finance expert.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
Listed UK law firm DWF has unveiled two exclusive associations with a Portuguese law firm and a Spanish loss adjusting business in a move it says will enhance its ability to expand in Latin America and Africa. The association with Nobre Guedes & Associados (NGA) will see 19 lawyers, including four partners, join DWF in Lisbon and Porto, where NGA has offices. Led by managing partner Luis Nobre Guedes, the firm regularly advises clients outside Portugal in the UK, Spain, France and Lusophone Africa and Brazil.
Abreu Advogados has acquired Acrlex Advogados, a firm that is a member of an alliance of independent law firms including Perkins Coie and Taylor Wessing.
Revebue worldwide has a 9% rise, totalling $1.329bn, while the revenue per London partner rose by nearly 14%, reaching $8.8m.
Orrick’s London revenue rose by 45%, jumping to $90.9m.
Dentons is boosting its base pay for newly-qualified lawyers by 15 per cent, with further rewards on offer for fee-earners hitting chargeable hours targets. The pay for NQs in London is increasing from £80,000 to £92,000. However, a change in the firm’s bonus scheme means that those recording as many as 1,700 chargeable hours will receive a total compensation package of £107,640.
Following a rise of 27 per cent, Latham & Watkins’ global turnover has jumped to nearly $5.5bn.
Knights’ share price dropped this week after the market’s self-proclaimed consolidator issued a warning to investors over its second-half performance. Omicron and recent macro conditions, the firm said, meant people weren’t returning to office working, hampering its “team-based culture” while economic confidence was waning and corporate work is slowing. How did the market respond? On Monday (21 March) Knights’ shares were trading at 365p; by the time the markets closed on Thursday (24 March) it had dropped to its lowest point ever: down 65.4 per cent to 145p.
Since January, three Am Law 30 firms have incorporated clawback provisions into their partnership agreements that make it more difficult for a partner to leave, according to legal recruiter Larry Watanabe. These agreements “will impact the complexion of the market, as firms try to retain laterals more aggressively than ever,” Watanabe says. Such arrangements could allow firms to go after bonus payments in 2022, he says. For instance, a partner with a $1 million compensation plan could be entitled to a bonus of up to $5 million expressed in January, but paid in April or the summer.
Technology & Innovation:
For U.S. law firms, an increased threat of cyberattacks and data breaches, whether from Russia or other bad actors using the conflict as an opportunity, may be inevitable. Unfortunately, cybersecurity experts don’t think most of the legal sector is prepared for what is likely to come.
The effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have already rippled through Big Law, prompting firms to shutter offices and kicking national security practices into high gear. But the longer-term implications of the war and its aftermath could transform the Big Tech economy as we know it, according to Boris Feldman, the new co-leader of Freshfields’ technology, media and telecommunications group.
As the metaverse continues its march towards the working world, we can expect employees to spend more and more time in the virtual world. Many employers will be keen to adopt this technology as a means of bridging geographical spaces between their global workforce, and for employees, the ability to work in an immersive way with their colleagues from the comfort of their own homes, will be hugely appealing.
Diversity & Inclusion:
Many lawyers and legal staff will be relishing the prospect of returning to their offices following revisions to the Government’s guidance on working from home. While re-connecting with colleagues and feeling a sense of “normality” will be a happy prospect for some, disabled legal staff may face a very different reality – one that involves difficulties in finding accessible methods of public transport for the daily commutes, as well as navigating unaccommodating and antiquated offices.
DWF partner and head of the firm’s diversity and inclusion leadership group Seema Bains led the initiative. She says: “The Black Lives Matter movement had raised a lot of important questions about representation for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority candidates within the legal industry.” Having already done a lot of work on diversity, particularly emerging talent, DWF decided to build on that momentum by collaborating with Aspiring Solicitors to create the Ethnic Minority Access Scheme.
The Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report 2020 paints a picture of a profession that is majority female and in which the proportion of people from a minority ethnic background exceeds that of the general population in most of the country. However the statistics indicate that the more senior and higher paying ranks of the profession remain a disproportionately white male preserve.
Welle describes the Street Law program as a mini law school. It takes place during the spring semester and is in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club. Students meet other weeks to go over various aspects of the law and put them into practices, that includes everything from mock contract negotiations to an argument in front of an appellate judge panel and a mock investigation of a sexual harassment allegation.