Weekly Update – 25th of September 2023

Moves:

UK & Ireland

Bellevue Law adds Slaughter and May senior manager as first chief operating officer

London disputes boutique Bellevue Law has hired a senior manager from Slaughter and May as its first chief operating officer. Kay Osborne has joined Bellevue after nearly six years at Slaughters, where she was most recently a senior manager in the firm’s partnership and executive office, working with outgoing senior partner, Steve Cook, who will retire in May 2024.

Stewarts adds Norton Rose Fulbright partner in London to head international arbitration team

Leading disputes boutique confirms arrival of Sherina Petit after nearly 15 years at NRF.

Italian firm BonelliErede builds UK base with London counsel hire

Experienced barrister Richard Samuel adds disputes capabilities as part of international growth push.

Quinn Emanuel boosts London partner ranks with raid on Cadwalader

Hire of arbitration specialist Melis Acuner brings litigation firm’s UK partner count to 28.

Arbitration partner exits Kirkland & Ellis in London for disputes boutique

Signature Litigation announces 20% revenue hike as Philipp Kurek joins after 14 years at US giant.

Allen & Overy bolsters London arbitration practice with White & Case partner hire

Construction specialist Daniel Garton adds to Magic Circle firm’s ranks ahead of Shearman merger

RWK Goodman hires employment team from Ince & Co in latest round of exits.

At least 15 lawyers have quit the troubled Axiom Ince group over the past week. The outgoing lawyers joining RWK Goodman include Marta Mendiondo, Martin Pratt, Holly Freuchen and Sudipta Dey. Mendiondo joins as head of immigration London and employment lawyer Pratt joins as a partner. Freuchen joins as a senior associate in the employment team and Dey joins as an associate and a senior immigration advisor.

8 London Associates Leave Kirkland to Follow Partners to Paul Weiss

Paul Weiss’ raid on Kirkland is ongoing, with 13 partners making the move in recent weeks.

EMEA

Squire Patton Boggs adds senior corporate partner in Dubai from Baker McKenzie

Omar Momany joins having led Bakers’ UAE corporate/M&A practice

ECIJA Makes Second Partner Hire in Madrid in as Many Weeks

Álvaro Rodríguez de la Calle joins the Spanish law firm after more than two years directing KPMG Spain’s labor area.

APAC

HSF Takes Singapore Project Finance Partner from King & Spalding

Herbert Smith Freehills counts 56 lawyers in its Singapore office while King & Spalding now has 29. King & Spalding project finance partner Antony Patten has left the firm to join Herbert Smith Freehills as a partner in Singapore.

The Americas

Duane Morris Lands Longtime Fox Rothschild Corporate Leader

Michael Harrington spent 26 years at Fox Rothschild and roughly a dozen as chair of its corporate department.

Baker Donelson, Jackson Lewis Among Firms Adding Partners in Southeast

“There’s a culture of congeniality here that’s very palpable. But they also hold each other accountable,” said new Baker Donelson shareholder Scott Bowers.

Brazil-Based Mattos Filho New York Office Head Jumps to DLA Piper

Antitrust specialist Amadeu Ribeiro, who is licensed to practice in Brazil and the U.S., has been the face of a leading Brazilian firm in the U.S. for more than a decade.

Commercial Litigation Partner Joins Hunton Andrews Kurth; Paul, Weiss Adds Infrastructure Adviser

Susan Shin has joined Hunton Andrews Kurth as a partner in its commercial litigation group. She joins from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where she was a partner in that firm’s complex litigation practice. Brown Rudnick has hired Kevin Brown as a partner in the firm’s tax group. He was previously counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Greenberg Traurig Continues Expanding in Fast-Growing Phoenix With 2 More Former DLA Piper Litigators

The firm just added two litigation shareholders in Phoenix, after adding another one in July. Laura Sixkiller’s practice mainly revolves around securities and M&A litigation while Kate Benveniste is focused more on real estate litigation, particularly in the property tech space. Both are rejoining Greenberg Traurig after leaving the firm for DLA Piper a number of years ago.

Foley & Lardner Adds 4-Lawyer Husch Blackwell Real Estate Team in Texas

Foley & Lardner hired a four-lawyer Husch Blackwell real estate team in Texas because of the Lone Star State’s robust economy.

In-House

Around the house: Microsoft announces legal leadership change, Hilton names former Molson Coors CLO as GC

This week’s roundup of top in-house moves also includes appointments at Disney Parks, Alcoa, Webster Financial Corporation and Cogeco. Global software giant Microsoft has promoted Hossein Nowbar to chief legal officer, replacing Lisa Tanzi, who announced her departure from the tech company earlier this month. Nowbar is elevated from general counsel, with former deputy GC and head of litigation Jonathan Palmer moved up to the GC role, Bloomberg reported. Cynthia Randall will take over Palmer’s previous role.

Alcoa Taps Canadian Exec for GC Role

Andrew Hastings is taking the legal reins of Alcoa, which has 15,000 employees and $12.5 billion in annual revenue.

Former Molson Coors GC Takes Legal Reins at Hilton

“I am honored to be joining Hilton, a company I have long respected for its history, innovation and award-winning workplace culture,” said Anne-Marie D’Angelo, who started Friday as general counsel.

Promotions & Appointments:

Addleshaw Goddard begins search for successor as managing partner opts to step down early

John Joyce to stand down next April a year before end of third term. The managing partner of UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard (AG), John Joyce, has announced he will stand down a year ahead of the end of his third term.  Joyce will step down as managing partner 30 April 2024 at the end of the current financial year, 10 years after he was first elected and at the end of his 25th anniversary as a partner in the business.

Cooley appoints first woman CEO as Conroy prepares to stand down after 16 years

San Francisco corporate head Rachel Proffitt to take over in 2024; Conroy to stay on as chair

Winston & Strawn names new chairman after almost two decades

Global litigation co-chair Steve D’Amore to succeed veteran chair Tom Fitzgerald in June 2024

Longtime Red Lobster GC Claws His Way to the Top

“I am looking forward to working with my teams to address the challenges we face in light of industry headwinds and to execute on our plans and deliver results,” newly appointed CEO Horace Dawson said.

Mergers & Alliances:

Irwin Mitchell acquires leading family law boutique

UK firm absorbs North East-based Silk Family Law just a few weeks after snapping up 95-strong Scottish firm.

Pillsbury Becomes Latest Firm to Begin Merger Dance With Stroock

The firms have signed a non-exclusive letter of intent to combine, sources confirmed.

DC Civil Rights Boutique Expands to San Francisco Via Merger

Katz Banks Kumin, a civil rights boutique known for its work representing victims of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein and others, launched in San Francisco via a merger with another boutique with wage-and-hour class action expertise.

A&O, Shearman Partners to Begin Merger Vote Later This Month

The partnership votes to approve the tie-up will start on September 28 and will be completed by October 13.

Office Openings & Closing:

Arnold & Porter adds senior Foley Hoag partner for Boston debut

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer has become the latest law firm to open an office in Boston, securing a co-leader of Foley Hoag’s life sciences industry group for the launch. Hemmie Chang has left Foley after nearly 13 years to lead Arnold & Porter’s new office, which the Washington DC-based firm said would focus on life sciences and health care transactions, litigation, regulatory counselling and government investigations.

Osborne Clarke to open in Miami to boost US arbitration and tech law strategy

Firm hires Samaniego Law’s Javier Fernández-Samaniego to head Miami office

With ‘Lots of Client Ties’ to Dallas, Seyfarth Launches Office With Bryan Cave Team

Seyfarth Shaw has opened an office in Dallas, with real estate lawyers and litigators, nearly three decades after it moved into Texas with an office in Houston. A Bryan Cave real estate partner in Charlotte, North Carolina, also made the move to Seyfarth.

King & Spalding Gets Foreign Law License to Operate in Saudi Arabia

As Bracewell appoints partner to the firm’s corporate and securities practice in Dubai.

Financials:

Lockdowns, Crackdowns and Tensions With US Hit China’s Once-Soaring Law Firms Hard

Chinese firm revenue plummeted despite growth in head count.

Showered With Stock, Tech GCs Incentivized to ‘Knock It Out of the Park’

“Base salary and bonus cash compensation isn’t something I’ve spent a lot of time discussing with my peers, because at some point it tops out. What we talk about is equity,” said Danielle Sheer, general counsel of Commvault.

UK Top 50 Ranked by Revenue per Lawyer: Average Down 2%

Like their U.S. counterparts, lawyers at the U.K.’s top commercial firms on average brought in less this year, with notable exceptions.

The 2023 Global 200 Ranked by Revenue

The 200 largest law firms in the world, made up mainly of U.S. firms, saw growth slow in the latest fiscal year, with some regions out-performing others.

The 2023 Global 100 Ranked by Profits Per Equity Partner

The 100 largest law firms in the world saw profit decline on the back of several boom years.

Technology & Innovation:

What Generative AI Can—and Can’t—Do for Contract Review

LLMs and generative AI are still under development, but they have the potential to revolutionize the way lawyers work, including automating the drafting of contracts, translating legal documents, and identifying potential risks in contracts.

Data Hygiene: Critical in Building Firm Connectivity and Leveraging AI

The firms with a decided advantage in the AI arms race will be those who are operating from a place of “connectivity,” meaning that their internal operational teams are empowered to interact seamlessly. And this starts with an overlooked but crucial practice: good data hygiene.

Generative AI Captured Lawyers’ Attention. But What Ever Happened to Blockchain?

While blockchain-related law firm practices are still expanding, blockchain may have lost some of its development potential in the eyes of some lawyers.

Doing More With Less: A Disciplined Use of Legal Tech

Legal leaders can no longer be distracted by bells, whistles and gimmicks, and instead must be focused on identifying and implementing meaningful tools that enable in-house teams to be true catalysts for change across the business.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Law Firm Leaders, GCs and Bar Leaders Outline DEI Recommendations in Wake of Affirmative Action Ruling

A New York State Bar report from a group of Big Law partners, corporate lawyers and academics focuses on methods of enhancing diversity that won’t leave organizations vulnerable to legal risks.

Generative AI Conversations Are a Peek Into the Legal Tech ‘Boys’ Club’

Many legal tech panels on generative artificial intelligence are still dominated by a homogenous group: white men. It’s a glimpse into the more insidious barriers that stand in the way of women tech founders fighting to make it in the industry.

Market Commentary:

The Flight to Quality and Workplace Experience

That the pace of change is “accelerating” is surely an understatement. What seemed almost a near certainty a year ago — that law firms would fully and permanently embrace work-from-home — is experiencing a seeming reversal. While many firms have, in fact, embraced hybrid operations, the meaning of hybrid has evolved from “office optional,” to an average required 2 days a week, to now many firms coming out with four-day work week mandates — this time, with teeth.

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