Ukrainian Legal Developments:
The firm’s unaudited revenue for the financial year to March 2022 was “approximately” £97 million, according to a trading update published to the London Stock Exchange, a dip of just over £3 million on 2021, when it posted a £100.2 million top line. The dip, the firm says, is due to a combination of the Ukraine war and the COVID pandemic, both of which hit regional offices hard, but also a cyber attack which took place on March 13 this year.
UK & Ireland
David Hosford and Chris Netiatis join as partners, alongside legal director Lee Colgate and senior associates Catriona Darnell and Sarah Miller.
Amit Unadkat, head of PwC’s real estate team, has joined CMS.
Claire Matthews, a senior managing associate at Linklaters’ Singapore office, will relocate to Taylor Wessing’s London office.
Monica Barton, acquisition and leverage finance partner, has joined White & Case from Winston & Strawn.
Oliver Williams, corporate partner, has left PwC for Katten.
The DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre’s (DIFC-LCIA’s) former registrar, Robert Stephen, has joined Dubai disputes boutique Ghaffari Partners as its second partner and chief operating officer.
Drew Baldinger joins the New York firm after six years at DLA Piper, where he also worked as vice chair of the firm’s M&A practice.
Vikran Sidhu, Clyde & Co’s New York office managing partner, has rejoined Mayer Brown after seven years.
Promotions & Appointments:
Energy specialist Vitaliy Radchenko has taken over from Graham Conlon as head of the office, which was shuttered on the day of the invasion.
Ashar Qureshi will take on the reins of the City office until the new year as Mark Mifsud takes a six-month sabbatical.
Marinus de Waal and Frans-Jozef Crousen take over from Marcel Willems in Amsterdam.
Marnix Leijten, managing partner of Netherlands-based law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, is stepping down from the position after just over two years.
Serle Court’s decision to appoint barrister Kathryn Purkis as its new chambers director heralds the start of a modern era for the chancery and commercial set. Look no further than the job title chosen by Purkis: “CEO to me is quite a macho title – I’m not really like that,” she tells The Lawyer.
8 DAC Beachcroft Buildings, or 8DB, will recruit two pupils under its new training programme, having been granted status as an authorised education and training organisation by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) in February.
Mergers & Alliances:
DWF has struck an alliance with a Hauzen, a Hong Kong firm, over a year after agreeing a similar deal with Singapore-based Eldan Law.
GL Law, which has offices in London and Bristol, will take the name of Shakespeare Martineau, unlike Mayo Wynne Baxter, which merged into the group on 1 May 2022 but retains its own identity as part of Ampa’s ‘house of brands’.
Shakespeare Martineau’s leader Sarah Walker-Smith argues that “merger without the acquisition” is a more relevant commercial approach for a post-pandemic world.
Parisian boutique Mermoz Avocats has doubled its lawyer headcount within six months of launching following a merger with local firm HPML. The deal sees the two private equity and M&A-focused firms join forces to create a shop with 50 lawyers – twice the number Mermoz had when it was opened in January by a group of senior French lawyers to take advantage of the country’s mid-market PE and M&A deal-making boom
The combination with Tunis-based Zaanouni Law Firm (ZLF) gives Dentons a footprint in its 17th location in Africa across 12 countries and adds two partners and 10 lawyers to its regional network, which has more than 250 lawyers. The firm said it expects the combination to be completed in the coming months subject to regulatory requirements and approval by its partners.
Office Openings & Closings:
The closure will be from September this year upon the expiry of its office lease. Addleshaws has had a Hong Kong operation since 2012 and, as of today, has a total headcount of 36. This comprises seven partners, 20 other fee-earners and nine business services staff.
The new recruits include partners John Crossley, Jim Goettsch and Brogan Sullivan, who join in Kansas City, and Maria Faconti, who joins the firm’s existing office in Austin. They are also joined by two associates, with the firm adding that additional lawyers are likely to be added in the coming weeks.
Bird & Bird is set to open in Ireland next month with two partner hires.The firm has announced that its Dublin office will open on June 13, and will be based in George’s Dock, close to Dublin’s tech hub Grand Canal Dock.
Fresh from its 18-strong raid of DLA Piper earlier in 2022, Wootton + Kearney’s latest office opening is intended to enable lawyers to work from their own town in South Australia.
Clifford Chance has increased its base pay for NQ’s to £125,000, raising 16%.
Across Latham, the litigation department accounts for 30 per cent of global turnover. Over 2021, Latham’s revenue soared 27 per cent to nearly $5.5bn, meaning disputes alone would total around $1.65bn. In London, however, disputes brings in a much lower proportion of its office revenue of between 10 to 15 per cent. The intention is therefore to bring that figure up to match the global level.
The review of BLM’s salaried partner tier is due to the fact Clydes will only have salary partners in its casualty practice. Those fitting the bill at BLM will need to apply for new salaried partner and equity partner roles, again subject to consultation.
Technology & Innovation:
Osborne Clarke has advised Paris crypto-asset adviser Arquant Capital on its successful bid to become the first crypto specialist to be authorised as an asset management company by France’s financial regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).
Digital currencies and blockchain technology offer large law firms plenty of possibilities, but many in the UK are struggling to meet client demand either due to a lack of lawyers or a fear of the unregulated nature of the sector.
Many prudent businesses are revisiting their insurance portfolio, seeking confirmation that their coverage will adequately protect them if they are victimized by increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, including those connected to the acute conflict in Ukraine.
Diversity & Inclusion:
Dentons has lengthened its flexible working trial until the end of 2022, as firms review how well their post-Covid-19 measures have been adopted over a year on.
Six London-based law firms including Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May are backing the launch of a new black British civil rights group, the Black Equity Organisation (BEO). The BEO aims to promote economic, political and social equity for black communities in the UK to ensure equal opportunity for progress and prosperity.
Speaking during a panel session at Law.com International’s Women, Influence and Power U.K. conference on Thursday, Catherine McGregor — an independent advisor to law firms and legal departments — said that clients need to “push more” on D&I matters. If firms fail to bring diverse team to matters and pitches, or fail to be transparent on diversity metrics, McGregor said clients should “fire firms if [diversity and inclusion] is really important to your organisation”. More concerted action, she said, will help change the narrative around D&I, with the topic currently often considered as “fluffy”.
Squire Patton Boggs has hit female and ethnic partner targets it had set last year, it has announced. As part of a five year plan put in place in April 2021, the firm set specific targets for its U.K.-based office, which included upping the percentage of female partners by 3% to 20% within two years, followed by a further increase to 25% by 2026.
The largest U.K.-based law firms continue to lag their international counterparts and mid-tier rivals on gender diversity rankings, according to research by Law.com International. Only two of the largest 20 U.K.-headquartered law firms feature in a table of top 25 firms that have the highest proportion of female partners in the U.K., the survey of 68 major legal institutions found. The diversity survey—sent to Top 50 U.K. law firms and large U.S. law firms operating in London with a U.K. headcount of over 50 lawyers—reveals the strong gender inequality that still exists at the top level of the industry with women making up less than a quarter of equity partnerships on average.
As part of their wider D&I programme, firms need to reflect society in all its diversity – including our ageing population. Multinationals are increasingly requiring evidence of law firm diversity of all types in client pitches. The greater role of technology and AI in legal services means that the experience, judgment and long-term client relationships of older partners carry a premium.
The comments were made during a roundtable discussion at the Women Influence & Power in Law conference, where women in the industry also discussed how they switch off at home.