Weekly Update – 27th of March 2023


UK & Ireland

Cleary Strikes Linklaters Again for Another London Partner

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is continuing to build out its London office, adding another partner from Linklaters amid a slew of major hires. The U.S.-led firm has hired Linklaters’ financial sponsor leveraged finance practice Edward Aldred as its latest big-name addition to its office in the city.

Law firm Latham & Watkins hit by another London partner departure

Latham & Watkins has been hit by the departure of another partner in its London office⁠—its second within the same week. Brendan Moylan, who acts for infrastructure funds and investors on M&A transactions across a range of assets, is set to join Weil Gotshal & Manges after almost five years at Latham. Prior to joining Latham, he was at Clifford Chance for 20 years.

Linklaters Rebuilds in London with Latham Partner Hire

Linklaters has taken steps to rebuild its London corporate team with the hire of a partner from Latham & Watkins. John Guccione leaves the U.S. firm after two and a half years. He was a member of Latham’s private equity practice as well as its energy & infrastructure group.

Travers Hit By Latest Blow As Funds Head Quits

Travers Smith has suffered yet another partner departure, following the loss of its investment funds head to U.S.-headquartered firm Dechert. Sam Kay, a Travers lifer, is leaving the firm after over 25 years.

Kirkland Secures Latest London Hire With DLA Piper’s ESG Lead

Kirkland & Ellis’s London office has hired DLA Piper’s head of international sustainability and ESG. Rhys Davies, a DLA Piper lifer, joins after over 16 years at the firm where he made partner in 2017.

Dechert Finance Partner Departs for Cadwalader

Dechert London finance partner Smridhi Gulati is joining Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. In her new role, Gulati is set to join Cadwalader’s transatlantic finance practice, advising across domestic and international leveraged and acquisition finance transactions, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Latham & Watkins Loses Second London Partner in Span of a Week

The partner, previously a Clifford Chance lifer, has moved to Weil Gotshal & Manges.


Pinsent Masons Plucks Real Estate Partner From Norton Rose in Dubai

Pinsent Masons has lured a real estate partner from Norton Rose Fulbright in Dubai. Louisa Lynch advises developers, lenders and investors on all aspects of real estate and hospitality, the firm said in a statement.

The Americas

Paul Hastings Lands Two Shearman Lawyers in Capital Markets:

Grissel Mercado also brings expertise in Latin America as the firm sees opportunities south of the border.

Wilson Sonsini Adds Wilmington Partner

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati announced that Erin Fay has joined the firm as a corporate partner in the Wilmington office, where she will be a member of the restructuring practice.

Goodwin and White & Case Recruit Partner Groups of IP Litigators

Big Law is luring IP litigators from rivals this spring, with Goodwin taking a three-partner team from White & Case, which itself added 10 lawyers from Paul Hastings.

Potter Anderson Hires Corporate Litigation Counsel and Associate

Potter Anderson & Corroon has announced two new lateral hires in its corporate litigation group: Lilianna Anh P. Townsend and Emily Marco.

Sidley, With an Eye on the Middle East, Adds Deal Lawyer From White & Case

Ali Shaikley, a new Sidley M&A partner in New York, pointed to the growth of private equity in the Middle East and India as helping fuel his practice.

McDermott Lands Corporate Attorneys From Gibson, Pillsbury in West Coast Build-Out

Shaalu Mehra and Matthew King join the firm as it looks to grow its emerging companies and IP transactions practice in California.

Greenberg Traurig Gains Gibbons White-Collar Leader

Kevin Walsh, a former federal prosecutor and special counsel at Seton Hall University, wants to extend his practice beyond New Jersey.


Shell Appoints New Legal Head as Longtime Leader Donny Ching Steps Down

Energy giant Shell has announced a successor following the stepping down of its longtime legal director. Philippa Bounds has been appointed the FTSE 100 company’s new legal director, and will take over the role in July 1 2023, once current legal director Donny Ching steps down after 33 years at the company.

Vape-Maker AVD Adds General Counsel With Deep Regulatory Experience

“We’re at a critical juncture, and now is the time for AVD and other leaders in the space to lead the way on developing safety and quality standards that will be reflected in future regulations,” said Douglas Fischer, general counsel of AVD.

U-Haul Names Successor to Retiring Legal Chief

Outgoing GC Larry De Respino called his replacement “a tenacious advocate for the company and U-Haul customers.”

Levi Strauss Taps Deputy GC to Fill Legal Chief Role

Company CEO Chip Bergh said incoming legal chief David Jedrzejek “will continue to be an invaluable counselor and advocate in his role as general counsel, championing our commitment to profits through principles while ensuring compliance and good governance.”

Promotions & Appointments:

U.K. top 50 law firm Taylor Wessing adds former Addleshaw Goddard London head

Taylor Wessing has hired Addleshaw Goddard’s former London office head to its real estate group. Leona Ahmed had been a partner at Addleshaw Goddard for over 15 years, having joined in 2007. In 2020, she was appointed the head of the firm’s London office, and she was previously co-head of the firm’s real estate group.

U.K. law firm Mishcon de Reya promotes 8 to partner in reduced round

Mishcon de Reya has promoted eight of its lawyers to partner—fewer than half the number made up the previous year. The law firm has promoted a single lawyer, Singapore-based Hong Chong Yi, to equity partner—as well as seven lawyers to junior equity partners.

Slaughter and May Promotes Ten to Partner

Slaughter and May has promoted ten lawyers to partner, the firm announced on Wednesday. This year, women make up 40% of the set, while 30% of the new partners are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Herrick, Feinstein Names First Female Executive Chair

Real estate department chair Belinda Schwartz is succeeding Irwin Kishner, who has served in the role since 2010.

Cooper Levenson Partner Joins NJ Attorney General as Senior Counsel and Director of Community Engagement

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced that Cooper Levenson partner Yolanda Melville will replace Bryn Whittle as senior counsel and director of community engagement, a position tasked with connecting community stakeholders with the office’s initiatives.

On the Move and After Hours: Pashman Stein; Marshall Dennehey; Townsend Tomaio; Capehart Scatchard

New practice leaders for Pashman Stein, new partners for Marshall Dennehey and Townsend Tomaio, and Capehart’s diversity CLE.

Arnold & Porter Adds Corporate & Finance Partner; Meltzer, Lippe Grow Its Trusts & Estates Group

Baker McKenzie has added Kevin Whittam as a partner in the firm’s transactional practice. He joins from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he served as counsel.

Office Openings & Closing:

Japanese Law Firms are Rapidly Moving Into Global Markets

In a sign that Japanese law firms have accelerated their push to expand globally, five different firms have launched eight new international offices that span three continents—all since January. The new offices are based in such far-flung locales as Indonesia, Paris and New York and come at a time when market saturation has deepened at home.

Linklaters hires partner from Saudi firm for Riyadh office launch

Linklaters has hired a partner from Saudi Arabian firm Khoshaim & Associates (K&A) to open an office in Riyadh as it becomes the latest international practice to win a licence to set up shop in the Kingdom. Amro Bakhaidar, who specialises in equity capital markets and public M&A transactions, will lead the office alongside two existing Linklaters partners who had previously split their time between Riyadh and Linklaters’ Dubai office.

Mintz Levin adds partners from Torys, Dentons, Wilson Sonsini for Canada debut

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo has hired partners from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Dentons and Torys to debut in Canada with the launch of an office in Toronto.

DiCello Levitt Launches San Diego Office With 5-Partner Group From Robbins Geller

DiCello Levitt pushes its aggressive growth strategy forward by opening a San Diego office with five Robbins Geller securities class action attorneys.


Will ‘Deeper Problems’ Emerge? Attorneys Forecast Litigation Against Silicon Valley Bank:

Attorneys expect to see more litigation soon from investors and depositors claiming failures in disclosures, internal controls and corporate governance.

International Law Firms In Japan Look to Energy Deals and Other Work to Drive Growth as Outbound M&A Remains Sluggish

For most international law firms in Japan, outbound M&A has been the mainstay of their corporate practice. But, in 2022, the total deal value of outbound transactions by Japanese companies plunged 57% to $11.6 billion—the lowest level in the previous seven years, according to S&P Global.

In a Year of ‘Precipitous’ Change, Cooley’s Profits Fell Nearly 17% as Revenue Surpassed $2 Billion

In London, revenue ticked up 1% to £77.7 million, after nearly 50% growth in the office in 2021. In Asia, the firm continues to have a strong fund formation practice in China and Hong Kong, as well as an increasingly active practice in Singapore, CEO Joe Conroy said.

Strength in Disputes, Middle-Market M&A Helped Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Offset Russia Losses

Despite closing out 2022 down on revenue, profitability, equity partners and demand, the leaders of global law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner said they were pleased with the firm’s performance and ability to weather short- and long-term headwinds.

Mayer Brown’s Profits Dipped but Firm Held Onto Revenue Gains

The firm said it wants to continue to build in Asia, where it has a presence in Tokyo, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, pointing out that forecasts show growth in the region this year, while in the U.S. and Europe, forecasts predict flat or minimal gains.

Debevoise’s Revenue Stays Flat As Profits Take A Hit

With an 11.8% decline in PEP, Debevoise’s growing headcount and its move to a new Manhattan headquarters contributed to some of its increased expenses last year.

Barnes Sees Demand and Revenue Growth as Profits Falls

The Indianapolis-based firm notched a triple-digit realization rate, tallying 102.1% last year.

Benefiting From Gulf South Reach, Phelps Dunbar Posts Double-Digit Increases in Revenue, Profits

The New Orleans-founded firm benefited in 2022 from offices across the Southeast, value pricing, and strong demand in core practices.

Crowell & Moring Posts Double-Digit Revenue Spike

The Washington, D.C.-based firm saw gains in its regulatory and litigation practices, as well as its contingency fee business, particularly in health care and antitrust recovery.

Technology & Innovation:

Reveal Acquires LIGL, Adds Workflow Automation and Legal Hold Capabilities to Reveal 11 Platform:

“The acquisition of LIGL highlights Reveal’s commitment to an ongoing approach to growth that emphasizes customer needs over everything else,” said Wendell Jisa, founder & CEO of Reveal. “The LIGL team and the technology they bring to Reveal will augment Reveal 11’s seamless investigative and eDiscovery functionality.”

How AI and Machine Learning Are Impacting the Litigation Landscape

Mike DeCesaris and Sachin Sancheti of Cornerstone Research detail how expert witnesses are incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into their testimony in a variety of civil cases.

Trust in Big Tech Is Plunging, Putting Sector at Crossroads

“Organizations that ignore or downplay the ethical issues associated with developing and using emerging technologies risk multiple forms of legal, reputational and organizational damage that can erode profitability and trust,” according to Beena Ammanath, managing director of Deloitte Consulting.

Tracking Generative AI: How Evolving AI Models Are Impacting Legal

A running compilation of how the legal landscape continues to be shaped by generative AI tools, from GPT technologies to art generation tools and beyond.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Linklaters to Allow Staff and Partners to Swap Public Holidays

Linklaters has become the latest international law firm to allow its people in the U.K. flexibility over when they take holidays. The firm will allow its U.K. staff and partners to swap public holidays in a bid to give them more flexibility, according to an announcement by the firm on Thursday.

Celebrating Women’s History Month by Recognizing the Challenges Faced by Women Lawyers

In 2021, women made up almost half of all associates, but numbers fell quickly when it came to partnership. Only 26% of partners are women and only 4% are women of colour.

‘The Only Woman in the Room’: A Latina is Changing the Face of Arbitration in Miami

Being fully bilingual in a South Florida market that reaches into the Caribbean and Latin America has its distinct advantages.

Market Commentary:

More UK in-house teams plan to cut legal spend than most global peers, study shows

Almost a third of UK corporate legal departments are expected to tighten their legal spend over the coming months in response to tougher economic conditions, more than most other regions, according to a Thomson Reuters study.

4 Reasons Midsize Firms Are Beating Big Law in Litigation

Large corporate clients are increasingly tapping midsize and specialty shops for their litigation matters, but lower rates are only one part of the story.

Spinoff Fever on Wall Street Is Boon for In-House Attorney Market

“An opportunity to create a legal department from scratch, potentially, is very exciting for a number of in-house attorneys. And if it’s a publicly traded company, then one has an opportunity to ring the bell at the NYSC or the NASDAQ and be the first,” recruiter Mike Evers said.

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