UK & Ireland
A finance partner, who has been at Shearman & Sterling for 16 years, is moving to Allen & Overy. Marwa Elborai specialises in both capital markets and leveraged finance. She was given the nod to partner in 2016.
Ropes & Gray’s former London managing partner has left the firm having been on secondment at client Bain Capital for over a year. Will Rosen joined Bain for a temporary period in September 2021 to fill a senior gap in the private equity house’s in-house legal team. He has now left the partnership at Ropes and has joined Bain Capital as its European general counsel for private equity.
Two DLA Piper asset finance partners are leaving to join the legal arm of Big Four firm EY.The duo are led by Alan Cunningham, who heads DLA’s asset finance practice in the U.K. He first joined the firm as a partner in 2011 from DWF and previously worked as an associate in Norton Rose Fullbright’s Paris office, Reed Smith’s Hong Kong office and at Harbottle & Lewis, according to his Linkedin profile.
Allen & Overy has bolstered its U.K. leveraged finance bench with a partner hire from U.S.-headquartered Shearman & Sterling. High yield partner Marwa Elborai has spent the last 16 years at Shearman, nearly seven years of which were as partner, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also spent some time working in the firm’s New York office.
Goodwin Procter has appointed a private funds partner as its next London co-chair, as long-standing incumbent Paul Lyons steps down.Private funds partner Ajay Pathak takes the reins alongside current co-chair, private equity partner Gemma Roberts who took on the role last year. Pathak joined Goodwin as a partner in the private equity group in 2017 from King & Wood Mallesons. He spent 15 years at KWM, joining after the firm collapsed in late 2016. His practice focuses on the establishment, management and regulation of private investment funds across a range of alternative asset classes.
After a search spanning several years, Morrison Foerster has added a four-strong intellectual property litigation team in London. The US firm’s London office has hired a team led by Steven James from Brown Rudnick. James, who starts at MoFo’s offices in the Scalpel on Thursday, was head of the IP practice across Brown Rudnick’s UK and European regions.
Squire Patton Boggs has added a four-lawyer, partner-led private equity and M&A team to its corporate practice in Madrid. Private equity lawyer Carlos Blanco, who led Spanish law firm RocaJunyent’s corporate and M&A department in Madrid and was the office’s managing partner from 2017 to 2020, has joined the now-twenty-lawyer corporate department at Squire and brought with him three team members: senior associate Javier Arenas and associates Elena Ferrer and Iñigo Oliván.
Allen & Overy has expanded its office footprint in Washington D.C., as the firm continues its concerted efforts to grow in the U.S. The firm is adding more space to its current occupancy at 1101 New York Avenue, NW in the U.S. capital and is set to renovate its current area. A&O will grow its occupancy by 10,000 sq ft to lease 40,914 sq ft, which includes its current presence on the 11th floor and will add part of the 10th floor, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Gawthrop Greenwood welcomed Jeremy Grivensky as an associate attorney practicing in the firm’s litigation department at the West Chester office.
Ropes & Gray’s former London managing partner has left the firm having been on secondment at client Bain Capital for over a year. Will Rosen joined Bain for a temporary period in September 2021 to fill a senior gap in the private equity house’s in-house legal team.
International Airlines Group (IAG) has hired Sarah Clements, previously legal head of group transformation and separation at GSK. Sarah Clements worked at GSK for over four years, with her most recent role created to oversee the demerger between GSK and Haleon.
Promotions & Appointments:
“I have spent my entire professional career working not only to promote diversity and belonging, but also, recognizing that neither diversity nor inclusion are power-neutral, advancing civil rights and equality in education,” Nancy Chi Cantalupo said in a statement. “However, that work has almost always been bifurcated—either focusing on research or on the implementation of DEI programs and initiatives.”
Litigation partner Clarence Wilbon, who joined the Adams and Reese executive committee in 2021, has been elected chair as of Jan. 1, 2023.
Mergers & Alliances:
South East firm Birketts has announced a tie-up with Batchelors Solicitors, a 40-strong firm with offices in Kent and London. The merger deal sees Birketts operate in Kent for the first time. The majority of Batchelors’ team is based in Bromley, but it will move over to new space taken up by Birketts in April 2023.
Rather than reinvigorating consolidation of the UK legal market, merger activity between firms is likely to contract further next year as firms batten down the hatches to protect margins. But while acquisition appetite may fall among the larger firms, the number of smaller firms looking for a buyer is expected to escalate. This could create the perfect conditions for a flurry of distressed purchases.
Office Openings & Closing:
Management-side labour and employment firm FordHarrison launches an office in Houston, founded by a former Morgan, Lewis & Bockius associate.
Volume has held up while the technology sector pauses as it considers an upcoming recession. This year has signaled a return to more normal dynamics for legal leasing, but where firms are signing leases has seen a substantial change, according to Savills’ U.S. Law Firm Activity Report Q3 2022.
Leeds has been home to a number of office openings this year, with CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang the latest firm to be seeking a launch. The firm has three offices across the north of England in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, but sources say the firm has identified an opportunity in Leeds and is actively trying to establish itself in the city.
Dentons has launched a five-year strategy for the UK, Ireland and Middle East (UKIME) region that includes practice area expansion, career progression initiatives and technology investment. The firm’s UKIME CEO Paul Jarvis said the goal of the new strategy is “not to add revenue for revenue’s sake” and that it is about “being connected to our clients, global USP and people”.
Latham & Watkins is the firm that has scored the mandate for the Glazer family on its strategic review of Manchester United. The club said in a statement it would “evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximises the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future.”
Growth that outpaces inflation is a core objective for any law firm in expansion mode. But with inflation currently running at around 10 per cent and predicted to rise higher, achieving real money growth in 2022/23 will be tougher than ever before. If firms are to maintain momentum through a lengthy recession, then partner profits will need to be scrutinised and charge-out rates potentially raised in line with inflationary levels.
“We’re seeing higher planned rate increases at this point than we’ve ever seen, and we’ve been tracking this for 15 years,” said a Wells Fargo analyst.
A downturn in transactional work will likely cause more segmentation in year-end bonus payments following two years of bonus-matching.
Which firm based in the European region has achieved the highest level of organic growth over the last five full financial years? Few of you may have looked outside the UK, but the correct answer is Spanish firm Pérez-Llorca. International network leaders, or those with Iberia connections, may have had an inkling of the firm’s rampant growth, but the majority, no doubt, would not have put Pérez-Llorca on the ‘one to watch’ list.
Technology & Innovation:
Cryptocurrency clients feel they were lured to New York “by policy statements made as early as 2020—and now that they’re here, they’re being shelved,” said a lawyer with industry clients.
Concerns around Twitter’s future are another reminder for e-discovery teams about the preservation challenges that come with ephemeral data and ever-evolving social media platforms.
After just one year in the Bay Area, the Wall Street firm is seeing plenty of demand as the technology sector confronts a new regulatory landscape.
Diversity & Inclusion:
As political turmoil continues to temper financial markets, hamper international trade relations and exacerbate political insecurity, ensuring client stability and satisfaction still remains of vital concern for all law firms. In a recent roundtable co-hosted by Scottish-based Morton Fraser and The Lawyer, participants discussed the biggest challenges facing law firms in maintaining client satisfaction into the future. The “war for talent” stood out as an aspect of legal services that firms simply must get right.