Weekly Update – 29th April 2022

Ukrainian Legal Developments:

The Great Russian Spin-Off: What Big Law Firms Really Meant By ‘Exiting’ The Country

Nearly two months since Big Law firms made statements about pulling out of Russia, there are murmurings in the Russian market that the exits aren’t what many had expected. “That’s if they’re leaving at all,” said one skeptical Moscow-based lawyer. “They keep working with the same teams, on the same client matters, and sitting in the same offices.”

BCLP Splits Off Russia Base, Will Not Maintain Relationship With New Firm

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is spinning off its Russia base into a separate, independent law firm and has emphasised it will not maintain a relationship with the new outfit.

Meet the Moscow Lawyers Hitting Back at the West

Meet Grigory Chernyshov and Konstantin Lukoyanov of CLPLaw—two lawyers who previously worked at major international firms—who are now mounting legal challenges against some of the world’s largest companies in class actions on behalf of Russian consumers.

Eversheds ‘Completes’ Russia Exit But Maintains Association Office

Eversheds Sutherland has announced that it has completed the transition of its Russian operations, but maintains links to the region via an association with a newly-created firm peopled by former Eversheds staff.

Eversheds Hits Back At ‘Misunderstanding’ Over Its Russia Plans

Eversheds Sutherland has hit back at what it has called “an apparent misunderstanding” around its plans for its Russia operations, as law firms continue to finalise their exits from the country. The firm issued a statement on Wednesday to state again that it has ceased its Russia operations, after previously announcing all of its people would transfer to a newly-launched separate offering called Birch Legal.

Was There Another Reason Law Firms Left Russia?

When all the large international law firms that had a presence in Russia said they were leaving the country it seemed that Big Law was taking an ethical stance against its invasion of Ukraine. But some partners believe there was something else helping to drive their decisions—the difficulty in acquiring indemnity insurance.

Law firms will start judging their own clients

Another question arises: will other less controversial clients begin to baulk at their chosen law firm having, for example, polluters on the books? Maybe the lure of simply wanting the best lawyers will override their scruples – but remember, clients have already kicked up a fuss over diversity and managed to drive change within law firms as a result.

Big Law’s Regulators Aren’t Cutting It

Late last year the Pandora Papers shone a light on Baker McKenzie’s role in helping clients navigate the shadowy world of offshore tax dealings. In March, the war in Ukraine prompted extensive scrutiny of law firms that have advised Russian state-backed entities and also emboldened U.K. politicians to begin naming lawyers who have for years been aggressively helping to keep their oligarch clients’ names out of the press.



Ropes & Gray lands three-strong Fried Frank team

Dan Oates, Simon Saitowitz, and Angela Becker, all private equity partners, have joined Ropes & Grey from Fried Frank.

Freshfields swoops on Dickson Minto for rare corporate hire

Rebecca Ward, private equity partner, has joined Freshfields from Dickson Minto.

DLA Piper taps Bates Wells partner to lead UK contentious public law team in London

Emma Dowden-Teale has joined DLA Piper from Bates Wells.

Ex-White & Case London Partner Joins Financial Services Group ING

Julia Smithers Excell has joined ING from White & Case.

Reed Smith Hires From Novartis For Latest London Partner Addition

Milan Thakker has joined Reed Smith from Novartis, pharmaceuticals giant.

WBD bolsters restructuring and insolvency offering with new partner

Kelly Jordan has joined WBD’s Newcastle office from Muckle LLP.

BCLP Real Estate Litigation Partner Jumps To Eversheds Sutherland

Rashpal Soomal has joined Eversheds Sutherland after over 26 years at BCLP.

Dentons Hires Eversheds Sutherland’s ‘Lead Relationship Partner to Top Clients’

James Batham has joined Dentons to sit on its executive committee and work as a clients and markets partner.

Trowers’ corporate team continues national growth strategy

Paul Ellaby and Victoria Robertson have joined Trowers & Hamlins’ Manchester office from DAC Beachcroft.

Schulte Roth Adds London Partner From US Rival

Stuart Axford has joined Schulte Roth’s derivatives group from Arnold & Porter.

Clifford Chance boosts employment law practice with lateral partner hire

Sebastian Ritz has rejoined Clifford Chance’s Dusseldorf office after being at Ebner Stolz for 8 years.

Willkie expands Brussels office with addition of corporate disputes attorney

Vincent Naveaux, who has previously practiced at White & Case and Allen & Overy, has joined Willkie’s Brussels office.

Skadden’s rainmaker China practice head joins ByteDance as CFO

Julie Gao, former head of Skadden Arps, has joined as CFO at ByteDance, the owner of TikTok.

Hogan Lovells adds IP litigator, former software engineer in Washington, D.C.

Damon Lewis has joined Hogan Lovell’s D.C. office from DLA Piper.

Latham grows mergers and acquisitions practice with energy and infrastructure partner

Ethan Schultz has joined Latham’s Washington, D.C. office after 16 years at Skadden Arps.

Kirkland adds three former senior SEC officials to global investment funds regulatory practice

Diane Blizzard, Melissa Gainor and Dan Kahl have joined Kirkland’s Washington, D.C. office as partners.

Former DOJ, CFPB financial services lawyer and national cryptocurrency enforcement team member joins Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Boison has joined Hogan Lovells from the U.S. Department of Justice.

DLA Piper adds restructuring partner Oksana Lashko in New York

Oksana Lashko has joined DLA Piper’s New York office.

Freshfields adds former chief of SDNY’s complex frauds and cybercrime unit

Timothy T. Howard has joined Freshdields  after 12 years with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Technology transactions and intellectual property partner joins Vinson & Elkins

Michael Kurzer has joined Vinson & Elkins’ New York office from Paul Weiss.

Katten adds James Saling to health care transactions group in New York

James Saling, formerly of Troutman Peper, has joined Katten’s New York office along with one of his associates.

Health care veteran Craig Bleifer joins Akin Gump as partner in New York

Craig Bleifer, who served as general counsel for Novo Nordisk for 20 years, has joined Akin Gump in New York.

Reed Smith deepens bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and litigation bench with addition of two partners

Louis Curcio and David Pisciotta have joined Reed Smith’s New York office from Troutman Pepper.

Willkie adds asset management partner Gabriel Acri in New York

Gabriel Acri has joined Willkie’s New York office from hedge fund advisor Sovarnum Capial, where he was the chief compliance officer.

Kimberlie Pearlman joins DLA Piper’s real estate practice in Chicago

Kimberlie Pearlman, formerly of Polsinelli, has joined DLA Piper’s Chicago office.

O’Melveny adds capital markets partner in Austin

Michelle Earley, capital markets partner, has joined O’Melveny’s Austin office from Locke Lord.

Sidley accelerates expansion in emerging companies practice

Cynthia Bai and Nic Frey have joined Sidley’s Palo Alto office from Cooley and Baker Botts, respectively.

Twilio Recruits First-Ever Chief Privacy Officer From Hewlett Packard

Amy Holcroft, formerly of Hewlett Packard, has joined Twilio Inc.

Credit Suisse Replaces Legal Head Amid Continuing Issues At Bank

Markus Diethelm will join Credit Suisse as general counsel in July, replacing Romeo Cerutti.

Ashurst Adds KWM Lawyer to Australian Governance Advisory Practice

Miriam Kleiner, formerly of King & Wood Mallesons, has joined Ashurst’s Sydney office.

Squire Patton Boggs welcomes new employment partner

Kim Hodge has joined Squire Patton Boggs’ Perth office from McCabe Curwood.

Norton Rose Fulbright expands corporate team in Mexico City

Andrew Neito, formerly of Creel Abogados, has joined Norton Rose Fulrbight.


Promotions and Appointments:

HSF reveals bumper promotions round of 34

HSF has promoted 34 lawyers to partners, with 12 of them in London.

Stephenson Harwood unveils 2022 partner promos

Stephenson Harwood has promoted ten lawyers for 2022, with eight of them based in London.

Thirteen City lawyers make the grade in A&O promotions

Allen & Overy have promoted 39 lawyers, 13 of them being in London.

Ashurst promotions: Ten City lawyers make the grade

Ashurst has promoted 25 lawyers, its largest ever round, with all but three being in the London or Australian offices.

Clifford Chance adds 17 partners to London HQ in record promo round

Clifford Chance has made their largest ever round of promotions with 37 lawyers being promoted internationally.

DLA Piper Promotes 74 to Partner

DLA Piper has promoted 74 of its lawyers to partner in its 2022 cohort, with appointments spanning 38 of the firm’s offices across 21 countries.

Lucky 13: Simmons Unveils Partner Promotions

This year’s round comprises 13 lawyers from seven countries across the UK, Europe and Asia, and consists of the same number of promotions that were announced in 2021.

A&O Shakes Up Global Litigation Leadership

David Esseks has been appointed as global co-head of litigation alongside incumbent Karen Seward

BLM holds off partner promos until Clydes merger

A BLM spokesperson told The Lawyer that it decided several months ago to delay its partner and associate promotions until the merger with Clyde & Co goes live at the start of July. They said: “Any discussion or decision making with regards to this process will take place after this date.”

New CEO for Penningtons Manches Cooper as leader of 14 years steps down

Penningtons Manches Cooper’s CEO David Raine is to step down in October after nearly 15 years at the helm. He will be succeeded in October by Helen Drayton, the head of the firm’s business services division and a current member of its managing board.


Mergers & Alliances:

Kennedys Inks Associations in Bolivia, Ecuador

In Bolivia, Kennedys has linked with López del Solar, a decades-old firm that services insurance companies, while in Ecuador it has associated with Tobar ZVS, a firm with a highly regarded insurance unit.

The Key Considerations for a Successful Law Firm Merger

Whilst the pace of law firm mergers is yet to match pre-pandemic levels, 2022 has seen an uptick in merger activity in the U.K. market with the Clyde & Co and BLM merger (combined revenue approximately £700m) being the largest to be announced to date.


Office Openings & Closings:

Greenberg Traurig signs up Hogan Lovells trio to launch in Singapore

A trio of energy and infrastructure lawyers, led by Joseph Kim, have joined Greenberg Traurig ahead of plans to open their third office in the region.

Womble Bond Dickinson plants flag in New York with five-lawyer team from local IP boutique

A five-lawyer team, led by Julianne Abelman and Marie Anne Mastrovito, have joined from Abelman Frayne & Schwab to open a New York office, their 20th in the US and 27th worldwide.

Littler adds six-strong team from Cuatrecasas to open in Valencia

Littler Mendelson’s Spanish affiliate, Abdon Pedrajas Littler, has hired a six-layer team from Cuatrecasas to open in Valencia.

Greenberg Traurig nabs six-strong real estate finance team from Winston & Strawn

A six-strong team from Winston & Strawn have joined Greenberg Traurig to open a new office in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Norton Rose Fulbright opens Chicago office with dynamic 11-lawyer team focused on technology transactions, intellectual property, projects and employment law

Norton Rose Fulbright announced that the global law firm is expanding to Chicago as its 12th US location and 53rd office worldwide. Norton Rose Fulbright will be the first major law firm to base itself in Chicago’s vibrant Fulton Market District. The new office will be a modern and progressive workspace with a focus on collaboration and innovation.



Weil’s London revenue soars by 43 per cent

Weils global revenue has increased 12% to $1.86bn, while their London revenue has increased 43% overall.

Keystone Law dishes out “special dividend” after bumper financials

Keystone Law’s revenue increased 26.5 per cent from £55m to £69.9m during the past financial year.

Stephenson Harwood Cuts Pay For Remote Workers

Stephenson Harwood is cutting pay for its people choosing to work remotely full time, as the firm rolls out its hybrid working policy. During the pandemic the firm hired lawyers who were not based in London for resourcing reasons, according to a person at the firm. Those hires working remotely full-time were paid reduced packages, the person added. That remote working deal has now been extended to all existing employees at the firm as part of its hybrid working policy, which comes at a 20% cost to their take home pay.

What Is The Am Law 100 Doing With All That Profit?

When Fenwick & West chair Richard Dickson looks back at his firm’s outstanding growth in profitability over the last several years, he finds the story isn’t necessarily about certain practices delivering outsized results. Corporate work and litigation have both been on an upward trajectory, but it’s easy for any law firm leader to say he’s focused on growing these twin engines.


Technology & Innovation:

Why Lawyers Aren’t Hooked on Legal Technology … Yet

Building technology for lawyers is hard. Building tech that lawyers will use instinctively is even harder. So far, law’s technical evolution has involved cracking the former, but looking ahead, how can we ensure that using legal technology becomes a habit?


Diversity & Inclusion:

UK partner promotions gender diversity tracker

Leading UK law firms have been scrambling to improve their diversity records through the publication of targets, the launch of new initiatives and also by appointing more women to top positions. The growing influence of the ESG movement and particularly its impact on clients – who are increasingly demanding more progress from their advisers – and recruitment seems to have jolted the profession out of its complacency. The fact that UK law firms are required by law to publish gender pay gap data has also been a major catalyst.

Infertility, pregnancy loss and lawyering: all in a day’s work?

“I often thought about quitting law altogether. Was the stress of lawyering causing my infertility? I struggled, juggling appointments (medical, acupuncture, counselling, coaching) with deadlines, and ‘visibility’ in the office. Tired, of disguising my injections in lunch boxes and administering them in the loo. Fed up, with hiding tears from colleagues when I got bad news (often).”

Diversity Awards 2022 – who’s on the shortlist?

Businesses have “long way to go to truly embed real change” when it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion, a report has claimed, but as FTAdviser’s Diversity in Finance Awards 2022 shortlist proves, great strides have been made by some.

Half of UK corporate lawyers expect to leave their job within two years, report finds

Almost half of corporate lawyers in the UK are actively looking for a new position as attitudes towards traditional work models in the legal profession continue to shift, according to research by legal services provider Axiom Law.

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