UK & Ireland
Michael Engel was partner for just over two years at Kirkland. Prior to that, he was part of Sullivan & Cromwell’s European competition team for over a decade, and also spent a two-year stint at the legal arm of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Greenberg Traurig has added to its London finance practice with the hire of partner Sierra M. Taylor.
Rebecca Kelly rejoins the firm after a nine-year stretch at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, where she was Dubai office managing partner and head of litigation, leading its Middle East regulatory and disputes team.
Leading the move, Diego Pol was a partner at Dentons for more than four years, where he led the Spanish Compliance team within the firm’s corporate and M&A practice and co-chaired the European compliance group. Prior to his time at Dentons, Pol worked as a senior associate at Baker & McKenzie.
DWF has parted ways with its Dubai-based global co-head of infrastructure, construction and energy—who leaves for HFW—but adds two other Dubai-based partners.
The appointment bolsters Simmons’ cross-border capability and will help it further develop its energy, natural resources and infrastructure practice in the Asia Pacific and Greater China, the firm said.
Lian Yok Tan, who is qualified in four different jurisdictions, including the U.K. and Singapore, has 30 years of experience.
Beijing-based Han Kun Law Offices has added two new partners, Lan Tao and Gloria Wang, from Sidley Austin’s Beijing office.
Peter Lu has joined the firm in London from Baker McKenzie, where he has spent over four years. Lu joins McDermott with a team of lawyers including Tina Hartwright, who has been promoted to counsel at McDermott, Ennio Keyte and Alonso de Reyes Lanfranco, all of whom are corporate lawyers.
Global law firm Clyde & Co has hired a partner-led team from a local firm to join its financial services regulatory team. Liam Hennessy joins the firm in Brisbane along with seven lawyers from local firm Gadens.
Sydney-based Jonathon Turner joins the firm’s restructuring and insolvency team with a focus on growing contentious matters, complex litigation and restructuring.
Ira Gonzalez is joining Newark-based McCarter after over three years at Hinshaw. While he helps build out the Miami office, he’ll be a partner in the firm’s products liability, mass torts and consumer class actions practice.
Will Turner spent most of his career in Chicago until the pandemic hit and he relocated to Florida.
“I wanted to get back to being more of a subject matter specialist in the privacy, cybersecurity and technology areas,” Rachel Reid said of her move from in-house work back to law firm work.
Mauricio Llamas is bringing three associates with him to Hogan Lovells, where he will head the firm’s environmental law practice in Latin America’s second-biggest economy.
Paul Hastings has hired John Budetti, a 17-year veteran of Kirkland & Ellis’ investment funds group, as the new global chair of its investment funds and private capital practice, the firm said, with five current and former Kirkland attorneys expected to join him.
Christine Schleppegrell is one of several former SEC veterans who have joined Morgan Lewis since the start of 2022.
Gabriel Salinas’ exit comes shortly after Omar Samji, another leader of Shearman & Sterling’s energy innovation team, moved to Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Houston.
The raid brings seven partners, including some former practice and office heads, plus two senior counsel and eight associates as the U.S.-based firm wagers big on near-shoring for manufacturing.
McDermott Will & Emery has brought on Holland & Knight real estate and private wealth partner Elena Otero in Miami, as the firm continues building up practices that remain flexible with economic conditions.
Covington’s regulatory and investigations roots are giving it a boost in the Northern California legal market, according to San Francisco office managing partner Gretchen Hoff Varner.
The Wall Street firm is at least the third Am Law 25 law firm to hire a financial regulatory partner in D.C. in the last week, with the addition of Dalia Blass as a partner.
The structured finance team, including several associates, is joining rapidly growing Paul Hastings. The team is led by A&O partner Nick Robinson, who leaves the firm after four years as a partner in A&O’s structured finance practice.
Mahon brings over a decade of experience in the areas of immigration and employment law. In his immigration practice, he represents families and businesses seeking immigration benefits in addition to defending individuals placed in removal proceedings.
Lawrence Wee’s practice, which focuses on out-of-court restructuring, sits at the strategic center of several key practice areas, according to Milbank leaders.
The additions qualify as “pretty dramatic growth” for the 35-lawyer firm, according to managing partner Michael Frattone.
The travel company appointed Ann Bruder as chief legal officer, succeeding Chadwick Ho, a former Disney attorney who’d started in September.
Thomas Loest’s climb up the legal department ladder included stops at Georgia-Pacific, Nike and Kimberly-Clark.
Dana Wagner, chief legal officer of San Francisco-based Twilio, also received a massive stock grant as part of his normal 2022 compensation. The two awards left his pay just shy of that of Apple GC Kate Adams.
Deutsche Bank has hired its next general counsel, appointing Friederike Rotsch to the role.
Meredith Waters is taking the legal reins of Mondee, which aims to capitalize as the travel industry becomes increasingly technology-driven.
Kristin Sverchek, who’s been with Lyft since 2012 and was general counsel until 2021, will help the company’s new CEO execute his strategy of slashing costs to make the service more affordable for riders and profitable for drivers.
Tia Sherringham took the legal reins in January 2022 after the food-delivery company promoted her boss to chief business officer.
Promotions & Appointments:
Allen & Overy announced it had promoted 36 lawyers. Last week, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer promoted 30 to partner, while last month Linklaters elevated 41.
Twelve of the 32 promotions are women, giving an overall tally of 38%, a slight decrease on last year’s 41%.
International law firm Simmons & Simmons today announces its cohort of partner promotions for 2023. This year’s round comprises 13 lawyers from five countries across the UK, Europe and Asia. The promotions will take effect on 1 May 2023.
Mergers & Alliances:
Managing Partner Rick Street said representatives from both firms had been talking about a merger for the past two years, and following a COVID lull, the discussions heated up again late last year.
The listed law firm went into administration earlier this month. The Ince Group has announced that its administrators have sold the firm to another U.K. law firm—Axiom DWFM.
Dempsey Law, with two attorneys as well as support staff, focused on family law, particularly domestic and international adoption efforts as well as work involving assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy.
A deal would represent the first major private equity investment in a large commercial UK law firm.
Office Openings & Closing:
Last year, the firm entered the Singaporean market, making the upcoming Madrid office its fifth globally.
DeHeng’s Seoul office, its ninth international outfit, will be headed by Korean-speaking partner Cuiying Zhu, who specializes in cross-border investment and finance, as well as dispute resolution.
Cecilia Amieva, an ECIJA partner who previously worked out of the firm’s Buenos Aires office, will be the managing partner in Montevideo.
Shin & Kim’s new Singapore outfit marks the Big Six South Korean law firm’s fifth overseas office.
King County, Washington has been a magnet for a wave of claims. “We’re seeing a lot of attorneys from outside the jurisdiction testing new legal theories,” said one of the new partners at BCLP.
The firm is adding seven partners from Benesch, with four in the Windy City and three bolstering its existing Cleveland presence.
The arrival of seven real estate and construction attorneys from Towson-based boutique Sagal Filbert Quasney & Betten is neither an acquisition or a merger, according to McNees. One attorney from the Sagal firm is not making the move.
Senior partner Adam Hakki noted that while 2023 will be a transition year, many of the firm’s practices are thriving and partners are being paid “consistent with our long-standing profit distribution practices.”
Kent Walker earned nearly $10 million more than he did in 2021, but it was only half of what he made in 2020.
David Hyman and the company’s other top executives saw compensation rise in 2022, even as Netflix shares tumbled.
“The data we have shows that some of the largest purchasers of legal services in the world are paying way over average,” said Nathan Cemenska of Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions.
The actual number of full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs increased by 888 (+3%) year-over-year as compared to last year, when the ABA reported an 11.2% year-over-year increase.
CEO James Knight has distanced his firm from the recent fallout around the collapse of fellow-listed firm the Ince Group.
Technology & Innovation:
Legal’s role in shaping and maintaining an organized and thorough process enables the organization to successfully and efficiently manage the due diligence process and tees up the strongest negotiating position possible.
“There’s a lot of unpredictability right now. There’s a lot of head-scratching about what’s going to come next—what sectors are going to get hit with the next emergency directive, for example,” said Megan Leef Brown, a partner with Wiley Rein.
LegalOn Technologies took advantage of its U.S. release to announce new capabilities around its collaboration, search and editing features.
Recent research shows that while many legal departments are utilizing established legal technologies like e-billing and matter management systems for useful purposes, there are opportunities to enhance technology value even more. Especially in areas like process automation and advanced reporting.
‘As a sector, we’re bad at failure because it’s opposed to what we’re trained to do for clients,’ said one London conference panelist.
If neither the AI system nor its operator hold rights over the material, are these works simply public domain? Not necessarily.
Generative AI has taken the legal world by storm, and that means legal professionals are going to have to learn to communicate with machines. One key skill for doing so has emerged: prompt engineering.
Firms have been paying close attention to how legal tech vendors are incorporating generative AI into their tools. While few are opposed to such updates, these implementations come with a new set of questions.
A blanket warning over not using ChatGPT altogether, as issued by one insurance provider, might not necessarily fit with client demands or law firms’ own view of the technology.
“AI won’t replace contract professionals. Contract professionals who use AI will replace those who don’t,” said Otto Hanson, CEO of TermScout.
The ability of machines to learn and improve without explicit instructions has the potential to revolutionize many industries, but businesses that use AI must be aware of the legal and operational risks that come with it.
“Legal innovation should capitalize on highly enriched, modeled data sets by producing advanced functionality and workflow solutions that anticipate what a client needs to stay out of litigation,” says Nicole Stone; Director, New Product Development Content Strategy at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.
Diversity & Inclusion:
“A lot of positions of high responsibility in government are fed by law school professors and deans, who are appointed to these roles, but there are not many, if any, Latinos and Latinas to pick from,” Seattle University Law Dean Anthony Varona said. “This is a very big problem not just for law but for democracy itself.”
“We think we are the only firm that can offer top-tier IP litigation capabilities in every major country in the world,” said A&O’s U.S. head of IP, Elizabeth Holland, who is one of several female partners leading the firm’s growth for tech and life sciences clients.
Watson Farley’s promotions follow the recent announcements of offices in Seoul and Tokyo.
“Now is the time for companies to closely review their existing disclosures on file and make sure the activities they have chosen to disclose are commensurate with the disclosure,” says Skadden partner Anita Bandy.
Having talked in the past to DLA Piper and Shearman & Sterling, Baker Botts may view a combination as a way to strengthen its market position.
“Law firms really want the big stuff—the deals and litigation. What a lot of corporations struggle with is not those things,” said Noel Elfant, founder of General Counsel Practice.
Many young lawyers said they would exchange some of their pay for lower billable hours, a recent survey found. Now more law firms are creating additional paths to partnership with lower hours requirements.
Kathleen Deuschle had been at the firm since 2009. She’s the fifth member of the firm’s C-suite to depart since February 2022.
For all the talk of pre-liberalization of the market there, firms are cautious now.
In-house leaders tell Law.com International that remote working could see them lose their place at the leadership table that they fought so hard for in the first place.
Demand currently outweighs supply for a small pool of financial regulation lawyers, as banks need to make sense of an environment that’s evolving rapidly following the demise of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
The office equipment giant says Louie Pastor is stepping down to pursue other opportunities. It’s not clear where he’s headed.
India is not a necessarily litigious society—but with an open legal market and the decision to keep AI unregulated, that could soon change.
Sara Moss has been with the cosmetics giant for two decades, most of that time as legal chief. She was promoted to vice chair in 2019.
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