Weekly Update – 30th August 2022


UK & Ireland

Quinn poaches RPC’s competition head

The US disputes specialist firm has recruited Lambros Kilaniotis to jointly lead its UK competition practice with partner Kate Vernon.

Skadden hires corporate partner from Slaughter and May in London

Robert Chaplin will join Skadden’s corporate practice in London after 25 years at Slaughters where he specialised in corporate, public and private equity transactions in the insurance sector having joined the partnership in 2006.

Law Firm McDermott Hires Duo of Lawyers From Rival Paul Hastings in London

McDermott has added Jack Thorne and Alison Morris to its dispute resolution practice. The moves follow the firm’s hire of white collar specialist Simon Airey in 2021, also from Paul Hastings.

Quinn Emanuel London Partner Quits for Transatlantic Firm

A Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan London partner has left the firm to join transatlantic outfit Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in the city. The firm has brought on board Ravi Nayer in its litigation and investigations practice, according to a statement on Tuesday. He joined Quinn Emanuel in July 2021 from Brown Rudnick.



DLA Piper hires Hausfeld’s former Brussels, Paris head amid ongoing European antitrust push

DLA Piper has hired Hausfeld’s former Brussels and Paris office managing partner Laurent Geelhand to expand its Brussels competition practice.

DLA Piper to Expand Private Equity Team in Paris With Partner, 2 Associates

Thomas Priolet will join on Sept. 12 from D’Ornano & Co., a multidisciplinary finance, corporate, IP and tax firm in Paris, where he has practiced as a partner since 2021. He began his career at Salans, now Dentons, in 2010 and joined Bredin Prat in 2014, rising to counsel.


The Americas

Squire hires financial crimes expert from consultancy Guidehouse in Washington DC

Squire Patton Boggs has hired financial crimes defence lawyer Adam Klauder from consultancy firm Guidehouse to bolster its government investigations and white collar practice on the East Coast.

Wilson Sonsini hires Daiichi Sankyo associate GC to boost New York life sciences bench

Seth Flaum has joined Wilson Sonsini’s New York office as a partner, ending a long association with Daiichi Sankyo spanning 16 years.

Paul Weiss secures veteran litigation partner duo from Winston & Strawn in New York

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison has made a twin partner hire from Winston & Strawn in New York to expand its litigation department in a move that promises to deepen its relationship with longstanding client Goldman Sachs. Robert Sperling and Staci Yablon join as partners, bringing across more than three decades of experience between them across a range of disputes and investigations.



Clyde & Co Relocates Shipping Duo from London to Singapore

Clyde & Co partner, Andrew Bicknell, has relocated from the firm’s London office to Singapore. He has joined the firm’s Asia Pacific energy, marine and natural resources practice, and brings along with him one associate, Callum Gerrish, who has a focus on shipping and trade disputes including marine insurance recovery claims and casualty matters.

The Exodus Continues: More Senior Lawyers Have Left Hong Kong

Lawyers who work at international law firms in Hong Kong continue to leave the city—once considered a vibrant hub for global law firms and ex-pat lawyers. According to research by Law.com International, 24 more law firm partners have left Hong Kong in the past 12 months, adding to the 22 departures first reported in April.



BigHand acquires DE&I-focused cost analytics platform Digitory Legal

Legaltech provider BigHand has acquired cost analytics platform Digitory Legal to strengthen its resource management and matter pricing products.

Ex-Airbnb In-House Leader Takes Legal Chief Role at Switzerland-Based Software Company

Airbnb’s former associate general counsel has jumped to Swiss open source software development firm SonarSource to serve as its first-ever legal chief.  Derek Smith is taking control of Sonar’s legal department after the Geneva-based company announced earlier this year that it had raised $412 million from investors at a $4.7 billion valuation.


Promotions & Appointments:

Rouse names new deputy CEO and China lead ahead of growth push

UK Intellectual property outfit Rouse has shuffled its senior leadership team, appointing current China general manager Linda Chang as deputy CEO and China trademark lead Hatty Cui as head of its China business.

Eversheds Sutherland Elects International Chair, As Incumbent Retires

Eversheds Sutherland’s international operation has announced that partner Kathryn Roberts has been elected its chair for a term of four years. Roberts has replaced the previous chair, Bruce Dear, who was elected six months earlier, but has been forced to retire due to ill health.


Mergers & Alliances:

Australian IP Group to Acquire Canada’s Smart & Biggar’s Patent and Trademark Agency

Canadian intellectual property firm Smart & Biggar, the largest IP firm in Canada, is merging with Asia Pacific patent and trademark group IPH Ltd., a network of IP firms based in countries across the Asia Pacific.



Travers’ PEP dips to £1.1m as NQ pay rises

Travers Smith’s revenue rose by 5 per cent over 2021/22, while average profit per equity partner (PEP) fell after soaring the previous financial year. The firm’s turnover reached £195.2m, having been £185.7m in 2020/21. Growth last year was slower than in 2020/21. In the previous financial year, revenue was up 15 per cent, while PEP jumped 21 per cent to hit £1.2m. Over 2021/22, PEP went back down to £1.1m, a dip of 8 per cent.

Stewarts smashes through £100m revenue barrier

Stewarts has broken the £100m revenue barrier for the first time in its history, with net profit and average profit per equity partner (PEP) also soaring. Revenue at the firm grew by 43 per cent from £79.7m to £114m in the 2021/22 financial year, while net profit rose a staggering 93 per cent from £30.1m to £58.1m.

Burness Paull issues staff bonus and new incentive after positive financial performance

Revenue and profit are both up at Scottish independent law firm Burness Paull, triggering an all-staff bonus and a new reward for partners. Revenue increased 9 per cent from £71.5m to £78.6m for the 2021/22 financial year, while profit jumped 7 per cent from £33.2m to £35.7m.

White & Case salary costs jump 15 per cent after headcount rises

A boost in fee-earner and non-fee-earner numbers in the White & Case London office has contributed to a 15 per cent jump in costs for wages and salaries, according to the firm’s LLP accounts. Overall, the firm handed out a total of £67.8m in wages across 2021, compared to £58.9m in 2020.

Howard Kennedy surpasses £60m in revenue against 9% PEP fall

London law firm Howard Kennedy has surpassed £60m in revenue for the first time on record, but a 6% rise in turnover wasn’t enough to keep profit per equity partner (PEP) in an upward trajectory. The firm’s latest revenue figure represents a 6.3% increase on the previous financial year, when it brought in £56.9m. Profits increased by a modest 2% to hit £16.7m from £16.4m in FY2020/21. PEP, meanwhile, fell 9% to £315k from £348k, a change the firm chalked up to investment in its new partners

Is Norton Rose’s Ambitious Africa Strategy Paying Off?

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa has reinvented itself over the last four years, including revamping its management team and changing the way partners are remunerated. This has enabled the firm to drive down costs, increase revenues and embark on an aggressive on-going lateral hiring campaign, said the firm’s South Africa CEO Andrew Robinson.

Is This the Unexpected Fall-Out From the Salary Explosion?

“Where will it all end?” questions have sounded either rhetorical or ruthlessly pragmatic, as people consider the inexorable rise in lawyers’ salaries. Though some firms have chosen not to compete on these terms (and/or have realised they really can’t) others daren’t throw in the towel in this financial slugfest. Usually, this kind of increase in firms’ costs has only one outlet: through their client charges. And that is where most of the pragmatists have seen “it all ending” – without actually giving much detail.


Technology & Innovation:

‘Custodians’ of Tech – Harnessing The Risks And Opportunities Of Technology

Co-head of Clifford Chance’s tech group Jonathan Kewley discusses the group’s growth and the increasing presence of technology in our lives.


Diversity & Inclusion:

Apprentices shine as first SQE2 exams result in 77% pass rate

First-class undergraduate degree holders had a pass rate of 92 per cent, compared to 57 per cent who got a 2:2 degree. The pass rate among the 22 legal apprentices was well above the overall pass rate. Women (79 per cent pass rate) did slightly better than men (75 per cent). Those who had completed some qualifying work experience also generally did better. While 85 per cent of white candidates passed, that number dropped to 72 per cent of Asian/Asian British candidates and 53 per cent of Black/Black British candidates. Ninety-two per cent of candidates in mixed/multi-ethnic groups passed.

Global law firms boosted UK productivity during pandemic, study finds

Global law firms managed to boost their productivity last year, achieving a 12.2% increase in hours worked with a headcount that rose by just 2.6%, according to a new report by Thomson Reuters. M&A work led the way, clocking up year-on-year growth of more than a fifth (21.5%) amid a record year of global deals activity. Tax lawyers were also busier, with billing hours increasing by 15.5%. Overall corporate work, which includes M&A, grew by 11.3%. But it also suggests firms have risen to the challenge posed by remote and hybrid working by boosting their efficiency. There are, however, concerns over the long-term impact on firm culture of remote working and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer this month tweaked its policy so UK fee earners will spend the majority of their working days in the office from September.

Nominations Open For WIPL UK Awards With New Categories Added

Nominations are now open for the Women, Influence and Power in Law (WIPL) awards 2023. Hosted by Law.com International, the event is set to honour top legal professionals who have made a remarkable difference in the industry during the past year—whether in achieving exceptional results for their law firm or company, mentoring the next generation or being a stand out junior member of the profession. The awards will coincide with International Women’s Day in March 2023 and take place midway through the accompanying two-day WIPL conference.

Battling Greenwashing: Law Firms Increasingly Wield Data to Back Up Client ESG Claims

Tech entrepreneur Matt Ellis isn’t at all surprised about the boom in ESG—environmental, social and governance—practices at law firms over the past decade. He saw it coming a mile away. “Law firms are in the business of mitigating risk,” he said. “When their clients started to understand that sustainability was becoming a material risk, law firms were always going to see a business service opportunity.”


Ukrainian Legal Developments:

IBA Condemns Detention of Russian Lawyer Who Criticized Ukraine War

The International Bar Association (IBA) has condemned the arrest and extended pre-trial detention of a Russian lawyer over critical comments about the Ukraine war he posted to social media The IBA described the arrest of lawyer Dmitry Talantov as an “indisputable” human rights violation. In a statement, IBA president Sternford Moyo called for his release and for all charges against him to be dropped.

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