Weekly Update – 31st October 2022

Moves:

UK & Ireland

Paul Hastings doubles down on debt finance with team raid on Weil

Paul Hastings hired a finance capital markets duo from Weil Gotshal & Manges, despite the recent slowdown in deals activity in the market. Partner Patrick Bright, who heads Weil’s European high yield team, and partner Alexander Horstmann-Caines are leaving the firm to bolster Paul Hastings’ finance practice.

Gibson Dunn lands outgoing European Court of Human Rights president in London

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher hired European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) president Judge Robert Spano, whose term at the court ends this month. Spano will join the US firm in London as of counsel at the start of January, where his practice will focus on advising clients on multi-national disputes related to digital rights, public international law and investor-state arbitration as well as matters related to business and human rights, environmental, social and governance and government affairs and public policy.

EMEA

Gibson Dunn swipes Shearman & Sterling corporate partner in Middle East

Shearman & Sterling took a hit in the Middle East through the exit of one of its corporate practice heads to Gibson Dunn. Marwan Elaraby has left the firm after more than nine years in Dubai, where he led the office. Elaraby previously served as a managing director at Citadel Capital (now Qalaa Holdings) and as an executive director at EFG Hermes Investment Banking.

Allen & Overy boosts Italian litigation practice with partner hire from Delfino Willkie

Allen & Overy hired disputes lawyer Francesca Petronio from Delfino Willkie Farr & Gallagher to strengthen its commercial litigation practice in Italy. Petronio joins as a partner in the magic circle firm’s Milan office, bringing with her more than two decades of experience in domestic and international litigation and arbitration cases. She has a focus on bankruptcy and commercial disputes and expertise in proceedings related to investigations, white-collar crime, administrative liability and compliance.

Cuatrecasas Adds to Madrid, Barcelona Ranks With 6 Hires

Spanish law firm Cuatrecasas hired several partners and associates across its Madrid and Barcelona offices in insurance, real estate and white collar crime, as the outfit continues to strengthen its domestic bases.

APAC

Japanese Firm Nozomi Sogo Brings on First Ever Foreign Partner

Nozomi Sogo Attorneys At Law hired the president of European Business Council in Japan as the Tokyo-based firm’s first foreign partner. Swiss-qualified Michael Mroczek, who previously spent a nearly ten-year stint as the first foreign law partner at Okuno & Partners, specializes in international dispute resolution.

Yoon & Yang Takes Veteran Aviation Partner From Lee & Ko, Adds Two Others to Practice

The Big Six Korean law firm added three lawyers including a veteran partner from rival firm Lee & Ko to its aviation practice. Hye Kyung Helen Sohn, who spent 27 years at Lee & Ko, will join Yoon & Yang’s corporate advisory and finance practice group as a senior foreign attorney.

The Americas

Katten targets advertising sector with hire of senior IP litigation partner from Crowell & Moring

Katten Muchin Rosenmann hired advertising litigator Christopher Cole from Crowell & Moring to strengthen its IP department and help it build a full-service advertising practice. Cole joins as a partner and chair of Katten’s advertising, marketing and promotions practice group in Washington DC. His practice focuses on advertising, unfair competition, brand disparagement, reputation and IP matters, with extensive experience in litigating Lanham Act and consumer class action cases.

Perkins Coie hires former DOJ lawyer to boost Washington commercial litigation practice

Perkins Coie hired former US Department of Justice lawyer Michael Huston to co-chair its appeals, issues and strategy practice.Huston joins as a partner in Washington DC, bringing with him more than a decade of appellate and litigation experience in government and private practice.

Akin Gump targets Boston launch with twin partner hire from local firm

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld made its first hires in Boston ahead of a planned office launch in the city. Partners Tim Becker and Wells Miller have joined the firm’s tax practice from Boston-based Choate Hall & Stewart and bring extensive experience advising funds clients.

Greenberg Traurig Recruits Latin America Partner for Brazil Work

Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP expanded its Corporate Practice with the addition of Shareholder Steven Sandretto, whose practice focuses on cross-border transactions in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

Holland & Knight Lands Former Head of Colombia’s National Copyright Directorate

Holland & Knight recruited a former director from Colombia’s National Copyright Directorate, continuing its moves to bulk up its expertise in various practice areas in the country.

Cozen O’Connor Presses On With Canadian Expansion, Hiring Veteran Litigator

Cozen O’Connor continues its Canadian growth drive with the hiring of Michael Osborne as chair of a new antitrust practice.

Promotions & Appointments:

Dechert Replaces Hong Kong Head 10 Months After Predecessor Left

Dechert appointed its next Hong Kong managing partner 10 months after the former office leader left the firm. Asia head and global co-head of white collar, compliance and investigations at Dechert Maria Sit has been appointed to the role, replacing David Cho who left the firm in January.

HSF Appoints Global TMT Co-Heads As It Zones In On New Strategy

Law Firms Herbert Smith Freehills appointed global co-heads of its technology, media and telecoms sector, with one of the appointments based in its Singapore office for the first time. Their appointment follows the launch of the firm’s new strategy, Ambition 2025. As part of that strategy the firm is strengthening to advise current and future tech companies and building on the opportunities created by both established and growth technology companies.

DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons Refresh German Leadership

DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons refreshed their German leadership as they look to the future of their continental Europe bases. DLA Piper appointed two co-country managing partners in Germany, Kai Bodenstedt and Martin Haller, effective November 1.

Latham’s partner promotions prove litigators are on the rise

Latham & Watkins promoted 44 associates to partner, with 10 elevated in London. Effective from January 2023, this is a virtually identical story to last year, which saw 44 members jump to partnership globally and nine promoted to partner in London.

Jones Day elevates 45 to partner in latest US-dominated promotions round

Jones Day promoted 45 lawyers to partner in its latest round, a slight drop on the 48 who made the grade last year. Women made up 22 of the promotions, or 49% of the overall cohort, up from 44% last year. US promotions dominated, with 80% of this year’s intake working across its domestic network, 16% in Europe and 4% in Asia. The lawyers will assume their new roles at the start of next year.

Pinsent Masons names new head of Germany

Pinsent Masons appointed a new head of Germany to replace Rainer Kreifels, who has been in the role since 2015. Partner Thomas Peschke took over the head role from 1 October 2022, overseeing the firm’s three German offices in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich.

Linklaters refreshes Paris office with new head

Linklaters replaced its Paris office managing partner with its French head of real estate Françoise Maigrot who will take over from January for a four-year term. Maigrot succeeds partner Bertrand Andriani, who’s been in post for three years and leads the firm’s financing, energy and infrastructure team in Paris, as well as the Francophone Africa group.

Mergers & Alliances:

Mayer Brown lands JV with Singaporean firm

Mayer Brown established a formal joint law venture (JLV) with Singapore firm PK Wong & Nair. The JLV will be known as Mayer Brown PK Wong & Nair and will offer clients services on international and Singapore law. Mayer Brown first set up in Singapore in 2011 and has since grown to 25 lawyers, including 13 partners.

Office Openings & Closing:

New Private Equity Boutique Law Firm Launches in Paris

A new private equity-focused law firm opened in Paris, the latest in a stream of boutique launches in the French capital seeking to capitalize on a busy sector of the legal market. Duroc Partners opens with nine lawyers, including two partners: Erwan Bordet and Alexandre Dejardin.

Littler bolts on Zurich boutique to enter Swiss market

US Employment and labour law specialist Littler Mendelson entered the Swiss market through the acquisition of a practice in Zurich. The office will operate under the name Littler | LEL Lawyers and will be led by LEL founder Dr Ueli Sommer, who has joined Littler as a partner. Earlier he practised for more than 20 years at Swiss firm Walder Wyss.

Goodwin Procter Set To Double London Space With St Paul’s Move

Goodwin Procter is planning a London office move that will double its space in the city, as more law firms hone in on new bases in the U.K. capital. The firm has been eyeing an office move since earlier this year, after several years of major expansion in London.

Macau Law Firm Launches in Portugal to Target China-Related Deals

Macau firm, MdME Lawyers, launched an office in Lisbon, Portugal, aiming to target work relating to investments from Portugal into China.

Spanish heavyweight Pérez-Llorca to open in Singapore as its targets Asia-Pacific growth

Pérez-Llorca is set to open an office in Singapore in the first quarter of 2023, becoming what it claims is the first Spanish law firm to have a base in the Asian city state. Pérez-Llorca said it will use the office as a hub from which it will develop its strategy across the Asia-Pacific region. The launch will also see the firm make good on its plan have a physical presence in the global financial capitals of New York, London and Singapore as well as in Europe’s regulatory capital of Brussels.

Financials:

‘A Painful Period’: Big Law’s High-Yield Bond, Leveraged Finance Practices Take Hit

A slow deal period and market instability have seen banks write down over $1 billion in loans through the second fiscal quarter of 2022. “From a practice standpoint, it is a painful period, but it is temporary,” said Jonathan Schaffzin, corporate partner, and executive committee member of Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

Linklaters Cuts Cash Reserves Again, LLPs Show

Linklaters cut its cash position for the second consecutive year; its latest LLP accounts show. According to its consolidated cashflow statement for the financial year to April 2022, the firm’s cash and cash equivalents are down 19% to £180.3 million. That follows a 39% decrease the previous year.

Technology & Innovation:

4 Ways a Recession May Affect Firms’ Tech Stacks

As the legal industry prepares for a potential recession in 2023, experts are seeing those concerns reflected in law firms’ tech stacks and procurement decisions. While some tools are in danger of being snubbed in a tough economy, other products might be embraced further for their durability and malleable nature.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Mishcon knuckles down on sustainability with pro bono and ESG case tracker

Mishcon de Reya introduced a new case management system that allows lawyers to better record and track pro bono and ESG-focused work. In the same way that fee earners are required to fill out money laundering and client conflict questionnaires when opening new matters, Mishcon lawyers must now answer mandatory data-capturing questions to measure the impact of work relating to its sustainability business, Mishcon Purpose.

Black judges to be under-represented until 2149, says Law Society of England and Wales

It will take more than 125 years for the judiciary in England and Wales to reflect the proportion of women, Black and Asian people in the wider population at the current rate of progress, according to analysis from the Law Society. With the proportion of Black judges barely growing over the past eight years from 1.02% to 1.09%, the society found it will take until 2149 for their representation to match current estimates for the general population (3.5%). Although the proportion of women judges and those of Asian ethnicity is increasing more quickly, the report found they are also ‘being held back by the glacial progress of diversity on the bench.’

European employers mull reducing pandemic remote working options, study finds

Almost a third of European employers are requiring workers to be in the office full-time as pandemic-era remote working programmes are increasingly wound down, according to Littler’s annual European employer survey. Some 30% of employers are demanding staff work fully in-person, while 27% have introduced hybrid schemes that expect employees to work more days in the office than at home, the data showed. As many as 73% of organisations that don’t already require workers to be in the office full-time are considering reducing the amount of days employees can work remotely.

Slaughter and May Tells Lawyers No Need To Check Emails Between 10PM And 8AM

Magic Circle law firm Slaughter and May has launched a new ‘Working Practices Code’ with the aim of rectifying “unnecessary incursions” into their lawyers’ downtime. Among the new policies are allowing those on video calls to turn off their cameras between the hours of 8pm and 8am and setting limits on the times when emails should be checked.

Why Do We Ignore Partner Mental Health in Big Law?

The preliminary conclusion is that the legal industry still has a long way to go when discussing matters relating to anxiety and mental health.

CEOs Are Starting to Hit Brakes on ESG to Weather Expected Recession

The environmental, social and governance programs that many legal departments have been ramping up could take a hit as companies put resources elsewhere, according to a new survey by KPMG.

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