Weekly Update – 31st of July 2023


UK & Ireland

Fieldfisher Hires Eight-Strong Litigation Team from US Boutique

Fieldfisher has hired an eight-person competition litigation team from U.S. boutique Constantine Cannon. The team joining Fieldfisher consists of two partners, three lawyers and three support staff. London-based Richard Pike was previously a partner at Baker McKenzie and joined Constantine Cannon in 2014. Meanwhile, Stephen Critchley had been a partner at Constantine Cannon since 2021.

Simpson Thacher Hires Senior Lawyer from PE Giant Blackstone in London

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has strengthened its London real estate practice with the addition of a senior lawyer from private equity giant Blackstone. Angus Lennox, a managing director Blackstone, is joining the elite U.S. firm as a partner after seven years at the private equity giant. Prior to that, he had been a senior associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, according to a statement from Simpson Thacher.

DAC Beachcroft Sweep Up Plexus Team, as DWF Board Greenlights Firm Sale

DAC Beachcroft has hired a seven-partner team from recently sold law firm Plexus Law. The partners have all joined DAC Beachcroft’s national casualty practice, with two partners joining the firm’s Manchester office, and the remaining five joining the firm in Leeds. Nicola Skeldon and Louise Shaw, as well as Anthony Baker, Gavin McClenaghan, Ciaran Garnett, Carl McGuire and Stephen Johnson have all left Plexus, which was bought out of administration earlier this month by Axiom DWFM.

Ashurst Hires DLA Piper’s European Arbitration Head

Ashurst has added DLA Piper’s European head of arbitration, bolstering its London arbitration practice. Philip Chong, who has been DLA’s European head for six years, is set to join Ashurst in September after over 16 years at DLA, according to his Linkedin profile. His practice focuses on energy and infrastructure disputes as well as engineering and technical matters.


Squire Patton Boggs Hires Pérez-Llorca Partner to Launch Litigation Practice in Madrid

Partner Javier Izquierdo will lead the transatlantic law firm’s litigation practice in the Spanish capital, filling a new role in a new practice for the Madrid office that will grow over time, a spokesperson for Squire Patton Boggs told Law.com International. He is expected to join the firm on September 1. Some colleagues will accompany partner Javier Izquierdo to his new firm.


Orrick Eyes Imminent Foothold in Singapore with US Energy Partner Relocation

The U.S. firm is also actively seeking an energy arbitration partner to build out its practice in the city-state.

Atsumi & Sakai Hires White & Case Corporate Lawyer as Partner in Tokyo

Tokyo-based Atsumi & Sakai, one of Japan’s largest law firms, has strengthened its corporate and real estate development practices with the hire of Aoi Koyanagi as a partner from White & Case in Tokyo, where she was most recently an associate.

Baker Botts Nabs Ashurst Projects Partner For New Singapore Outfit

Baker Botts has expanded its energy and project financing capability in Southeast Asia with the hire of projects lawyer Andrew Roche from Ashurst in Singapore, where he was most recently a partner. It marks Baker Botts’ fourth partner hire from Ashurst since the US firm launched in Southeast Asia.

The Americas

Jenner Recruits From Energy Commission to Continue Building Practice

Jenner & Block has brought on Anand Viswanathan, a veteran attorney of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who will be special counsel in its Washington, D.C., office.

Benesch Adds New Wilmington Partner

Benesch announced that Daniel Brogan has recently joined the firm as a partner in its Wilmington office from Bayard. He is focused on advising clients in connection with corporate restructurings, bankruptcies, and other insolvency matters with a particular emphasis on insolvency-related litigation.

Winston Adds Another Weil Private Equity, Energy Lawyer in Dallas

Winston & Strawn continues to build its private equity practice serving the energy sector by adding Weil, Gotshal & Manges counsel Scott Delaney, closely following moves by others from Weil in the same practice.

Littler Hires EEOC Chief Counsel With Deep AI Expertise

Bradford Kelley will help advocate for employer interests before policymakers while also advising clients, many of whom are adopting AI to make their HR departments more efficient but still have unease about the potential for bias and discrimination.

Sidley Austin Snags DLA Piper’s Florida Corporate Practice Co-Chair

Joshua Samek is joining as a partner in its M&A and private equity global practice group.

Harneys Lands Regulatory & Tax Partner in the Cayman Islands

The offshore law firm lured Juan Pablo Urrutia from Walkers in a locale where competition for talent is stiff. Harneys has hired a Regulatory & Tax partner from Walkers in the Cayman Islands, where competition for legal talent has ramped up in recent years due to higher salaries in the U.K.

Cravath, Facing Fierce Competition, Builds Out DC Office With Top Government Hires

“It’s hard to displace market leaders who have been building a position for decades,” noted legal consultant Kent Zimmermann.

Planning ‘Steady’ Atlanta Growth, McGuireWoods Adds Kirkland Real Estate Partner

The firm plans to add private equity lawyers in Atlanta for the first time, as well as additional lawyers for its health care and debt finance practices, said office managing partner Chris Greene. The firm, whose largest office is in Richmond, Virginia, added partner Nicholas Dancey from Kirkland, MGuireWoods said on Thursday, joining its three-lawyer real estate and land use department team in Atlanta.

Holland & Knight Adds Veteran Private Wealth Lawyer; Baker Donelson Names Practice Leaders

Bryan Howard is moving to Holland & Knight, along with almost all of the clients he gained over 17 years with a boutique trusts and estates firm he co-founded in Nashville.

Womble Adds Bankruptcy Group’s First NY Partners

“We recognized that the time to grow had arrived,” said Matthew Ward, leader of Womble’s bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights practice. Edward Schnitzer, David Banker and Wojciech Jung began working Monday as partners on Womble’s capital markets practice and bankruptcy team in its New York office. They are the firm’s first bankruptcy lawyers based in its New York office, which launched in April 2022.

Steptoe Adds 35 Lawyers and Staff From Stroock

Stroock said it is continuing to talk with firms for a merger and its “most profitable practices remain intact.” The group of lawyers and staff moving from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan to Steptoe & Johnson now includes 35 people, including 27 lawyers and eight business services professionals in New York and Los Angeles.


Lionsgate Hires O’Melveny and Myers Dealmaker as General Counsel

The media company Lionsgate has quietly brought aboard a new general counsel, Bruce Tobey, who spent the past decade as a partner at O’Melveny & Myers and before that was chief operating officer of CBS Films and executive vice president at Paramount Pictures.

Cybersecurity Startup Hires GC, Rebuilds Legal Team After Mass Layoffs

David Morris, the first in-house lawyer at Tripadvisor who went on to become legal chief at Vivid Seats, joined Snyk as general counsel.

Lewis Brisbois Litigator Joins Tesla’s Crew of ‘Hardcore Streetfighters’

Frank Brannen is going in-house for the first time, joining a litigation department that Elon Musk wants to be hyper-aggressive. “There will be blood,” Musk said in a tweet last year.

Former Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch Veteran Lawyer Jumps to MUFG as Legal Chief

As general counsel, Matt Abrusci will be responsible for the overall management of legal affairs and board of directors administration related to MUFG’s combined operations in the Americas.

Successor Named for CBRE GC Who Declined Relocation

CBRE moved the general counsel role to Dallas. But Laurence Midler, who is based in Los Angeles, declined to move to Texas. Laurence Midler, who has been at CBRE Group since 2004, has been succeeded by chief transformation officer Chad Doellinger in the general counsel role.

Wealth Management Firm Taps Google’s Legal Director as Legal Chief

“As someone who values teamwork, collaboration and financial empowerment, I’m honored to join LPL’s Management Committee as we continue to pursue LPL’s mission to take care of advisors so they can take care of their clients,” Althea Brown said in a statement.

3D-Printed Homebuilder ICON Hires Former Tesla, Amazon Lawyer as GC

Newly appointed ICON General Counsel Robert Harmon said it took “something extraordinary” to lure him away from Amazon, the opportunity to use “advanced technology to build a future with affordable, resilient and beautiful homes on this planet and beyond.”

UBS Appoints Several Credit Suisse Lawyers to Refreshed Global Litigation Team

The litigation team overhaul follows a spate of changes at UBS’ top level that came after the acquisition of its beleaguered Swiss banking rival. The appointments include Zurich-based Nik Boser, who had been asset management general counsel at Credit Suisse. In a post on LinkedIn earlier this week, he announced he been made head of litigation in Switzerland.

Former Unisys GC Moves Up the Road to Avantor

Claudius Sokenu, ranked by Savoy as one of the most influential Black executives in corporate America, said he was drawn to Avantor’s mission of scientific innovation.

Beer Giant Molson Coors Goes Outside for Legal Chief Replacement

Natalie Maciolek is taking the legal reins of the world’s third-largest brewer after spending a decade at faucet-maker Kohler, where she rose from senior staff attorney to general counsel in five years.

Promotions & Appointments:

Giant Window-Maker Andersen Passes Legal Torch

Taking the legal reins of North America’s largest maker of windows and doors is Andrea Nordaune, a 25-year company veteran.

In Leadership Shuffle, White & Case Names New Executive Committee

London is home to the firm’s next vice chair and two new executive committee members. White & Case has looked to London and New York to select its new round of executive committee leaders who will serve alongside its next chair, Heather McDevitt, based in New York. Oliver Brettle, based in London and also currently on the firm’s executive committee, will take over as vice chair from New York-based banking partner Dave Koschik, the firm said Monday. Two more London-based partners, Carina Radford (project development and finance) and Dipen Sabharwal (international arbitration), will join New York-based Eric Leicht (debt finance) in rounding out the four-partner committee.

A&O Names Interim Managing Partner Replacement for Gareth Price

Allen & Overy has announced that Khalid Garousha, its regional managing partner in the Middle East and Turkey, will become the firm’s next managing partner. Garousha takes over from Gareth Price in the role, who resigned from the firm earlier this month for “personal reasons” a year before the end of his term in 2024.

Allen & Gledhill Senior Disputes Counsel Becomes New Singapore Law Society President

The Law Society of Singapore has elected litigator Jason Chan, a partner and senior counsel at Singapore Big Four law firm Allen & Gledhill, as its new president following the death of his TSMP Law Corporation partner Adrian Tan.

Cozen O’Connor Taps New Lead for Canadian Life Sciences and Tech Team

Cozen O’Connor has hired Atoussa Mahmoudpour as a member of its North American corporate law group in Vancouver, where she’ll chair the firm’s new Canadian life sciences and technology practice.

Mergers & Alliances:

Pietragallo Gordon Announces Merger With Pittsburgh’s Gentile Horoho

East Coast commercial litigation firm Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti announced Monday that it is merging with Pittsburgh family law firm Gentile, Horoho & Avalli, effective Aug. 1.

Italy’s Pedersoli and Gattai Merge and Hire Team From BonelliErede

Two large Italian law firms—Pedersoli and Gattai Minoli Partners—have merged and hired a team of lawyers from elite outfit BonelliErede at the same time. The new firm, dubbed PedersoliGattai, will begin practicing on January 1st 2024 and will be made up of 350 professionals including 64 partners across three locations in Italy—Milan, Rome and Turin. It is expected to have a combined revenue of more than €120 million.

Office Openings & Closing:

Blank Rome Launches in Dallas With 7 Lawyers From 4 Law Firms

Am Law 100 firm Blank Rome opened a Dallas office this month because it has a number of clients in North Texas, and a long-established office in Houston.

Atlanta’s Fisher Phillips Opens Three Offices in Mexico With 30 Lawyers

The tie-up with a team from Deloitte coincides with growing demand for labour and employment advice in Mexico as more international companies shift production to North America.

Ropes & Gray Plans to Launch Office in Singapore

Andrew Dale, a litigation and investigations partner in Hong Kong, will help set up the new office and will play a key role in the new outfit.

‘Today’s Workplace Looks Different’: Willkie Signs Upsized Office Lease in San Francisco

Willkie, now with 45 lawyers in San Francisco, has signed a lease for a 44,000-square-foot office space at 330 Bush St.

Because Clients Asked, California Law Firm Moves into Texas With Houston Office

San Diego-based Tyson & Mendes, which opened the Houston office this month, plans to soon add another location in Texas.


Travers Unveils Static PEP and Turnover Amid Challenging Year

The firm’s PEP has remained the same at £1.1 million, while turnover inched up by 1% to £197.5 million in the last financial year, while its average profit per equity partner stayed the same, at £1.1 million, according to the firm’s provisional financial results for the year ending June 30.

Freshfields Unveils Static PEP Despite Rising Revenue Amid M&A ‘Shift’

The firm’s average profit per equity partner inched up 1% in the last financial year, putting the firm slightly ahead of its main UK rivals, which all suffered a slight drop.

Macfarlanes Posts Triple Tumble Across Turnover, Profit, PEP

Following a stellar year in 2022, the firm posted a downturn and is changing its financial year end. The firm reported a turnover drop of 2.3% from the previous year, now standing at £296.6 million, while operating profit sank 6.1%, at £154.1 million, according to its unaudited financial results for the year.

Linklaters Becomes Latest Magic Circle Firm to Suffer PEP and Profits Dip

Like its rivals, the firm’s revenue increased but profits fell after ‘material exceptional costs’, which the firm attributed to the closure of its Moscow office.

Technology & Innovation:

Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT: Friend, Foe, or Both

Although ESI is still important, generative artificial intelligence (AI), especially ChatGPT, has taken the world by storm.

Everlaw Brings Generative AI to Its Storybuilder, Document Review Offerings

Everlaw’s new AI Assistant, which uses OpenAI’s API, leveraging the GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models, is for now only available to a select number of customers in beta, with plans to release to the broader market in upcoming months.

UnitedLex Launches New Innovation Lab, With $10M in Support

The new lab will act as a legal technology testing ground, incubator and development space.

UpLevel Ops Launches Generative AI Management Services for Legal Departments

Generative Artificial Intelligence Management Services includes multiple offerings, from education and training to road mapping, with the aim of helping in-house teams plan and account for generative AI in their tech stacks.

Addleshaw Goddard Presses Ahead on Generative AI With Several Pilot Schemes

Meanwhile, Clyde & Co is working with artificial intelligence firm Luminance to create an AI-powered claims handling system.

Big Law Is Leaning Into AI for Bias-Free Hiring and Retention

Firms that started experimenting with AI-powered assessment platforms as early as 2019 are leaning more heavily on the technology or looking to use it to solve more nuanced challenges, such as the type of advancement opportunities that young lawyers receive.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Slaughter and May Becomes First Top UK Law Firm to Set Social Mobility Targets

The famously blue-blooded institution is broadening the universities it works with, offering apprenticeships and starting a financial bursary scheme to help achieve its aims.

Market Commentary:

ESG Drives Environmental Practice Growth, Day Pitney Lawyers Say

Initiatives launched by Connecticut and New Jersey’s respective regulatory agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been keeping firms’ environmental practices buzzing, according to Day Pitney’s environmental leaders.

The Evolving Role of Big Law Leadership

“We will see far fewer major law firm leaders have extended terms. The burnout risk is too great and the pressures too significant,” noted Paul Weiss chair Brad Karp.

Many Companies Giving Lip Service to Environmental, Societal Goals

“Sustainability is typically treated by most managers as someone else’s problem and relegated to a department or even a single individual,” a new report published in the MIT Sloan Management Review found.

Merger Mania: Why Do Law Firms Want to Fall in Love?

Merger mania has seized the law firm world. But like marriage, mergers are complicated. So why are so many law firms looking for a partner?

The Law Firm Disrupted: The Recession May Not Happen. Who’s Ready?

Are layoffs still necessary? Maybe this is the point for law firms that have been coping with flabby demand for months to conclude that they can absorb it just for a little while longer.

An Inflection Point? Big Law’s Path to Office Mandates

Within a year, how did the legal industry change its posture on office mandates? It was less of a tipping point and more of a ratchet effect, analysts say.

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