Weekly Update – 3rd March 2022

Ukrainian Conflict Legal Developments:

London-based partner duo at leading Russian firm announce resignations and office closure

Arbitration specialists James Dingley and Baiju Vasani of Ivanyan and Partners have announced that they are leaving the firm and officially closing the firm’s London outpost.

Mannheimer Swartling withdraws Swedish lawyers from Moscow office and plots ‘orderly exit’

A statement issued by Mannheimer yesterday said the firm has ‘suspended’ its operations in Russia ‘with immediate effect’ while it analyses whether it can exit the Russian market ‘in an orderly manner’ with respect to its Scandinavian clients and Russian employees.

Kennedys to close Moscow office as pressure grows on firms to ditch clients with Kremlin links

Kennedys’ global senior partner, Nick Thomas, revealed today that the international insurance law specialist has been quietly winding down its small Moscow arm since last year.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s leadership moves to draw line under Russian sanctions memo controversy

Norton Rose Fulbright’s (NRF’s) leadership team has issued a public statement expressing its ‘unequivocal’ opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a bid to draw a line under controversy surrounding an internal memo telling lawyers not to comment on Russian sanctions.

Allen & Overy pledges to refuse new Russia-related instructions

In a lengthy statement posted on LinkedIn, the firm also promises to ‘support governments around the world in their response to this senseless invasion’.

A story of one Russian bank

The UK Government announced on Thursday it intends to sanction VTB, hitting it with a full asset freeze. “Individuals and companies whose assets are frozen will be unable to undertake any business in the UK or with UK nationals”, the Government said. Running parallel to US sanctions, it is believed that these will be the single biggest sanctions handed against a single entity in history.

Ukrainians need your help

The announcement of tough sanctions on Russian entities will have huge ramifications for those London firms that have got plump on big-ticket mandates for Russian individuals or state-backed institutions. In contrast to the Russian buying spree, governmental support for the Ukrainian judiciary was an open-hearted project for the good of civil society and development of trust. And indeed, over the last decade Kyiv has developed a strong commercial legal infrastructure with a raft of independent outfits such as Asters, Kinstellar and Sayenko Kharenko among others that regularly partner with Western firms on commercial deals and disputes.

Skadden’s relationship with Chelsea is under the microscope

This is a client relationship which spans decades. Skadden vacation schemers are offered two-week placements at the club and it’s almost a cliché now to mention former London managing partner Bruce Buck’s illustrious tenure as Chelsea chairman. Buck joined the Chelsea board as a director in 2003, immediately after the deal to buy Chelsea was signed, and stepped down from Skadden in 2014.

Houthoff ditches Kremlin as client over ‘acts of war by the Russian Federation in Ukraine’

Leading Dutch law firm Houthoff is ditching the Kremlin as a client in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a move that will deprive its arbitration team of one of its most high-profile relationships.

CMS Partner Criticised In UK Parliament for Alleged Russia Ties

CMS partner Geraldine Proudler was among three lawyers named in U.K. Parliament on Tuesday by a Member of Parliament speaking out against solicitors working for Russian clients.

Ashurst Suspends All Russia State Links as More Law Firms Take Action

The firm said that it will no longer accept instructions from “new and existing” Russian state clients, as international businesses come under growing pressure to address their ties to the Kremlin.

Top Ukrainian business lawyer calls on international firms to quit Moscow as he helps defend Kyiv

The managing partner of Ukrainian law firm Vasil Kisil & Partners is preparing to help defend Kyiv from Russian troops as he calls on international law firms with Moscow offices to pull out in order to put more pressure on the Putin regime. Speaking to The Global Legal Post by telephone today from his office in Kyiv, Andriy Stelmashchuk said he was assisting in the defence of the capital by delivering food and medicine to the army and territorial defence units.

CC and Eversheds latest to announce Russian client reviews

Clifford Chance will not accept new work from Russian state-controlled entities or ‘individuals identified as having close connections to President Putin’ as it reviews all of its existing Russia-linked work, the magic circle firm announced today.It became the latest leading firm to announce a review of existing Russian clients after City firm Eversheds Sutherland said it is currently ‘finalising an extensive review of our existing client work’, as well as reviewing its new client acceptance procedures.



Covington hires City partner from Weil Gotshal

Mark Thompson, Private Equity partner, has joined Covington & Burling as co-chair of its global practice.

Sidley Austin adds private equity strength in London with Dechert partner hire

Robert Darwin, Private Equity and M&A specialist, joins Sidley Austin from Dechert.

Mishcon expands its real estate practice with new partner hire

Lee Foxcroft joins Mishcon de Reya from Slaughter and May.

Squire Patton Boggs adds European white collar head as part of group hire in London and Paris

Hannah Laming has joined Squire Patton Boggs as the head of its European government investigations from Peters & Peters. Wayne Barnes and Ben Ticehurst have also joined from Fulcrum Chambers and Howard Kennedy respectively.

Deloitte Legal appoints new partner for data privacy, cybersecurity and telecoms

Cavan Fabris joins Deloitte’s London office from EY.

Herbert Smith Freehills bolsters superannuation and insurance expertise with appointment of two partners in Australia

Maged Girgis and Andrew Bradley, currently ay Minter Ellison, will join HSF’s Sydney office.

Shearman & Sterling expands capital markets offering in Asia as Wanda Woo re-joins

Wanda Woo rejoins Shearman & Sterling after being at Kirkland & Ellis and Wilson Sonisi for a total of four years.

Zdeněk Kučera and his TMT team join Dentons in Prague

Zdeněk Kučera and three associates have joined Dentons from Kinstellar.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP welcomes Partner Jamie Mills

Jamie Mills, patent litigation specialist, joins DLA Piper’s Toronto office.

Willkie Welcomes Private Equity Partner Joe Kaczorowski to Los Angeles Office

Joe Kaczorowski joins Willkie’s Los Angeles office from Cooley, where he was a Special Counsel.

Goodwin adds New York capital markets partner Radoslaw Michalak to technology practice

Radoslaw Michalak joins Goodwin from Davis Polk, where he was a Counsel.

Schulte Roth & Zabel Strengthens Intellectual Property Capabilities

Alexander M. Kim has joined Schulte Roth’s New York office.

Colin Conklin Joins Wilson Sonsini’s Corporate Practice in San Francisco

Colin Conklin join’s Wilson Sonsini’s San Francisco office from Gunderson Dettmer Stough.

Executive Compensation, Employment & Benefits Practice rejoins Latham & Watkins

Maj Vaseghi has rejoined Latham & Watkins’ San Francisco office after two years at Freshfields.

Morrison & Foerster Adds Emerging Companies + Venture Capital Partner

Paul Navarro joins Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office from Perkin Coie.

Dechert Continues Global Finance Expansion with Return of Partner Kathleen Mylod

Kathleen Mylod rejoins the firm’s global financial practice in the New York office, returning from Shipman & Goodwin.

Top White Collar Litigator Ben O’Neil Brings International Experience to McGuireWoods in D.C.

Ben O’Brien joins McGuireWoods from Vinson Elkins.

Simpson Thacher Adds Prominent Partners to Registered Funds Practice

Nathan Briggs and Nicole Simon have joined Simpson Thacher’s Washington D.C. and New York offices respectively.

Gibson Dunn Adds Antitrust Partner Sophia Vandergrift in Washington, D.C.

Sophia Vandergrift joins Gibson Dunn from Sullivan & Cromwell.

Former Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell Joins Morrison & Foerster in Boston

Nathan Mendell has joined Morrison & Foerster from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts.

White & Case Strengthens its Private Credit Capabilities

Vincenzo P. Lucibello has joined White & Case’s Boston office from Proskauer Rose.

Norton Rose Adds 3-Strong M&A Team In South Africa

William de Villiers and his team join from boutique frim Glyn Marais.

Litigation Practice Strengthened with Addition of Partner, Nabeel Ikram, in Dubai

Vinson & Elkins have hired Nabeel Ikram, formerly of Hogan Lovells, to their global complex commercial litigation practice.

Norton Rose Fulbright Hires Clyde & Co’s Middle East Regulatory Head

Mat Shanahan joins Norton Rose Fulbright from Clyde & Co.

Reed Smith appoints leading media and technology partner in Singapore

Bryan Tan has joined Reed Smith’s Singapore office from Pinsent Masons MPillay, Pinsent Masons joint law venture in Singapore.

Morgan Lewis will expand global tax capabilities with duo from Singapore’s tax authority

Kai Lee Lau joins Morgan Lewis from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

Brian Ho, Former Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission Executive Director, Will Join Kirkland & Ellis as Partner

Brian Ho joins the transactional group at Kirkland & Ellis in their Hong Kong office.


Promotions & Appointments:

CD&R hires senior Clifford Chance partner as European adviser

Private equity giant Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has appointed Clifford Chance partner Simon Tinkler as its new senior legal advisor.


Office Openings & Closings:

Osborne Clarke hires 30 lawyers from Polish firms for Warsaw launch

The new office will be led by co-managing partners Olgierd Świerzewski and Tomasz Olkiewicz, while the wider team will comprise a total of six partners, including four from Polish accountancy firm MDDP, as well as 24 lawyers and four business support staff, according to a statement. Most of the new team join from MDDP, while the rest arrive from a crop of local law firms.

White & Case opens office in Luxembourg; adds Arnaud Cagi-Nicolau as a partner

Global law firm White & Case LLP has announced the formal opening of an office in Luxembourg and the expansion of its Global Mergers & Acquisitions Practice with the addition of Arnaud Cagi-Nicolau as a partner in Luxembourg.

No5 Barristers Chambers relocates to Savoy Court

Barristers at one of the UK’s largest chambers will be able to hot-desk at No5’s new Savoy office, as its Salisbury Court base faces demolition.

Jenner & Block Takes More London Office Space as it Plots Further Growth

The firm has signed a lease to move from its existing space at Tower 42 to 13,000 square feet of offices at 10 Exchange Square in Broadgate.



Reed Smith PEP jumps to $1.7m after double-digit growth

Turnover increased nearly 10% in 2021, hitting $1.44bn, while PEP rose 13% to $1.7m.

Shakespeare Martineau launches Scottish training contract

The firm is currently taking applications for two trainee positions in its Glasgow office, one to start later in 2022 and one in 2024. The bulk of the training contracts will be in the commercial property group. They will earn £23,000 in their first year and £26,000 in the second year.

Cooley Revenues Approach $2B in a Major Growth Year

Cooley’s revenue climbed 28% to reach $1.97bn, while the PEP rose 27.9% to hit $4.06m.

Technology & Innovation:

RPC offloads insurance software business RPC Tyche to Aon

Top 40 UK law firm RPC has sold its global insurance software business RPC Tyche to Aon, exiting the company it jointly owned with software and consultancy firm Marriott Sinclair.

“Oligarchs can add privacy to their defence toolbox”: Reaction to the Bloomberg decision

Last month the Supreme Court decided to dismiss Bloomberg’s appeal against a claim brought over the misuse of private information. The case concerned an article about businessman ZXC, who argued that a story about his being under criminal investigation was an invasion of his privacy.


Diversity & Inclusion:

Bird & Bird extends working from home to students

From this summer, students on Bird & Bird’s vacation scheme will be asked to work at least one day a week from home as the firm looks to make elements of remote learning introduced during the pandemic permanent.

Shout when you’re leaving

A senior associate surmised the mood in March 2021 by writing, “The best help would really be ‘role-model’ setting by people within the firm that childcare responsibilities take precedence to a reasonable degree over work, rather than vice versa. Some partners are good about this but the firm isn’t that great at proactively promoting this culture I think for fear that it will be seen as overriding ‘clients come first’, which for any sensible parent isn’t right – it should usually be ‘kids come first’.”

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