Weekly Update – 3rd of June 2024

Moves:

UK & Ireland

Clifford Chance further strengthens Global Antitrust team with hire of Michael Grenfell

As the international legal firm Clifford Chance expands its capabilities in the technology, financial services, consumer goods, and healthcare sectors, it has been announced that Michael Grenfell will join the company as a Partner in its Global Antitrust Group, based in London.

Pillsbury Hires Trade Partner from South Korean Big Six Firm for London Boost

Sungbum Lee, who spent more than ten years working for Yoon & Yang in South Korea, will be headquartered in Pillsbury’s expanding London office, which moved to 100 Bishopsgate recently.

Clifford Chance Gains 2 Laterals in London, UAE

The former executive director of enforcement at the Competition and Markets Authority, Michael Grenfell, is joining Clifford Chance after over eight years at the government body and Lynn Ammar, who first made partner in 2022, joins after over 12 years at Cleary in the UAE.

Seladore Legal taps BonelliErede for international arbitration partner

By adding Laurence Shore to the BonelliErede team as an international arbitration partner, Seladore Legal has greatly expanded their firm’s arbitration capabilities.

 

EMEA

CDH South Africa appoints respected lawyer to head up its Business Rescue, Restructuring & Insolvency sector

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH), a leading corporate and commercial law firm, announced the appointment of Chambers rated Restructuring and Insolvency lawyer, Nastascha Harduth as Head of their Business Rescue, Restructuring & Insolvency sector. Nastascha’s interest lies in complex restructuring and insolvency mandates, as well as corporate and commercial dispute resolution, litigation, and debt recovery.

Africa Moves: CDH Taps Rival for Insolvency & Restructuring Head; CMS Hires From Covington

Attorney and arbitrator Abdel Aziz Hassouba has advised various Egyptian and non-Egyptian businesses on corporate and regulatory concerns, as well as complex and high-value conflicts, for more than forty years.

Kirkland & Ellis adds restructuring muscle in Riyadh with lawyer relocation from London

Leading the financial restructuring and capital solutions practice is Husni Almousli, who relocated across offices.

CMS taps Clyde & Co for Saudi corporate head

Rizwan Osman is joining the firm’s Riyadh office from Clyde & Co, where he spent over 17 years.

Al Tamimi adds two UAE partners, including ex-Eversheds Dubai MP

Henry Storrar has joined the firm’s Abu Dhabi office as a corporate partner, and Paul Taylor has joined the Dubai office as a partner and regional head of arbitration.

 

APAC

SG: Amazon Energy Counsel returns to Bih Li & Lee

Marina Chua, an energy specialist, has rejoined the Singaporean boutique law firm Bih Li & Lee as a partner. Previously, she worked as corporate counsel in the energy section of Amazon Web Services.

Indonesia’s FKNK adds Cross-Border M&A Partner

With the appointment of partner Gladi Febri Argo, who was previously the managing partner at the Indonesian boutique WilberForce Argo, a company he co-founded in 2012, Indonesia’s FKNK Law Firm has strengthened its cross-border investment offering.

Malaysia’s RDS Grows Disputes Offering with Partner Duo

The Malaysian legal firm Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership (RDS) has expanded its partnership ranks by appointing Vinayak Sri Ram to its disputes practice and Steven Perian to lead its economic crimes, fraud, and anti-money laundering practice.

Malaysia’s Lee Hishammuddin Launches White-Collar Practice with New Hire

At a time when white-collar employment in Southeast Asia is still on the increase, partner Tiara Katrina Fuad of the Malaysian law firm Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill has established a white-collar crime practice.

 

The Americas

Former GE Legal Chief to Join Paul Weiss

Working with Scott Barshay, the head of the company’s Corporate Department, was cited by Michael Holston as one of Paul Weiss’s main attractions. According to Holston, “Scott is the best M&A lawyer in the world.”

Baker McKenzie’s Transactional Hiring Spree Continues With O’Melveny M&A Head

Tobias Knapp spoke about how his time at O’Melveny during the firm’s merger negotiations with a “major U.K. Magic Circle firm” influenced his desire to work for a company that had the global reach of Baker McKenzie.

Sidley Hires Partner in Houston Who Led Akin’s US Oil and Gas Practice

Stephen Boone Jr., formerly of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, has joined Sidley Austin as a partner in the energy, transportation, and infrastructure division.

Flower-Delivery Service FTD Hires Lawyer With Eclectic Background as GC

Julian Swearengin, an Illinois native who played football for the Michigan Wolverines, earned an MBA from Harvard, and most recently served as general counsel of The Drone Racing League, has taken over as the company’s legal director.

Blackstone Investment Director Joins Simpson Thacher

Christopher Evans was a managing director in Blackstone’s GP Stakes group, where he oversaw investments in minority stakes and provided business strategy advice to portfolio general partners.

Cooley Fortifies White-Collar Practice in Palo Alto With Elizabeth Holmes Prosecutor

For almost ten years, John Bostic worked as a federal prosecutor in Northern California, where he looked into and prosecuted cases involving Holmes and her co-leader of Theranos, Ramesh Balwani.

People in the News—May 29, 2024—Knox, Stradley Ronon

Brian M. Seelinger, who recently joined Knox Law, will concentrate his practice on business and tax, public finance, bonds, and employee benefits.

Stinson Welcomes M&A Partner to Dallas Office

John Willding has been welcomed to Stinson’s Dallas office. Willding is becoming a partner in the firm’s Corporate Finance Practice Group.

Intensifying Regulations Spur Greenberg Traurig to Eye Labor and Employment Expansion in Florida

After working for Jackson Lewis as the litigation manager of the Orlando office, Alicia Chiu, is joining the company.

People in the News—May 30, 2024—Barley Snyder

Kyle M. Kelly, an attorney, has joined Barley Snyder’s Lancaster office.

Alston & Bird Adds Patent Litigator to Los Angeles Office

The second partner to join the firm in Los Angeles this year is Erik Carlson, who comes from Baker & Hostetler, he will be working in the IP litigation department.

Attorneys ‘On the Move’: Paul, Weiss Hires M&A Partner From Kirkland; Davis+Gilbert Adds Veteran Tax Attorney

Chelsea Darnell is now a partner in Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison’s M&A practice. She previously worked for Kirkland & Ellis as a partner.

Nixon Peabody adds fund formation partner to East Coast Corporate practice

Ed Winters has become a partner in the corporate practice of the multinational legal firm. He joins the Private Equity & Investment Funds team at the company’s New York City headquarters.

Midsize Moves: Miller Nash Adds Special Counsel From Perkins Coie, Miller Canfield Hires Former Price Heneveld Partner

Miller Nash received Nick Hesterberg as special counsel in the firm’s construction and insurance recovery team; Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone publicised that intellectual property attorney Gregory Lewis is joining the firm’s Grand Rapids, Michigan, office as a principal.

DLA Piper Hires Ex-SFO Division Head to Washington DC Office

Judy Krieg, a former head of the SFO’s division dedicated to fraud, bribery, and corruption, has joined DLA as a partner in the organization’s government enforcement and white collar crime practices. She previously worked at Fieldfisher for three years.

 

In house

Wendy’s Taps CLO to Lead Fast-Food Giant’s 33-Nation International Operations

For seventeen years, E.J. Wunsch worked with Procter & Gamble, where he acquired extensive global expertise. He was located in Singapore for four years, where he managed trademark and patent concerns throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Prologis’ 30-Year Legal Chief to Exit After Helping Build $100B Powerhouse

Since Edward Nekritz joined the company in 1995 as its first in-house attorney, the industrial real estate developer’s market value has increased by more than 20 times.

E-Discovery Services Company Repario Taps Former UnitedLex VP as New GC

Kelly’s appointment was described as a “strategic move” by Repario CEO Dave Deppe.

Krispy Kreme Hires CLO With Sweet-Treat Experience

Atiba Adams, a former executive in legal positions at Pfizer, Mars, and Bausch + Lomb, will take over as the doughnut vendor’s legal director.

Nadine Menendez Finds New Counsel as Ex-Attorneys Withdraw Over Conflict

Barry Coburn, a veteran criminal defence lawyer of Coburn, Greenbaum & Eisenstein, a firm with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is Menendez’s new attorney.

Elon Musk’s AI start-up hires former Airbus innovation centre GC as first legal chief

Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence business xAI has appointed Robert Keele as its first legal head to help steer the company’s expansion efforts.

Paul Weiss adds former General Electric legal chief

Michael Holston has joined after collaborating with Paul Weiss on GE’s division into distinct businesses.

 

Team Moves

Kirkland Group, Seeking Brand Recognition in ‘Silicon Slope,’ Moves to Wilson Sonsini

New partner Jess Krannich, who previously helped launch Kirkland’s presence in the city said “For Utah’s economy and the kinds of companies that are becoming really successful here, Wilson probably has the strongest legal brand of any law firm”.

Taft Stettinius & Hollister Continues Expansion With 6 Lawyers From Ice Miller

Taft chair and managing partner Robert Hicks said, “We’re trying to become one of the dominant firms in the middle market in the United States, and today we’re well on our way.”

Miller Thomson Grows by 5, Including 3 From Norton Rose in Vancouver

Miller Thomson’s charitable and nonprofit organizations will include associate Daniel Szeto, partners Michael Blatchford and Bryan Millman, and Vancouver partner Michael Blatchford. Furthermore, real estate attorneys Michael Clifton and Mark Kok are closing their boutique practice and joining the firm’s condominium and strata department, in the expanding Ontario cities of Waterloo and London.

DLA Piper Recruits 3-Person Compliance Team in Chile

Along with her companions Jaime Viveros and Francisca Macchiavello, partner Francisca Franzani joins from Albagli Zaliasnik, where she held the position of director of compliance.

 

Promotions & Appointments:

People in the News—May 28, 2024—Margolis Edelstein, K&L Gates

Elsbeth Koefer was promoted to partner in the firm’s casualty litigation practice, according to Margolis Edelstein.

Borden Ladner Gervais Appoints First Canadian Law Firm Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer

Lisa Chamandy, who has prior experience as the firm’s chief knowledge and innovation officer, will lead the firm’s AI strategy.

Taylor Wessing UK Managing Partner Re-Elected For Third Term

The third term of Shane Gleghorn begins in October 2024 and ends in October 2027.

McCann FitzGerald LLP announces 11 new partners

With the appointment of 11 new partners, effective June 1st, McCann FitzGerald LLP announced that this year’s cohort is their largest-ever number of partner promotions, increasing the firm’s overall partner count to 88.

Appointments at Holmes O’Malley Sexton

Holmes O’Malley Sexton LLP has announced a number of promotions and appointments including Marguerite Seymour who has been made counsel within their commercial litigation department.

 

Mergers & Alliances:

‘No Better Than a Racket’—Seventh Circuit Critical of Mootness Fees for Merger Disclosures

Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote the opinion for a two-judge panel that rejected these fee agreements and gave shareholders and federal courts the authority to examine these fees going forward because he was fed up with the “federal practice” of plaintiff’s attorneys demanding fees in disclosure cases without providing stockholders with any real benefit.

New vLex Partnership Allows iManage to Integrate with Vincent AI, Docket Alarm

With the first two announced integrations, users may automatically add docket information to iManage via vLex Docket Alarm and access information that has been curated in iManage Insight+ via the vLex Vincent AI platform.

ASU Law, Diné College Launch Joint Legal Education Program With Navajo Nation

In a statement, ASU Law Dean Stacy Leeds said, “This marks a milestone in reimagining legal education.”

American Arbitration Association Acquires ODR.com Parent Company, Planning AI-Powered Expansion

Through the acquisition, the parent company of ODR.com will have access to the AAA’s resources to develop more sophisticated AI-powered ADR solutions and to quickly grow the AAA’s service and geographic reach.

Wachtell, Kirkland Advising on Pending $22.5B Texas Energy Acquisition

ConocoPhillips, which turned to Kirkland & Ellis, is being represented by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in its impending acquisition of Marathon Oil Corp.

KKR Fund Acquires Majority Stake in CLM Provider Agiloft

As part of the agreement, JMI Equity, a growth equity firm that specializes in funding software firms, will become a new investor in the business, and FTV Capital will increase its existing position in it.

Ashurst advises  J.P. Morgan Cazenove on £3.5 billion  takeover of Royal Mail owner

Ashurst, a global legal practice, is providing J.P. Morgan Cazenove with advice regarding EP UK Bidco Limited’s (Bidco) acquisition of International Distributions Services plc (IDS). The recently established Bidco is indirectly owned by J&T Capital Partners, a.s. and EP Corporate Group, a.s. (J&T). J.P. Morgan Cazenove serves as EP, J&T, and Bidco’s financial advisor.

India’s Luthra and Luthra Merges with Litigation Chambers Aishwarya AnanthKumar

After merging with Aishwarya Ananth Kumar and Partners (AAK Partners), a litigation chamber located in Bengaluru, Luthra and Luthra Law Offices now has four more litigators in its roster.

3 Firms Lead as Coventry Building Society Acquires Co-operative Bank

Paul Hastings, Freshfields and Addleshaw Goddard are advising on the Coventry Building Society’s £780 million acquisition of the Co-operative Bank, this to many is a sign that UK M&A is making a resurgence.

3 US Firms Score Roles as Energy Capital Partners Backs $2.6B Atlantica Acquisition

Latham & Watkins, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Weil Gotshal & Manges are advising on the $2.6 billion acquisition of the London-headquartered infrastructure company Atlantica by a U.S. private equity consortium headed by Energy Capital Partners.

US Duo Lead on Merck’s $3B Acquisition of UK Eye Drug Company

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have taken on lead roles in New Jersey-headquartered pharmaceutical group Merck & Co’s $3 billion acquisition of Eyebiotech, an ophthalmology-focused drug development company in the U.K.

Kirkland, N&A, NO&T, MHM Advise On $835 Mln Carlyle Offer for KFC Japan

Crispy Holdings, a structure that is fully owned by Carlyle Group, is being advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Nishimura & Asahi regarding a 135 billion yen ($863 million) tender offer for shares of Tokyo-listed KFC Holdings Japan.

 

Office Openings & Closing:

Eyeing Boston Launch, Wiggin and Dana Recruits Corporate Partner From Am Law 200 Firm

Wiggin will employ three Boston-based attorneys when the company launches, one of whom is a former principal of Choate Hall & Stewart.

Cozen O’Connor, Blank Rome Expand in Boston

Am Law 100 heavyweights Blank Rome and Cozen O’Connor both announced attorney additions with the intention of strengthening their positions in the Boston area. These hires demonstrate how Philadelphia-founded firms are viewing the city as a growth potential.

Going to Brick and Mortar, Husch Blackwell Announces Nashville Opening

At times clients prefer in-person collaboration, CEO Jamie Lawless stated: “It’s an option our clients appreciate having when it makes sense to be together in that capacity.”

National Law Firms Keep Shipping Up to Boston, Eyeing Well-Connected Local Dealmakers

Firms such as Covington & Burling, Blank Rome and Paul Hastings are heading in, and native firms like Choate, Hall & Stewart, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo and Ropes & Gray are targets.

Greenberg Traurig Khalid Al-Thebity Joins International Law Firms in Saudi Arabia

Greenberg Traurig Khalid Al-Thebity has officially been licensed as a Regional Headquarters Programme (RHQ) company in Saudi Arabia, they are the fourth international firm to set up in the kingdom under the programme.

Ex-Baker McKenzie UAE Partner Firm Launches in Russia

After its founder partner, Habib Al Mulla, became involved in an online homophobic scandal, the firm was dropped by Baker McKenzie. Six months after its debut in Istanbul, it opens its second office.

Australia’s Gilbert + Tobin Advises in $1.5 Billion Mexican Food IPO

Guzman y Gomez (GYG), a Mexican restaurant business, is receiving legal advice from Australian corporate law firm Gilbert + Tobin about its proposed $1.5 billion IPO.

 

Financials:

Freeman Mathis & Gary Saw Revenue, Profits Rise Alongside Head Count in 2023

Managing Partner Ben Mathis Jr said, “Gross revenue increases don’t tell me anything other than they reflect that we’re bigger than we were last year”.

‘Slightly alarming’ – Clifford Chance, Linklaters, A&O Shearman match Freshfields’ NQ pay hike

Joining Linklaters this week, Clifford Chance and A&O Shearman matched Freshfields’ NQ pay increase from £125,000 to £150,000, making Slaughter and May the only Magic Circle firm that is still paying the lower amount.

Largest Law Firms Increase Partner Pay Spread, as Comp Models Hit ‘Inflection Point’

The Am Law 100 increased its average equity partner pay spread from 9.8-to-1 in 2022 to 10.3-to-1 in 2023, this is based on a sample of firms’ data.

Brazil’s Mattos Filho Posts Steady Revenue in 2023

They are one of the few full-service legal practices in Latin America to release financial information, the full-service company reported that its total income increased marginally to 1.4 billion reals ($269 million) from 1.36 billion reals the previous year.

Axiom Ince collapse fuels threefold hike in compensation fund levy

According to the plans for 2024–2050, law firms would contribute £2,220 to the fund, the profession’s insurer of last resort, a 233% increase from £660, and individual solicitors’ payments would grow by 200% from £30 to £90. No matter their size, all businesses pay the same amount.

Pinsent Masons joins junior salary war, ups NQ pay to £97k

London NQs were previously paid £92k by the company, which means they are eligible for a 5% raise. The new fee puts the company ahead of several competitors, including Bird & Bird, Eversheds Sutherland, Addleshaw Goddard, HFW, and Fieldfisher, who are giving out £95k, according to data from Legal Cheek.

 

Technology & Innovation:

A&O Shearman’s Fuse Incubator Announces 8th Cohort of Startups

This year’s Fuse cohort includes numerous blockchain-based startups in addition to legal tech startups.

Alvarez & Marsal Unveils New AI-Powered Tool for Lawyers and Investigators

The multinational professional services company claims that its Chat View solution would lighten the burden on attorneys and investigators who must sift through voluminous chat communications in order to comply with regulatory standards.

Thomson Reuters Unveils CoCounsel Drafting, Linked to Practical Law for Transactional Work

The transactional tool, which is now in limited beta, should become freely available in July. Later in the year, CoCounsel Drafting for litigation will be made available.

AI Is Our Friend: Using Advancements in Technology Ethically and Responsibly

Technology is here to stay and will continue to play an ever-larger role in the legal profession. However, it is crucial that lawyers understand how to responsibly embrace and use both current and emerging technologies without compromising their ethical and professional obligations.

SEC Ordered to Pay New York and Am Law 100 Firms $1.2M in Attorney, Receivership Fees

Two attorneys of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission resigned from their positions as a result of the litigation’s aftermath.

AI’s Threat to Innovation, Ideas Requires Strong Antitrust Oversight, Says DOJ’s Kanter

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jonathan Kanter said, “Effective antitrust enforcement often coincides with major industrial and technological change.”

Gartner Predicts Legal Tech Market Will Hit $50 Billion by 2027. Is That Realistic?

According to a recent Gartner estimate, there will be a sharp increase in legal tech spending in the coming years due to generative AI. However, experts doubt that technology can expand the industry that quickly and that widely.

AI Startups Rely on Tech Giants Even as They Fear Their Dominance, Complicating Antitrust Debate

Blanche Savary de Beauregard, general counsel at the AI startup Mistral said, “We need to partner with hyper-scalers for computing, for distribution, for almost everything. And if we cannot do that, there is a risk that we just do not exist”.

Alvarez & Marsal Unveils New AI-Powered Tool for Lawyers and Investigators

The multinational professional services company claims that its ChatView solution would lighten the burden of attorneys and investigators who must sift through voluminous chat communications in order to comply with regulatory standards.

 

Diversity & Inclusion:

Morris Nichols Attorney Speaks at Delaware Diversity Job Fair

Miranda Gilbert, an associate at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, spoke at a virtual conversation on the advantages of a career in Delaware on May 23 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The event was organized by the Delaware Diversity Job Fair (DDJF).

Lambda Legal Announces Kell Olson as the F. Curt Kirschner Strategist for LGBTQ+ Seniors

The Jones Day Foundation has awarded Kell Olson a $1 million grant to serve as the F. Curt Kirschner Strategist for LGBTQ+ Seniors, a role that focuses on issues affecting older LGBTQ+ persons.

 

Market Commentary:

A Sidley Austin Leader Discusses Overseeing 750-Plus Litigators While Having 5 Potential Trials on Her Docket

The case involved intricate and costly litigation that was successfully tried to verdict before Vice Chancellor Laster. The Delaware Supreme Court expeditiously heard arguments and rendered an affirmative decision in relation to the case.

Navigating the Global Employment Landscape: Strategies for In-House Legal Teams

Managing labour and employment issues across several jurisdictions poses a special set of challenges for businesses in an era of international corporate operations. The article can address the nuances of the world’s labour and employment laws and offer guidance to internal legal departments that are handling these challenges.

Finding a Firm that Really Is Easy to Do Business With

There exist legal businesses that go beyond the typical catchphrases and genuinely concentrate on your department’s and company’s requirements; however, how do you locate and keep these firms that are Easy to Do Business With (#ETDBW)?

Can Therapy Help My Law Practice?

Jennifer Kupferman discusses how therapy, with a focus on somatic therapy and EDMR, can assist lawyers bolster their confidence and develop their talents in this piece.

Kirkland Grows in Saudi Arabia Along With Client Demand and Maturing Market

The firm’s Riyadh office has about 13 lawyers, but given the kingdom’s increasing significance, a larger cohort is required.

Making Partner Isn’t What it Used to Be. So What are Young Lawyers in Asia Made Of?

The activities that generate actual income and profits, like closing deals and acquiring new clients, are still crucial. Aspiring partners now need to demonstrate that they are capable of much more.

South Africa’s Move Toward Liberalized Electricity Market Expected to Create Work for Law Firms

The Electricity Regulations Amendment Bill in South Africa modernizes the country’s electricity supply sector and brings the country one step closer to a liberalized electrical market. But is it strong enough to address the main problems?

What Is Driving the Demand for Competition Specialists in Africa?

There are now active competition regulators in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and other key African cities. Additionally, law firms are creating stand-alone competition practices that were non-existent ten years ago due to client demand for legal assistance.

Alternative Fee Arrangements Gaining Popularity in Australia Amid Economic Downturn

According to a survey by legal software company Litera, due to the challenging economic conditions, more than half of Australia’s law firms have modified their pricing models. An increasing number of alternative price arrangements are being used instead of billable hours. Approximately half of the firms have looked for ways to reduce expenses, 46% have raised their fees, and 88% use alternative fee arrangements for at least half of their work.

Kirkland Grows in Saudi Arabia Along With Client Demand and Maturing Market

The private equity specialized firm’s Riyadh branch is described as having about 13 lawyers, but Kamran S. Bajwa indicated that a larger cohort is required due to the kingdom’s expanding prominence. He continued by saying that although the company does not currently have plans to create operations in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, such as Abu Dhabi, the proper possibilities would be given careful thought.

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