Weekly Update – 5th June 2023

Moves:

UK & Ireland

Reed Smith Bolsters London Private Equity Team with Willkie Farr Partner

The hire follows Reed Smith’s addition of two private equity partners in Munich earlier this month. Francois Feuillat has joined the firm’s global corporate group.

EMEA

Portugal’s Telles Hires New EU and Competition Co-Head from Rival

Margarida Rosado da Fonseca has joined the law firm in Lisbon as a partner and co-head of the area after leading the same practice at CS’ Associados for more than three years as a counsel. The new Telles partner also led the EU and competition practice at DLA Piper in Lisbon from 2017 to 2019.

Paul Hastings Loses Paris Bankruptcy Team to Freshfields

The five-lawyer team is led by the same partner who joined Paul Hastings in 2020 to establish the firm’s insolvency practice in the French capital.

APAC

M&A Partner Neil Pathak Resigns from Australia’s Gilbert + Tobin

Highly regarded mergers and acquisitions partner Neil Pathak at Australian firm Gilbert +Tobin has resigned from the partnership. Neil Pathak is expected to join Ashurst.

Mishcon Steals Hong Kong Head and US Private Client Partner from Withers

With Wei Zhang’s departure, Withers divorce and family lawyer Jocelyn Tsao will be taking the reins as Hong Kong managing director.

Morgan Lewis Hires Stephenson Harwood’s Asia Private Equity Head in Singapore

George Cyriac joins the U.S. firm from Stephenson Harwood, where he was the head of the firm’s Indonesia practice and led its private equity practice in Asia.

Linklaters Hires Norton Rose Fulbright Singapore Disputes Partner

Andrew Battisson has spent the last five years working at Norton Rose Fulbright both in the Sydney and Singapore offices.

Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei Establishes TMT Practice With Partner Hire in Shanghai

Herbert Smith Freehills’ joint operation firm in China, Shanghai-based Kewei Law Firm, has added technology, media and telecommunications expertise with the hire of corporate partner Justina Zhang. This is the firm’s first partner hire since September 2021.

Akin Adds New Hong Kong Partner

Tarun Warriar joins the U.S. law firm from alternative investment firm Värde Partners, where he was a Hong Kong-based managing director.

Anjie’s Founding Partner Michael Gu Joins Hylands As Senior Partner In Shanghai

The senior partner hire comes less than four months after Hylands made its international debut with the establishment of an overseas office in San Francisco.

Mayer Brown Appoints New Asia Leader as Other Southeast Asian Firms Also Bulk Up

In Hong Kong, Mayer Brown has appointed Hong Kong partner Hannah Ha as chair of the firm’s Asia board, succeeding Hong Kong-based partner and head of its Asian employment and benefits group Duncan Abate, who has held the role since 2016.

Ashurst Hires Digital and Risk Advisory Partners in Australia

Anthony Lloyd joins from DLA Piper to become a partner in its digital economy practice in Sydney, while financial crime expert Steven Blackburn joins from casino operator Crown resorts to become a risk advisory partner in Melbourne.

The Americas

Linklaters Partner Jumps to McDermott As the US Firm Leans Into Structured Finance

Jonathan Ching said he decided to leave Linklaters after observing changes in the market that require more access to specialists in other practices than Linklaters could offer, as well as a larger presence in the United States.

Dentons Building Real Estate Bench Strength With New Partner in Montreal

Marie-Andrée Thibault is one of a number of Dentons’ hires across Canada and will lead the real estate group in the French-speaking city.

Covington Hires White House Environmental Director to Help Clients Achieve Decarbonization

Jayni Hein will serve as the co-chair of Covington’s newly launched carbon management and climate mitigation initiative, based out of San Francisco.

Gibson Dunn Hires O’Melveny Restructuring Co-Chair in New York

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher announced the hiring of partner Joseph Zujkowski, a bankruptcy lawyer joining the firm in New York after a decade at O’Melveny & Myers, where he most recently co-chaired that firm’s bankruptcy and restructuring practice.

Baker Botts Adds Houston PE Firm Exec as a Corporate Partner

Clay Brett, who had been general counsel at Millennial Energy Partners for the last two years after four years as a partner in the firm, said it was time to return to private practice.

Senior FDA Official Joins Morgan Lewis, as Biotech Client Demand Remains High

Maarika Kimbrell is joining Morgan Lewis as major federal legislation and ongoing regulatory changes have helped to drive client demand within the health care space.

Paul Hastings Hires Latham Entertainment Leader

Ken Deutsch brings a top-tier practice, which combined with the firm’s existing entertainment team, will “create a dynamic force across the entertainment and media landscape,” according to Bryan Lourd, co-chairman of Creative Artists Agency.

Amid Steady Demand in Antitrust, Sidley Austin Picks Up Weil Partner in DC

As heightened antitrust enforcement in the U.S. fuels client demand, Sidley Austin has brought on Carrie Mahan as a partner in the firm’s antitrust and consumer protection practice in Washington, D.C.

Alston Partner Duo Move to Bradley Arant, Attracted to ‘Core’ Construction Practice

New Bradley partner Deborah Cazan, who moved with John Spangler, said the firm’s large economic development team will benefit her practice “and that’s something we didn’t have at our prior firm.”

Linklaters Adds Litigation Partner

Linklaters has hired Robin Nunn as a partner in its litigation, arbitration and investigations group. She joins from Morgan Lewis, where she was co-leader of that firm’s banking industry initiative. She will be based in the firm’s New York and Washington, D.C. offices.

Weil Picks Up Simpson Thacher Energy and Infrastructure Partner in Houston

Chris Bennett’s arrival in Houston comes as Weil focuses on expanding its energy team.

Paul Hastings Hires Entertainment Litigator From Wilson Sonsini

Susan Leader, an entertainment litigator for the agency that represents Lizzo and Ellie Goulding, among others, has joined Paul Hastings.

In-House

AI Group Promoting Women, Fighting Gender Bias Names Legal Chief

Global nonprofit think tank Women in AI has added a new member to its management team, naming Silvia Carretta as chief legal officer.

Cano Health Hires Retired Weil Gotshal Star Amid Recovery Efforts

Frederick Green had been head of the transactions practice at Weil Gotshal before retiring last year, ending his 44-year career with the firm.

Prada Appoints New Chief Legal Officer

Francesca Secondari joined the luxury fashion house from an Italian law firm. She succeeds Cristina De Dona, who’d joined the company from The Hershey Co. in December 2021.

Promotions & Appointments:

Mayer Brown Appoints New Asia Head, Southeast Asian Firms Add to Bench

In Hong Kong, Mayer Brown has appointed Hong Kong partner Hannah Ha as chair of the firm’s Asia board, succeeding Hong Kong-based partner and head of its Asian employment and benefits group Duncan Abate, who has held the role since 2016.

Deloitte Legal Names Ex-A&O Peerpoint CEO as Next Global Leader

Richard Punt, formerly CEO of Allen & Overy’s flexible lawyering business Peerpoint, has been appointed as the global head of the Big Four accounting firm’s legal offering—effective Thursday.

Mergers & Alliances:

Atlantic Canadian Firm McInnes Cooper Grows Again With Cape Breton-Area Merger

Managing partner Kevin Kiley said the firm will continue its strategic growth plan with mergers and hiring new talent.

Office Openings & Closing:

Fieldfisher Moves into Austria with Vienna Launch

The firm has called Vienna a ‘strong commercial centre in Europe’ and an ‘important international arbitration hub’. The new office set to open in Vienna on June 1, according to a statement from the firm. For the launch, the firm has brought in a team led by Thomas Ruhm, who joins as office managing partner.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune Opens Second Office In Vietnam

This marks the firm’s second international office establishment in less than a year. Japan’s Big Four law firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune has opened an office in Hanoi, the firm’s second in Vietnam.

Dallas Trial Lawyer Dick Sayles Leaves Bradley Arant to Launch New Firm

Richard “Dick” Sayles, who joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in 2019 to help launch its Dallas office, has left for a solo practice where he will continue to try lawsuits.

Beijing’s Han Kun Launches Its First-Ever International Office—in Singapore

Beijing-based Han Kun Law Offices has become the latest law firm to break into the Singapore market, launching a new office in the city-state, according to the firm’s official invitation to its opening ceremony on June 15.

Financials:

Strapped Legal Departments Finding Savings by Shifting Litigation to Smaller Law Firms

“Clients are starting to understand that there are a lot of good attorneys out there that can provide lower-matter-value services at better prices,” said Ken Callander, principal at Value Strategies.

Technology & Innovation:

Legal Tech vs. the Billable Hour: Experts Weigh In

Few things symbolize the legal industry’s commitment to maintaining the status quo as much as the endurance of the billable hour.

Cyberattacks Are Accelerating With AI’s Help

“If you’re a bad guy and you’re not using ChatGPT or other LLMs to go and find vulnerabilities, you’re probably not doing your job as a bad guy,” said Scott Giordano, general counsel of Spirion.

Generative AI May Be the Future, But APIs Impact Profitability Today

One of the tools that law firms can use right now to impact firm profitability and protect against being unequipped when even more consequential evolutions of generative AI emerge in the future are plug-and-play APIs to get access to structured, normalized data in real time from external data sources.

Diversity & Inclusion:

Diversity Improving at Law Firms, but Forces Are Working Against Those Efforts

Diversity advancements face roadblocks amid anti-DEI laws and the possible end of affirmative action. Law firm diversity professionals are looking to defend and continue those gains.

Market Commentary:

In Battle for Billable Hours, Not Coming in Will Cost Some Associates Their Jobs

“Frankly, I do not give assignments to associates and junior partners who are not in the office at least 3 days a week,” wrote one Am Law 100 practice leader.

Why Is Big Law Growing When Demand Is Dropping?

Many firms are “relying on some natural attrition, and it’s not coming along as fast as they’d like,” Wells Fargo’s Owen Burman said.

General Counsel Are Becoming More Attractive Candidates for Board Seats

General counsel have been banging on the boardroom door for years, but the coveted seat at the table has long remained elusive. The tide may finally be turning as companies are forced to get creative about their board selections in the face of more regulatory scrutiny and disruptive technology.

Wiggin and Dana Launches Cannabis Practice Group

Led by corporate practice partner Jack H. Sousa, a member of the firm’s wiggin(x) team, the group will provide full-service corporate, transactional and regulatory support to clients in the cannabis industry. The team will include at least six attorneys, according to a press release.

Freshfields Pips Linklaters in Latest FTSE 100 Adviser Rankings

The rankings for 2023 Q2, compiled by Adviser Rankings, remain steady despite economic headwinds and industry change causing uncertainty.

Just How Much Will US-China Geopolitics Threaten Law Firms in Asia?

China’s former zero-COVID policy is still having lingering effects on its economy, the country’s housing boom is over, its shrinking population is becoming a serious problem, and its prosperous residents have spent the last two years offshoring their wealth to countries like Singapore and the U.K. But it is the decoupling of the world’s two largest economies that poses the biggest threat to law firms in Greater China, lawyers say.

Near-Shoring Push Promises Growth for Law Firms in Mexico

Global firms Baker McKenzie and Hogan Lovells are fielding tons of inquiries, although there’s plenty of inbound work to go around as manufacturing shifts from Asia back to North America.

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