Weekly Update – 5th of February 2024

Moves:

UK & Ireland

Ashurst, Sidley Relocate Top Partners to London to Target Fast Growing Industries

It occurs as businesses allocate more and more resources to the quickly expanding fields of private finance and technology.

Paul Weiss Lands Linklaters Partner as Head of European Public M&A in London

With high-profile hires in London, the company is expanding its corporate practice and this time it went after talent at a UK firm.

Milbank Leaders Praise Non-Equity Partnership Tier Amid London Growth

In an interview with Law.com International, London co-managing partner Andrej Wolf is reported as saying that the firm’s famously high NQ pay is “indirectly demanded” by clients.

Kirkland & Ellis Senior London Tax Partner Exits

The resignation comes after a turbulent time at Kirkland during which two lateral hires were added to the tax group late last year in addition to exits.

Gowling WLG names asset management head next UK chair

Emma Pioli, the head of asset management and a real estate partner at the Anglo-Canadian legal firm Gowling WLG, will take over as chair of the UK LLP.

UK disputes firm launches international arbitration practice

London disputes-focused firm Rosenblatt has launched an international arbitration practice with the hire of co-heads Sara Paradisi from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Leonardo Carpentieri from LMS Legal.

 

EMEA

Nikki Smythe second HSF partner to leave for Clifford Chance in recent months.

In recent months, the company has actively pursued employment in Germany, bringing on corporate laterals from Clifford Chance among others.

HFW Brings Aboard 11-Strong Ince Greece Shipping Team

Since the beginning of the 2023 financial year the firm has hired 30 partners.

Cohen & Gresser Adds Venture Capital Team in Paris

The litigation-focused business is able to recover and grow following many losses in the French capital, thanks to the recruitment of a three-lawyer, partner-led team from a French boutique.

Fieldfisher launches Amsterdam practice

Marc Krestin, a new partner at Fieldfisher and a former co-head of arbitration at environmental law firm Pogust Goodhead, has established an international arbitration practice based in Amsterdam.

 

APAC

Fund Management Leader Joins Norton Rose Fulbright in Sydney

Liz Hastilow has arrived to Norton Rose from First Sentire Investors.

KWM Adds Former Shearman Partner to Singapore, Promotes Two to Partnership in Asia

Gary Hamp was previously a partner at Shearman & Sterling, Latham & Watkins and Hogan Lovells.

White & Case Japan Team Walks to Greenberg Traurig

Greenberg has made a clear effort to expand its real estate and corporate practices. Meanwhile, White & Case faced a few departures in Tokyo last year.

Finance Partner Leaves HSF to Join Clifford Chance in Sydney

Nikki Smythe is the second HSF partner to depart for Clifford Chance in recent months.

NRF Hires Regulatory and Disputes Partner in Melbourne

Kimberley MacKay is now the second partner hire for Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia in the last week.

Bird & Bird Hires Partner From Defunct Hong Kong Office of Winston & Strawn

Winston Singapore Movements: More Partners Leave Big Law for Own Venture; TSMP, HSF Make New Appointments& Strawn announced last year that it would cease operations in Hong Kong in February.

Singapore Movements: More Partners Leave Big Law for Own Venture; TSMP, HSF Make New Appointments

Justin Choo has departed from Bird & Bird in order to establish his own shop in Singapore, meanwhile HSF and TSMP are making high level appointments in the city-state.

Two More Technology Partners Leave Norton Rose Fulbright for A&O

Four technology partners have left for the magic circle firm in recent months.

NRF Hires Regulatory and Disputes Partner in Melbourne

Kimberley MacKay is the second Australian partner hire for Norton Rose Fulbright this week.

 

The Americas

Attorneys ‘On the Move’: Paul Weiss Adds Capital Markets Partner, Employment Practice Partner Joins Covington

This article is filled with this news as well as other announcements of recent hirings and promotions of New York attorneys.

Kirkland Lures Antitrust Partners From Cravath, King & Spalding

This is the third Cravath partner exit this month, it seems that the firm’s top competitors are continuing to recruit from the firm.

Associate Finally Joins Abraham Watkins, 5 Years After His Move Was Blocked by a Client

Efraim Gonzalez Jr. was prohibited from moving to Houston plaintiff’s firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in 2018 because USA Gymnastics, a client of his former firm, refused to waive a conflict of interest.

FisherBroyles Picks Up IP Lawyers in LA, Litigator in Chicago

Recently, FisherBroyles grew by adding a litigator in Chicago and a partner in Los Angeles dedicated to intellectual property law.

Alston & Bird Expands West Coast IP Practice, Adding Partner From Haynes and Boone

Theresa Conduah is now the fourth IP partner in the 100-lawyer Los Angeles office of Alston & Bird.

Southeast Law Firm Creates 2 New C-Suite Roles as Firm Charts Growth

Am Law 200 firm Moore & Van Allen has split its highest-ranking administrative job, hiring a former Proskauer Rose staffer for one of the two new C-suite roles.

Willkie Energy Deals Partner Returns to McGuireWoods in Houston

Jay Hughes, who was a co-chair of the power and renewable energy practice at Willkie Farr & Gallagher since he joined in 2020, has returned to McGuireWoods as a partner in Houston, where he once led the office.

Greenberg Traurig Picks Up Former Ballard Spahr Fintech Co-Lead, Expanding its Financial Regulatory Team

Regarding her jump to the Miami born firm, incoming Greenberg Traurig shareholder Lisa Lanham said. “A lot of fintech’s are either starting themselves in Florida or moving from San Francisco to go to Florida, so it was definitely an intentional move,”.

Connecticut Movers: Partners Elected at 4 CT Firms

Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey, Katz & McGrath, Louden, Brown Rudnick and Whitman Breed all announce elevations.

Paul Hastings Investment Management Partner Rejoins Akin in New York

Ira Kustin, who returned to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld on Thursday as an investment management partner in New York, is the fourth Big Law partner in that practice to make the move to Akin in the last few months.

Clifford Chance Grows LatAm Team with Hire of Corporate M&A Counsel in Houston

This article also contains news from Munsch Hardt, Spencer Fane, and McDermott Will & Emery.

Midsize Moves: Balch & Bingham Hires Williams Mullen Partner, Neal Gerber Adds Robbins DiMonte Partner

Neal Gerber Eisenberg announced the addition of Jonathan Ksiazek as a partner in the labour and employment practice area; Balch & Bingham announced the appointment of Liz Williamson as a partner in the environmental and natural resources practice in the Washington, D.C. office.

Barnes & Thornburg Adds 4-Lawyer Finance Team From Morris Manning

John T.L. Koenig, managing partner of the Atlanta office stated that “their skill sets will no doubt be in demand as the business community in the Atlanta area continues to grow and thrive”.

Arnold & Porter Lures 7-Lawyer Team From BCLP Across Offices

Chair Richard Alexander stated that It’s been a firm priority for Arnold & Porter to expand its core regulatory, litigation and transactional offerings across offices.

 

In-House

Tesla Rival Taps Mercedes-Benz GC for Top Lawyer Job

Matt Everitt the new legal chief has been reported as saying “Lucid’s products set an incredibly high bar for automotive companies, and I’m energized to join at a time when the company is poised to expand further”.

Senior American Airlines Attorney Lands Back at Kimberly-Clark, This Time as GC

Grant McGee became the consumer products giant’s legal chief when an experienced lawyer at Kimberly-Clark was promoted.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals Taps Former Pfizer Attorney as CLO

The only firm with a Parkinson’s hallucination treatment licensed by the Food and Drug Administration is under new legal leadership, thanks to Jennifer Rhodes.

20-Year Military Lawyer Takes Legal Reins of Storied R&D Agency DARPA

In a LinkedIn announcement, Candi Alfred stated, “It really is an amazing organization.”

Former White House Counsel Rejoins Gibson Dunn

Stuart Delery left the firm to join the Biden administration in early 2021.

Neiman Marcus Promotes Deputy GC to Legal Chief

Tom Mattei is taking the legal reigns of the luxury department store chain, this is his second legal chief role.

 

Promotions & Appointments:

Debevoise Lands New National Security Practice Co-Head as Firm Eyes M&A Uptick

Richard Sofield is arriving from Vinson & Elkins and he was previously a senior DOJ attorney. He is now looking to help Debevoise in CFIUS matters, as national security issues bubble up in deal work.

People in the News—Jan. 30, 2024—Marshall Dennehey

Mohamed N. Bakry a shareholder in Marshall Dennehey’s Philadelphia office, has been appointed as president of the Lawyers Club of Philadelphia.

Eckert Seamans Brings On First COO in 10 Years

Arriving from DLA Piper is Eddie Raychaudhuri, who served as a practice group director during his time there.

On the Move: Ogletree Elevates Washko to Managing Shareholder, Two Firms Add Lateral Partners

Troutman Pepper and Nelson Mullins have added lateral partners, also Liz Washko is succeeding Matt Keen as managing shareholder at Ogletree.

With New CEO Starting This Week, Husch Announces New Chair-Elect as Well

Joe Glynias, St. Louis-based labour and employment partner will step in to Catherine Hanaway’s position from the beginning of April.

Jones Day Appoints New Partner-in-Charge of Mexico City Office

While Manuel Romano will continue to work with clients in the firm’s financial markets business, tax partner Rodrigo Gómez Ballina assumes legal leadership.

Pinsent Masons appoints Robert Dever to lead tax practice in Dublin

Pinsent Masons has hired tax partner Robert Dever to lead and develop its tax law practice in Dublin and bolster its European transactional services group.

Former Bumble Legal Chief Takes CLO Posts at 2 NYC Public Companies

As the Dolan family looks to expand MSG Entertainment and a subsidiary that just constructed a $2.3 billion arena in Las Vegas, Laura Franco is emerging as a major executive.

The Current (and Future) State of AI in Legal Finance

In this piece, Burford Capital’s David Perla explores the application and future prospects of artificial intelligence in legal financing, which is the activity of offering capital and support for lawsuits and arbitration awards. He specifically looks at how AI is used to source investments, decide which investments to make, and forecast results after investments are made.

Double partner appointment at RDJ

Louise Boughton and Sarah Slevin have been named as partners by RDJ in all corporate, commercial, and dispute resolution disciplines.

McCann FitzGerald appoints Iain Ferguson as head of investment management group

Iain Ferguson, a partner at McCann FitzGerald, has been named head of the firm’s investment management group (IMG).

 

Mergers & Alliances:

Fennemore Acquires San Diego Firm, Solidifying West Coast Presence

The day the business closes another merger with a Seattle-based firm, it will also welcome the 21 attorneys who once made up Sullivan Hill.

Fisher Phillips Acquires Legal Tech Startup, Investing Further Into Tools for HR

Jonathan Crook, Fisher Phillips partner and founder of the startup stated that. “It fits with this idea of giving companies and HR teams sort of an on-demand resource that they have with us”.

Montreal Moves: KPMG Acquires 10-Lawyer Firm in Montreal, DLA Piper Hires Real Estate Litigation Partner

The Big Four’s legal presence in the French-speaking province of Canada is enhanced by Sweibel Novek Rabbat’s competence in tax, estates, and trust services.

 

Office Openings & Closing:

The firm continues to be bullish on restructuring, almost two years after its raid of Stroock.

Paul Hastings Continues Building its Restructuring Practice with new hires for Kirkland.

PA-Based Chartwell Law Opens Offices in Austin, Dallas

Despite being interested in the Texas market for some time, Chartwell law opened in Austin and Dallas, because they hired four litigation and coverage lawyers from Disiere, Martin, Jefferson & Wisdom.

Selendy Gay’s David Elsberg, Quinn Emanuel Partners To Launch New Litigation Boutique

Elsberg Baker & Maruri will open in February with a roster of “aggressive, first-chair” trial lawyers, according to senior partner David Elsberg.

Ashurst Expands Alternative Services Division with Poland Office Launch

Ashurst Advance is collaborating with Elevate, a worldwide ALSP with headquarters in Los Angeles, to create a new office in Krakow.

Skadden’s Elizabeth Robertson Launches Business Crime Boutique

The high-profile white-collar partner, who left Skadden in December, talks with Law.com International about her new venture.

 

Financials:

‘An Era of Heightened Risk’: Class Action Onslaught Shows No Signs of Abating

According to a report by the law firm Duane Morris, Mega-settlements and high class-certification rates likely will “incentivize the plaintiffs’ class action bar to be equally if not more aggressive with their case filings and settlement positions in 2024”.

Milbank’s Revenue Jumps 18% as Profits Soar 19% and Nonequity Tier Grows

The firm’s 18.6% increase in PEP to $5.114 million occurred simultaneously as Milbank saw a 51% expansion in its nonequity tier.

Big Law Rates Continue Rising, But Trail 2023 Increases So Far

According to bankruptcy records, the average Am Law 50 firm increased its rates by 8% to 10% in 2024.

Aggressive Rate Hikes, Strong 4th Quarter Collections Drive 2023 Revenue Growth for Phila. Firms

The six Philadelphia-based firms surveyed by Wells Fargo together increased revenues by 4.7%, the is less than the nationwide average of 6.0%.

Energy Sector Work Led to Higher-Than-Average Revenue Jump for Homegrown Texas Law Firms Last Year

Based on certain financial indicators, a group of domestic Texas firms outperformed the industry average in 2023, according to a Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group year-end study.

White & Case latest to raise pay for London lawyers

The newest American law firm to increase junior attorneys’ compensation in London is White & Case.

 

Technology & Innovation:

We Asked Every Am Law 100 Law Firm How They’re Using Gen AI. Here’s What We Learned

Using the much-discussed technology, at least 41 of the highest-earning law firms in the United States are investigating potential in both the legal and corporate domains.

Lawyers Call 5th Circuit AI Proposal Vague, Potential Threat to Work-Product Privilege

The appellate court would mandate that lawyers who employed artificial intelligence (AI) in the preparation of a document attest to the fact that all citations, legal analysis, and other language have “been reviewed for accuracy and approved by a human.”

1 in 4 Organizations Are Banning Gen AI for Now, Fearing Risks

Cisco Chief Legal Officer Dev Stahlkopf has been reported as saying that “the risks of AI are real, but they are manageable when thoughtful governance practices are in place as enablers, not obstacles, to responsible innovation,”.

The Financial and Cultural Costs in Providing Legal Tech Solutions to Clients

Experts from Paul Hastings, Husch Blackwell, Redgrave, and other firms spoke on the cultural costs of legal IT teams that also cultivate client relationships, as well as whether businesses should build or acquire.

‘Late Adopters’ or ‘Cautious Optimism’: Law Firm Partners Share Divergent Approaches to Gen AI

A Legalweek panel highlighted the lack of agreement surrounding how prominent law firms should be approaching the emerging technology.

Generating Buzz: Judicial Scrutiny of AI Use and Its Impact on the Future of Litigation

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the legal sector by automating and improving research, expediting the document review process, and even creating papers. But there are drawbacks to this revolutionary capacity as well.

 

Diversity & Inclusion:

2023: A Landmark Year in LGBTQ+ Rights—Legal Triumphs and Political Challenges

Looking toward 2024, there is a sense of renewed optimism, carrying forward the lessons and victories of the past year, ready to build a more inclusive and equitable society.

Alston’s Finance Group Sees Success, in Both Revenue and Diversity

Karen Gelernt and her successors in the Alston group are among the few female leaders of a structured finance practice in Big Law.

West Point Defends Race-Conscious Admissions Policy to Supreme Court

U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote “A lack of diversity in leadership can jeopardize the Army’s ability to win wars,”.

17 of the Top 20 Law Schools Have More Women Enrolled

The Enjuris report states that “The decline in male enrolment and the increasing number of students who choose not to disclose their gender present new dimensions in the evolving narrative of gender diversity in legal education”.

 

Market Commentary:

What’s in a Name? Law Firms Rebrand HR to ‘People Operations’

The transition from HR language to “talent development” has mostly taken place at large law firms, where positions like chief people officer and chief talent officer are common and are slowly infiltrating the midsize firm market. Experts claim that the fierce competition for skilled individuals in the legal field is linked to this development.

CLO Workloads Swell, as Duties Expand Beyond Legal

Veta T. Richardson, CEO of the Association of Corporate Counsel said that “Squeezing general counsel resources while expanding their remit is unlikely to be sustainable for the long term”.

After Moderate Revenue Gains, Law Firms Plan for Growth in Both Deals and Litigation

Wells Fargo’s Owen Burman said, “The mindset is toward growth as opposed to cutting, and that’s a change over the last 18 months,”.

In-House Lawyers Say AI Well-Suited for Some Tasks, Dangerous for Others

One participant in a newly released survey of general counsels stated that “I am … more likely to trust the use of [AI] by someone who is more seasoned because they have the experience to know whether it is a legitimate response”.

China’s Property Crisis Marks Sidley’s Time in the Sun, But Will It Shake Up the Playing Field?

Apart from the property crisis in China, there hasn’t been much notable drama occurring in Asia regarding restructuring. However, how will competing companies fare now that Sidley Austin has monopolized the China real estate market?

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