UK & Ireland
Stewarts has lost two partners from its tax litigation and resolution practice to members of the Big Four. Lee Ellis has left the litigation boutique to join KPMG as a partner. Victor Cramer is also leaving the firm to join PwC as a director.
Cravath Swaine & Moore is set to launch an English Law offering in London, 50 years after it established a presence in the U.K capital, according to several people with knowledge of the situation. The firm is hiring a Shearman & Sterling finance team, led by partner duo Korey Fevzi and Philip Stopford, to lead the charge into English Law, according to three people with knowledge of the situation. The pair are joined by a counsel from Shearman’s London office, they added.
Pinsent Masons has hired an investor-state London arbitration partner from Jones Day. Sylvia Tonova joins Pinsents’ international arbitration practice after 10 years at Jones Day, where she became a partner in January 2017.
Amaia Rivas Kortazar is the former general counsel for the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring in Spain.
The new hire will expand Bowmans’ capacity in a growing East African market, said firm chairman and senior partner Ezra Davids.
Allen & Overy has appointed banking and finance partner to its Johannesburg office. Deborah Carmichael joins from South African-based ENSafrica, where she spent more than 12 years, prior to which she spent seven years at Deneys Reitz, which subsequently became Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa, she said in an interview with Law.com International.
Clyde & Co has added a corporate partner to its Saudi Arabia office. Mohammed Almarzouki will be based in the firm’s Riyadh office and joins Clyde & Co’s global corporate and advisory practice. He advises family businesses, investors, and corporations on M&A, among other things, according to Clydes’ statement.
K&L Gates has bolstered its real estate team with the hire of a partner from Australian firm Arnold Bloch Leibler, continuing a strong run of hires in Asia Pacific. Sydney-based Jennifer McCosker has advised commercial property investors and developers on transactions including large-scale property and development finance matters, among others.
DLA Piper has added a new partner to its corporate practice in Bangkok. Thananan Sangnuan joins from Baker McKenzie, where she was a partner.
Seoul-based Yoon & Yang has hired two senior lawyers, Jason Lee and Song Feng Hong, from its Big Six rivals Kim & Chang and Bae, Kim & Lee. The firm has simultaneously added another senior lawyer, Sung Jin Ro, from Versum Materials, where he was general counsel.
Norton Rose Fulbright has secured Japanese law capability with the hire of a new Japanese-law qualified banking and restructuring partner, Akihiko Takamatsu.
Goodwin Procter has made its first lateral partner hire in Singapore since launching in the city-state in October. Matthew Nortcliff joins Goodwin from CMS, where he was head of the firm’s funds and indirect real assets practice in Asia.
DLA Piper has rehired lawyer Jack Brumpton to the firm’s Brisbane office as a partner in the finance, projects & restructuring practice.
Clifford Chance has hired a new Singapore technology practice partner, Stella Cramer, from Norton Rose Fulbright.
Partner Darcy Wray and three colleagues join the firm’s business law group from a small Vancouver-based boutique.
Sidley Austin has added Germaine Nicole Gurr as an M&A and private equity partner. She joins from White & Case where she was also a partner. ArentFox Schiff has added Eric Fishman as a partner to the firm’s sports group. He joins from Pryor Cashman where he was partner and co-head of that firm’s sports group.
Chelsea Hilliard has joined McGuireWoods’ commercial litigation practice as a partner in Dallas, bringing more than a decade of experience representing clients in high-stakes litigation and corporate governance matters.
Promotions & Appointments:
Shearman & Sterling has promoted two London lawyers to partner amid the departure of several of their colleagues. The U.S. led law firm has promoted Trinh Chubbock to its project development and finance team while Kevin Heverin has been promoted to Shearman’s financial restructuring and insolvency practice.
Mergers & Alliances:
The expansion brings the firm depth in dispute resolution via five lawyers based in Ecuador’s second-largest city.
“After careful consideration, we have mutually agreed that a combination at this time is not in the best interest of either firm,” said a joint statement from the firms.
Office Openings & Closing:
Addleshaw Goddard is set to open an office in Riyadh, in a move that will hand the firm a fourth office in the MENA region.
Top 10 US law firm Morgan Lewis has added a 20-strong team from Shearman & Sterling to open its second German office, in Munich.
UK alternative law firm Spencer West, which deploys a fee sharing model, has expanded into new markets in Germany, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands through the hire of local partners.
Allen & Overy (A&O) has confirmed plans to relocate its Sydney team a to new space in 33 Alfred Street following a refurbishment that will see the landmark office tower become carbon neutral.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has received Chinese government approval to open a new office in Beijing—its fourth outfit in Asia.
Despite losing nearly half of its lawyers in Pittsburgh, Porter Wright remains committed to the city, according to managing partner Robert Tannous.
The move comes as the Big Four Japanese firms have launched offices and alliances in Jakarta, Malaysia, and London over the last 12 months.
The firm concluded it is no longer essential to maintain a physical office in Singapore but said would fly out on a regular basis to meet with clients.
Perkins Coie is laying off 58 business professionals across the firm, citing macroeconomic conditions as well as increased expenses in staffing that have exceeded an acceptable level for the firm.
The intellectual property-focused firm boosted gross revenue and equity partner profits by roughly 10% in 2022.
A combination with Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss helped the firm grow revenue by 32%, hitting $549 million.
Profits per equity partner dropped by 9.7% in 2022 at Dallas-founded Locke Lord, but the firm also increased its equity partner numbers in an effort to build the next generation of partners.
Despite a slowdown in M&A and “disappointing” performance in restructuring and workouts, the firm’s leader said strong performance in middle market PE and health care helped to make up for the losses.
The repeated postponements has prompted some to ask whether the firm, which suspended its shares in January, might face the possibility of delisting.
Seyfarth’s London revenue grew 16%, the firm said. And despite challenges in Asia, the firm is still committed to the region “for the long game,” Seyfarth’s chair-elect, Lorie Almon, said.
The Spanish firm has roughly equalled the previous year’s growth rate to hit record revenues.
Outside of the U.S., the firm saw its London revenue drop due to a harsh environment for transactional work and its Asian outposts faced similar challenges for dealmaking. But Paris and elsewhere in Europe saw an uptick in activity, as did the Middle East, the firm said.
Ten of the firm’s 43 offices are outside the U.S., and CEO Brian Duffy said cross-border work is increasing post-pandemic.
Technology & Innovation:
While the missing-feature fallacy has long been employed as an excuse for not investing in legal tech, there are, in fact, a number of features that are missing, and entire categories of tools that seem inexplicably immature, if not downright absent.
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has filed a claim against investment giant Mercer, alleging its sustainable investment fund did not live up to the promises made to investors.
While recent months have seen the U.S. and European Union collaborating on how to mitigate AI’s potentially harmful impacts, the prospect of a transatlantic policy alignment is uncertain.
For the last 20 years, the U.K. author and academic has been predicting that technology will revolutionise the legal industry. With the buzz around generative AI, will his hypothesis now be proven true?
Diversity & Inclusion:
Reed Smith’s new managing partner, Casey Ryan, has promised to continue investing in talent at all levels of the firm, including through lateral hires, following the unexpected departure of her predecessor, Sandy Thomas.
The system is modelled after the blind auditions used with great success by symphony orchestras to improve diversity and eliminate bias.
“It’s one of the most racially diverse slates we’ve ever seen,” said Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann, of DiCello Levitt, of the leadership team, which a federal judge approved on Thursday. She and Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law, who both founded Shades of Mass, are two of the co-lead counsel.
China has the power to alter the futures of many top international law firms in Asia. Just look at its crackdown last year on the operations of mainland China-affiliated legal practices of the Big Four accounting firms, its shift in economic policy calling for a focus on domestic markets, or the recent reopening of its borders after three years of harsh COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.
Australian lawyers are working more pro bono hours and firms have increased their dedicated pro bono staff, but there remains room for improvement, according to a biannual survey.
The market for lateral partner hires in Australia remains strong, despite concerns about an economic slowdown. Demand for Australian associates from law firms overseas, however, has cooled, recruiters say.
The need to offer legal services and government affairs under one roof has increased significantly as the European Commission ramps up its regulation of tech companies, foreign direct investment, and ESG, lawyers say.
As private equity and M&A markets flounder, newer markets are keeping lawyers busy, according to partners at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hengeler Mueller, PwC Legal and KPMG Law.