Weekly Update – 7th of May 2024


UK & Ireland

Dentons hires Laura Whyatt as a competition partner in London

Dentons has engaged Laura Whyatt, a contentious competition lawyer, as a Partner in London. Laura joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher after previously working at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Sherman & Sterling in London and Brussels.

Allen & Overy’s UK financial services regulatory head resigns ahead of Shearman & Sterling merger

Damian Carolan heads for the exit as Magic Circle stalwart Allen & Overy prepared to merge with US law firm Shearman & Sterling on 1 May.

Latest Travers Defection as Infrastructure Partner Joins Sidley

Ben Thompson, who has been with Travers for just under three years, came from another US company, Weil, Gotshal Manges, where he was counsel.

Davis Polk Takes Paul Hastings’ Former Co-Head of Global Finance in London

In a statement regarding Luke McDougall’s departure, Paul Hastings expressed confidence in the London office and the firm overall, citing an increase in work so far in 2024.

White & Case, Linklaters Swap India Experts in Singapore, London

Savi Hebbur joined White & Case from Linklaters in London, and Sayak Maity left White & Case for Linklaters in Singapore.

Simmons & Simmons welcomes Micheál Mulvey as corporate partner

Mr Mulvey has over 15 years of experience advising clients on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, late-stage venture capital and corporate venturing, and foreign direct investment in a variety of industries, with a particular emphasis on healthcare and life sciences, technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT), and food and agribusiness.



Germany Moves Digest: Hires for DLA Piper, Goodwin and Morgan Lewis

Partner Christian Freiherr von Buddenbrock joined DLA Piper’s new Düsseldorf office in the April of this year, together with one counsel and one senior associate.

Orrick replenishes Milan office with hires from Shearman’s Italian arm

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has drafted in Fabio Fauceglia, the former M&A head of Shearman & Sterling’s Italian associate firm to rebuild its transactional capacity in the country.

Shearman’s Italy head joins White & Case on eve of A&O merger

Dominic Fanuele the head of Shearman & Sterling’s association firm in Italy, has left to join White & Case.



Weil Gotshal Hong Kong Managing Partner Leaves For GC Role

Tim Gardner, Weil Gotshal & Manges’ Hong Kong managing partner and co-head of its Asia private equity group, has left the company to become general counsel for PAG, an Asian private equity investment firm.

EY Law Braced For Trio of Departures

EY shuttered Riverview legal in December 2023 and stated that LC Lawyers, EY’s Hong Kong-affiliated legal firm, would also close its doors that month.

White & Case Adds Former Linklaters Asia Funds Head in Tokyo

Eriko Sakata, who has been with Linklaters for more than 20 years, advises global asset managers and blue-chip enterprises on the formation and management of investment funds and co-investment vehicles.

Australia’s JWS Hires Technology Partner Sophie Dawson from Bird & Bird

The hire comes after two technical partners left JWS last month.

Australian Firm Looks to Norton Rose for New Construction Partner

Alice Chen, who is joining Spark Helmore’s projects and government commercial team, specializes in construction contracts and procurement with a government-focused client base.

Asia Moves: Counsel-Level Hires Continue as Asian Firms Karas So, Chandler MHM Add to Ranks

Tara Hamilton, who is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and Australia, worked as a counsel at Weil, advising debtors and creditors on both contentious and non-contentious insolvency and restructuring situations. She also represents insolvency practitioners, trustees, and creditors in court.


The Americas

People in the News—April 30, 2024—Lamb McErlane, McNees

Lamb McErlane announced that attorney Katherine ‘Katie’ LaDow has been elected a partner in the firm.

Willkie Lures Investment Funds Leader From DLA Piper

Nathaniel Marrs, who previously co-led DLA’s investment fund department, has joined Willkie’s Chicago office.

Crowell Adds 2 More Corporate Partners From Neal Gerber in Chicago

Firm chair Phil Inglima said the four partners are considered as a team by their clients, and they anticipate the additions will help corporate growth both nationally and in the Chicago office.

Former Watergate Defense Attorney Leaves Squire Patton Boggs for Boutique, Citing Conflicts

Alvin Davis, who represented one of the Watergate plotters and was the Miami managing partner for two firms, is joining boutique company Heise Suarez Melville after years of dealing with conflict difficulties at his previous firm.

Big Law in DC Recruits From FDA, DOJ in Latest String of Government Hires

Several attorneys from the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice have joined law firms in Washington, D.C. this week, including Sidley Austin, Mitchell Sandler, and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, in the latest round of federal government hires this election season.

Rate Flexibility, Plaintiff Focus Leads Atlanta Partner to Leave Seyfarth for Labor Boutique

Alex Meier said “there really is a lot of opportunity on the plaintiff’s side. I felt like there was a gap”.

Dentons Hires zs Litigation Partner from Ashurst

Jason Brooks will be located in the capital, Port Moresby. He is an experienced commercial litigation lawyer who handles judicial reviews, tax litigation, customs litigation, employment law, and regulatory concerns.

Brazil’s TozziniFreire Loses 3 Partners to Demarest, Another Partner to Lefosse

Partners João Busin, Juliana Maluf, and Beatriz Seixas joined Demarest Advogados, along with associates Isabella Koshyama, Bárbara Queiroz, Ilson Maciel, and Pedro Vecci. Additionally, Partner Fernando Carvalho joined Lefosse Advogados, along with associates Luis Sima, Beatriz Salotti, and Mylla Mattar.

Akerman Scoops Up Former Miami-Dade Attorney to Chair Land Use Practice

Dennis Kerbel had led the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office’s zoning, land use, and environment section since 2015.

On The Move: Jones Walker Seeks to Expand Tax Practice’s Reach; King & Spalding Adds Ex-Prosecutor

Zach Branson’s return to Jones Walker in Atlanta adds to the attraction of the firm’s national tax credits business, according to a practice leader. Also, Barry Kamar, a partner at King & Spalding, will strengthen the firm’s regional contacts in the Middle East and Latin America.

Connecticut Movers: Key Moves at Law Firms in Stamford, Hartford and New Haven

Former federal prosecutor Stephen B. Reynolds has returned to Day Pitney as a partner in the firm’s government enforcement and white-collar criminal defense group in Stamford.

Gibson Dunn Hires Wachtell FinReg Counsel to Join as Partner

Ro Spaziani collaborates with three Gibson Dunn practice areas at the confluence of financial regulation, fintech, and digital assets.

Faegre Drinker Adds Phila. Partners From Ballard Spahr, Manko Gold

Timothy Katsiff is a commercial litigator, whereas Thomas Duncan specializes in environmental transactions.

Paul Weiss Lands M&A Heavy Hitter From Cleary

Jim Langston joins Paul Weiss in New York as the need for corporate and M&A lawyers remains large, despite a sluggish transaction recovery.

Ex-Quinn Emanuel Sports Practice Leader Lands at Bilzin Sumberg

Robert Raskopf took two years out of the private practice world starting in 2021. He’s previously represented the Washington Commanders and Jerry Falwell Jr.

Clifford Chance underlines US ambitions with hires from Shearman and White & Case

Todd Lowther joins CC’s tax, energy, and infrastructure teams from Shearman in Houston, where the firm launched an office last summer to focus on energy and infrastructure work. Meanwhile, in New York, the firm has engaged Chang-Do Gong from White & Case to help strengthen its US M&A practice.



Longtime Lawyer at Hush Puppies Parent Steps Into GC Role at Messy Time

Dave Latchana is taking over legal operations at Wolverine Worldwide, which is struggling to compete with inexpensive shoe makers.

Nextdoor Chief Legal Officer Joins Executive Exodus

John Orta will leave the social networking platform for communities on May 8, marking the end of his nearly six-year tenure as legal chief.

Legal Chief Who Led Southwest Through 9/11, COVID-19 Stepping Down

Mark Shaw, 61, is staying on as executive adviser. Southwest CEO Bob Jordan reported that Shaw “helped us navigate many triumphs and challenges throughout his career.”

In-House Moves of Month: Hertz, IBM, TikTok Grab Headlines

Bethesda, Maryland-based DiamondRock Hospitality, an owner of high-end hotels, said goodbye to Bill Tennis, 69, its general counsel of 14 years.

E-Discovery Startup Fileread Hires Former AstraZeneca Head of Legal Services Josh Kreamer as GC

The hire comes less than a year after Fileread raised $6 million in funding from a Google-backed investment venture.

Former Post Office General Counsel Leaves Current GC Role Amid Inquiry Questioning

Chris Aujard, the Post Office’s temporary general counsel from 2013 to 2015, resigned from a number of general counsel and/or secretary positions for fintech investment firm FNZ on April 23.

Rebuilding French Supermarket Group Casino Hires Restructuring Lawyer as GC

Ubisoft, the video game company, has also appointed a replacement for its long-time chief legal officer.

BHP Group General Counsel Steps Down

Lyndon Arnall was appointed in 2020, but he declared on LinkedIn that April 30 would be his last day at the organization.

EY Turns to Veteran of NYC Office to Fill Global GC Post

Michael Solender, EY’s senior lawyer for a decade, is handing over legal responsibilities to top deputy David Weintraub.


Team Moves

Kirkland Targets Goodwin Again to Add More Funds Lawyers

Mirela Hristova, Michelle Kim, and Joseph Baron are among the firm’s most recent hires, overseen by partner James Donohue. All four will become partners at Kirkland.

18-Lawyer Team From Seyfarth Exiting for Immigration Boutique

Nearly 90 people, including lawyers and employees, could relocate from Seyfarth to BAL.

On The Move: Seyfarth Grows Corporate Group With BCLP Laterals

Meanwhile, Nelson Mullins has expanded its litigation practice with new partners in D.C. and Charlotte, and a former Kilpatrick associate has returned from a general counsel post.

Small Firm’s Full Roster of Attorneys Moves to Warshaw Burstein

Brady Klein & Weissman will continue to function as a limited liability partnership for fee collections, so the transfer is not a merger.

Insurance Team Leaves Clyde & Co in Latest Defection

Janette McLennan, an insurance partner at Clyde & Co, and her team are departing to join Sparke Helmore in Australia, this is the latest of several partner exits from the UK-based firm.

Paul Hastings Grabs Partner-Led Team From DLA Piper to Rebuild Restructuring Department in Paris

This year, the company expanded its European financial restructuring practice by adding many partners, including a new group co-chair.

In 10-Lawyer Move, Mintz Lures Proskauer Life Science Patent Chair and Team

Mintz is expanding its patent litigation bench in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York with a 10-lawyer team.


Promotions & Appointments:

People in the News—April 29, 2024—Faegre Drinker, Saxton & Stump

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath has announced its 2024 leadership appointments, including Philadelphia-based partner Elizabeth K. Lange’s appointment as vice chair of Women’s Forward.

Bird & Bird appoints lawyers in global promotion round

Bird & Bird appoints 13 to Partner, 3 to Senior Counsel, 24 to Counsel, 1 to Legal Director and 1 to Of Counsel in annual global promotion round.

A&O Shearman Names UK and US Managing Partners

In the United Kingdom, Denise Gibson, an Allen & Overy partner, has been appointed managing partner. She serves as co-head of the global leveraged finance group and a partner in the London banking practice.

Newsmakers: Managing Shareholder Named to Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s San Antonio Office

Chamberlain Hrdlicka today announced that Jaime Vasquez has been designated managing shareholder of the firm’s San Antonio location.

After 2 Years of Increases, Partner Promotions Slowed at Texas Law Firms for 2024

The 25 companies with the most lawyers in Texas elevated 19.3% fewer lawyers to partner in 2024 compared to 2023.

Promotions Season Continues Apace as 4 UK Firms Bolster Ranks

Bird & Bird, Taylor Wessing, Kennedys, and DAC Beachcroft are the latest firms to announce their new partner cohorts.

DAC Beachcroft names Ronan McLoughlin as new Irish chief

Mr McLoughlin succeeds Lisa Broderick, who took over the top job in 2018, for an initial three-year term.

William Fry names nine new partners

The business has hired nine new partners in four departments: asset management and investment funds, litigation and investigations, real estate, and technology, as well as two new consultants and thirteen senior associates.


Mergers & Alliances:

Can Big Law Merge in Chicago Any More?

Willkie’s Craig Martin said that Chicago’s “diversity of business” is driving legal demand.

Harrisburg Boutiques Merge, Looking to Innovate on Work-Life Balance

SkarlatosZonarich and Mette, Evans & Woodside have merged to form a 25-lawyer firm known as Mette.

A&O Shearman Goes Live, With New Firm Naming Board and Practice Leaders

Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling have finalized their merger, with firm leadership boasting of a marriage that will result in a $3.5 billion multinational legal firm with over 4,000 lawyers, including 800 partners.

Smith, Gambrell & Russell Grows Real Estate, International Practices in New York

The Atlanta-based firm acquired two real estate attorneys and merged with a small practice that represents German corporations in the United States.

Connecticut’s Wiggin and Dana Absorbs Boca Raton Trusts and Estates Boutique

The combination with Ellis Law gives the firm, historically concentrated in the Northeast, a second office in Florida.


Office Openings & Closing:

Cravath Moves Into New Manhattan Headquarters

The firm, which signed a lease for the premises in 2019, announced on Monday that it had finished the transition.

Mayer Brown Set to Split With 170-Lawyer Greater China Offices

The firm’s Hong Kong office is one of the largest businesses conducted by an international legal firm, but it has been hampered by a market slump, data security concerns, and a political scandal.

White-Collar Boutique Launches in DC With Former SEC Official, Cranfill Sumner Partners

Christina Zaroulis Milnor, a former SEC official, will help start a new boutique in Washington, DC.

Blank Rome Recruits 25 Burns & Levinson Lawyers to Launch Boston Office

The hiring gives the Philadelphia-based firm its 16th location and a new cannabis practice.

Simpson Thacher Plans Boston Office, Hires Skadden Funds Partnerh

The New York legal practice is the third American legal 100 firm to announce a Boston location in the previous eight days.

Goodwin Enters Fresh London Digs, Complete with Dance Studio and Cathedral Views

The Boston-founded firm has moved into a new 90,000 square foot office in the heart of St Paul’s, in the latest London office move.

Eckert Seamans Products Liability Chair Exits to Open Bowman and Brooke’s Philadelphia Office

Partner Dennis Ziemba stated that “Certainly there is some crossover too from clients with Eckert, and also some clients of Bowman and Brooke I’m getting introduced to”.

Japan’s Atsumi & Sakai Launches 4th International Outfit in Brussels

The new office, run by lawyer Etsuko Kameoka, will specialize in European Union-related legal advice, particularly in competition law.

Clyde & Co Expands Saudi Presence With Jeddah Launch

The new office will be led by corporate and advisory partner Mohammed Almarzouki, who is a certified lawyer in Saudi Arabia, a trained solicitor in England and Wales, and an attorney in New York. He joined Clyde & Co in 2023 and has over a decade of experience assisting Saudi and multinational firms, as well as family businesses in Jeddah.

Cravath Moves Into New Manhattan Headquarters

The firm, which signed its lease for the space in 2019, said on Monday it completed the relocation.

Paul Weiss Launches Latin America Practice With Former Willkie Farr Partner at the Helm

Leticia Ossa Daza, a Colombian native who founded Willkie Farr’s Latin America practice, will now do the same for Paul Weiss as the American firm looks to expand in the region.

China Closures Continue as Sidley and Weil Winds Down Shanghai Offices

Sidley is shifting several of its lawyers, including two Shanghai partners, to its Beijing and Hong Kong offices, according to a lawyer at the US firm.

DLA Piper Opens Office in Brazil to Tap Cross-border Work

The São Paulo office will be overseen by a recent hire from Allen & Overy, with help from Brazilian lawyers headquartered in New York, as the company pursues more US-Brazil cross-border transactions.

Spanish Law Firm Uría Menéndez to Shutter Office in New York

The Spanish law firm’s Park Avenue office will close at the end of June, after 34 years in New York.

DLA Piper Loses Office in Colombia as Affiliate Firm Abandons Alliance

DLA Piper’s Colombia subsidiary has left the global law firm’s network, taking more than 120 lawyers with it.

Willkie Opens in Dallas With 3 Haynes and Boone Private Equity Partners

Willkie Farr & Gallagher, an Am Law 100 firm, has launched an office in Dallas that will be staffed initially by three private equity lawyers from Haynes and Boone, as well as four partners from Willkie’s Houston office, all of whom will keep offices in Dallas.

Herbert Smith Freehills launches global digital legal delivery practicej

The new practice will be overseen by Libby Jackson, the long-time head of HSF’s alternative legal services department, with assistance from recently appointed chief technology officer David Turner.



Robinhood’s Steadying Force, Legal Chief Dan Gallagher, Saw Pay Seesaw Again in 2023

Gallagher’s 2023 income was 29% lower than the previous year, but 1,142% higher than the 2021 salary.

Alphabet’s Legal Chief Has Outearned Apple’s for First Time

Kent Walker, Alphabet’s legal chief, had his pay increase by 12% in 2023.

Freshfields ups junior lawyer pay

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has raised the salary for freshly qualified lawyers in London to £150,000.

Billing Rate Increases, Demand Gains Help Law Firms Double Their Revenue Growth in Q1

Wells Fargo stated that billing rate rise “continues to be the primary contributor to revenue growth,” with standard rates rising 9% in the first quarter of 2024.

Wachtell Star Received Record-Breaking Pay in First Year as Salesforce CLO

Sabastian Niles joined the CRM behemoth in July, leaving his position as one of the country’s leading legal consultants on M&A and shareholder activism.

Billing Rate Growth and Litigation Demand Drive Big Law Gains in Q1

Thomson Reuters’ Bill Josten noted that worked billing rates were up 6.4% in Q1, the highest quarter-over-quarter increase since at least the Great Recession.

Billing Rate Increases Boost Atlanta and Southeast Law Firms’ Financial Growth

Big law firm executives in the Southeast stated that they will raise charges by up to 7% in 2023 in response to rising costs for everything from salary to rent.


Technology & Innovation:

AI Will Ramp Up Intense Big Law Battle for Talent, Client Share

Law firm profit margins will fall because “AI disproportionately impacts non-partner hours,” which generate the highest margins, according to Law.com Pro Fellows research.

Brightflag Announces New Generative AI-Powered Features, Chatbot

The new capabilities, which are based on Brightflag’s decade-old AI models, are intended to provide a layer between the user and the invoice “Approve Button.”

What Law Students Should Know About Generative AI Before Their Summer Jobs

Begin familiarizing yourself with it right away so that you may not only meet your professional responsibilities but also distinguish yourself from others.

Coheso Launches AI-Powered Platform for In-House Legal Intake and Work Management

Coheso has announced the public launch of their generative AI-powered legal intake and work management platform, which will assist in-house legal and compliance teams in replacing generic tools with domain-specific solutions to accelerate processes.

Litera Announces Integration with Microsoft Copilot

Matt James, Litera’s vice president of sales advisors and engineering, told Legaltech News that the integration will be available when Microsoft launches its Copilot plugin for Word.

Contract Analysis Company eBrevia Launches Gen AI-Powered DraftPro Months After Co-Founders’ Buyback

Adam Nguyen and Jacob Mundt, co-founders of eBrevia, purchased the firm back from Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN) in December 2023, five years after they first sold it.

Ex-Virtual Firm Leader Joins Veteran Am Law 200 CFO to Launch Back-Office Support Venture#

Federate Legal’s founders want to serve both Big Law practitioners looking to start their own practices and established small and midsize firms.


Diversity & Inclusion:

Forging Forward: How Wellbeing Anchors the Heart of DEI Strategy

Lee Ashby Watts of Bass, Berry & Sims writes that “Neglecting wellbeing within DEI initiatives could undermine efforts to shape a positive firm culture”.

Chartwell Law Accused of Discrimination in Florida EEOC Complaints After Firing Two Muslim Lawyers

A partner and an associate, both stationed in Miami, claim they faced retaliation and eventually lost their positions after voicing concerns about how they were handled at the Philadelphia firm.

Gender Pay Gap Persists in Australian Law Firms, Survey Reveals

According to a poll conducted by the College of Law Australia, experienced female lawyers in Australia are paid approximately 25% less than their male counterparts.

Kennedys promotes more women than men to partnership for third year

Kennedys has announced that 17 partners, nine of whom are women, will join its partnership, raising the total number of partners worldwide to 349 as of May.


Market Commentary:

Fancy Offices Are a Big Gamble

Law firms are seeking to undermine the remote working narrative by focusing on ultra-modern real estate, but this does little to solve the culture issue.

Ranked: The Largest Law Firms Across the Middle East, 2024

According to Law.com International’s most recent annual ranking, the largest legal institutions operating in the Middle East are regional giant Al Tamimi & Co, as well as international law firms Clyde & Co, White & Case, and Allen & Overy.

36% of Lawyers Have a Drinking Problem: Attorney Mental Health in Focus

Attorney and mental health advocate L.A. Perkins of Perkins Law said, “I had a lot of lawyers reach out to me and share with me, in confidence, the struggles that they were going through”.

Letter From London: A&O Shearman—How To Know If It’s Working

Here are five things to look out for that will provide some insights into the merger’s performance before any obvious financial data emerge, according to Law.com. Paul Hodkinson, International Editor-in-Chief, contributes to this bimonthly column.

Geographic Expansion, Increased Competitiveness Underscore String of Law Firm Mergers

Law firm alliances, ranging from A&O Shearman to a succession of boutique acquisitions, are assisting firms in expanding into new sectors and increasing their market stature.

‘Our Strength Is Also Our Weakness’: Is It Better to Be a Specialist Firm or a Full-Service One?

Clients and attorneys alike may find it difficult to decide between a full-service firm and a specialist firm. The answer may depend on the types of clientele such organizations are looking to service.

What It’s Like Managing the Legal Expectations of 55 Countries

Hager Gueldich describes her function as the African Union’s legal counsel as that of a mediator, strategist, and, at times, negotiator at the crossroads of law and politics.

Columbia University Cancels University-Wide Commencement

According to a separate May 6 announcement regarding commencement, the university is focusing its resources on keeping the school ceremonies “safe, respectful and running smoothly.”

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