Ukrainian Legal Developments:
The Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) has opened its membership to foreign lawyers to raise new sources of income to support its work following Russia’s invasion. By paying an annual €200 (£171) fee, the association says UK lawyers, and others, can apply to become international participants. International members will receive regular updates in English on UBA activities and documents, including those related to legal actions undertaken in support of Ukraine’s efforts to find legal redress against Russia, as well as access to information in sourcing referral work to Ukrainian lawyers and opportunities to find partners in Ukraine.
Ukraine will fund the bulk of its post-war recovery with wealth that Western powers are confiscating from Russia’s oligarchs, according to its prime minister. But for some of Kyiv’s allies — such as Switzerland — that’s easier said than done. “The right of ownership, the right of property is a fundamental right,” Switzerland’s president, Ignazio Cassis, said during a press conference Tuesday alongside Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal after two days of high-level talks about Ukraine’s reconstruction in the Swiss city of Lugano. “Of course, we can violate fundamental law. But we have to create the legal base.”
UK & Ireland
Legaltech veteran Jonathan Townend joins TLT as an operations board member and will be based in London.
Sidley Austin has hired private equity and M&A lawyer Tony Downes from Proskauer to strengthen its London private equity practice.
Big Four firm Deloitte Legal has hired a financial services partner in London, but has lost technology partner Tania Williams to U.K. firm RPC. Clare Jenkinson is joining Deloitte from HSBC, a Deloitte statement said on Monday
A four-strong senior Latham & Watkins finance team, led by the firm’s global co-chair of banking, has left for U.S.-headquartered rival Paul Hastings in London. The team, consisting of partners Ross Anderson, Mo Nurmohamed, Karan Chopra and Rob Davidson have made the move, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Independent French firm Ayache Société d’Avocats has created a technology department in Paris with a three-lawyer, partner-led hire from Cohen & Gresser. Guillaume Seligmann joins Ayache as a partner and head of the new department.
Clyde & Co has hired Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s former Cape Town managing partner. M&A partner Gasant Orrie joins Clyde’s Cape Town office and will support clients across South Africa and the wider African continent, according to the firm’s announcement.
Pierandrea Bonali joins the firm after five years at McDermott, where he made partner in in Milan in 2020.
Julia Mohamed joins as a partner from the French boutique firm Marvell Avocats, where she practiced for eight years, rising to partner.
Diego Carrión has joined the Barcelona-based firm’s M&A practice in Lima from Peruvian law firm Hernandez & Cia., while Juan David Mina has moved over to the firm’s tax practice in Mexico City. Mina was previously a partner at KPMG and left the company in April, according to his Linkedin profile.
Over the course of the past year, Lefosse has lured partners from crosstown rivals to strengthen its capabilities in restructuring, dispute resolution, infrastructure, tax, life science and health care, and antitrust matters—while also opening an office in the Brazilian capital, Brasília.
Elsa Ortega and Sofía Gómez Ruano will be closing their eponymous dispute resolution boutique to join Creel. Ortega will lead Creel’s arbitration and dispute resolution practice, with the support and guidance of Counsel Judge Bernardo Sepúlveda.
New hires, promotions and awards from across the California legal market.
Han Kun’s latest coup is Fangda’s intellectual property partner, Song Haining, who has joined the firm in Shanghai. Notably, Song is the third IP partner to leave Fangda this year. King & Wood Mallesons took a team of IP litigation experts from the firm in Beijing last month, including veteran partner Gordon Gao and partner Sherry Yao.
Partners continue to depart Norton Rose Fulbright in Australian, with energy partner Jo Crew leaving to join King & Wood Mallesons.
Robert Dearn, who was previously an associate at Ashurst, joins Clayton Utz’s public-sector practice in Canberra.
Chris Fowler, who was most recently general counsel for technology at the telecoms giant, announced his departure on a post on LinkedIn on Thursday, where he thanked BT group general counsel Sabine Chalmers for a “focus on performance, engagement and fun”.
New York-based Kathryn King Sudol has joined as its new general counsel from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where she was global co-head of M&A.
Promotions & Appointments:
Tax partner Axel Schilder is to steer the Atlanta firm’s sole German office as the next managing partner of its office in Frankfurt while finance and restructuring partner Andrew Brereton has been named office managing partner in Singapore.
Top 30 UK law firm Withers has promoted seven lawyers to partner from across its private client, business and dispute resolution teams. This cohort includes two women, or 29% percent of the total, an increase on last year’s round which only featured one woman.
The current head of Osborne Clarke’s EU law practice has been appointed to serve as a judge at the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union, one of the EU’s highest courts. Steven Verschuur will take up his six-year mandate at the General Court, which serves as a court of first instance for EU law matters, in September. His appointment was announced on Wednesday.
Last week, Baker McKenzie announced the promotion of eight partners in its Bangkok office. Of all the firm’s far-flung offices around the world, only Singapore saw more lawyers promoted (nine). And this year’s promotions followed those of last year, when Baker McKenzie promoted another eight lawyers in Thailand.
Top 50 U.K. law firm Bird & Bird is to pay out a bonus to some of its U.K. staff as the cost of living spirals. The firm will hand out a one-off payment in July to those with a salary of £50,000 and below which will amount to £1,000, after tax and national insurance payments have been made.
Mergers & Alliances:
Happy tenth anniversary to the two mergers that never were. In 2012, Field Fisher Waterhouse was close to securing a deal with Lawrence Graham that, on collapse, led to its second tie-up attempt of the year with Osborne Clarke. A decade on and Lawrence Graham has morphed into something entirely different, on account of a national merger with Wragge & Co followed by a Canadian deal with Gowlings. Osborne Clarke and Fieldfisher meanwhile have mirrored each other, whether they wanted to or not.
Office Openings & Closing:
Opening a new chambers is rare in Hong Kong’s legal market, with the Bar traditionally being more conservative in launching new ventures compared to local law firms. The 24-member set – large by Hong Kong standards – provides legal services to Hong Kong and the Greater Bay region of mainland China. The set’s members work in chancery law, complex financial and securities disputes, arbitration and regulatory disputes, among other areas. Rede’s members all formerly practised at Sir Oswald Cheung’s Chambers.
Pinsent Masons has launched in Luxembourg with a team of 23 lawyers from local independent Wildgen, which has now disbanded. The deal will see Pinsent Masons add seven new partners and 16 other lawyers, with the Luxembourg office focusing primarily on the financial services sector. The new office – Pinsent Mason’s seventh in Continental Europe – will be headed by former Wildgen partner Michel Bulach and serve corporate and investment fund clients in Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, the Netherlands, France and the UK.
Kim & Chang’s veteran partner and co-founder of its international arbitration practice, Eun Young Park, has retired from the Big Six South Korean firm, to set up his own practice, Park Arbitration Chambers.
Womble Bond Dickinson has hired a lawyer from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) as the fourth partner based in its Nashville office, which opened last month as the firm’s 21st office in the US and 28th internationally. Masami Izumida Tyson joins Womble Bond’s Nashville office as a partner in the firm’s corporate and securities practice after three years as TNECD’s global director of foreign direct investment and trade.
Bevan Brittan has declared itself open to acquisitions after breaking the £60m revenue barrier for the first time. Turnover is up 7.2 per cent from £56.1m to £60.8m, while net profit has climbed by 6.6 per cent to £15.7m. It marks nine years of consecutive revenue and net profit growth for Bevan Brittan, which says it is now financially strong enough to move into the next phase of development.
Pinsent Masons has reported single-digit percentage growth in its revenue, while PEP surged ahead yet again after two consecutive drops in 2019 and 2020. Turnover rose for the tenth year in a row, up 6 per cent to £531.1m in 2021/22. Elsewhere, its profit per equity partner (PEP) witnessed double-digit growth of 16 per cent. This is the second consecutive year PEP has jumped by that amount. Results show PEP reached £739,000, which is up from £636,000 in 2020/21.
Taylor Wessing’s UK profit grew 32 per cent for the 2021/22 financial year, resulting in staff being offered a 5 per cent share based on salaries. The bonus will be given in addition to annual performance bonus payments of up to 30 per cent.
Brodies’ revenue increased from £82.5m to £98.5m, a rise of 19.5 per cent. Alongside this, operating profit rose by 18 per cent from £39m to £46.1m.
Nearly half of The Lawyer’s UK Top 50 firms picked up fees from the UK Government over 2021/22, according to a Freedom of Information request. The UK Government Legal Department spent a total of £36.57m on external legal services over the financial year 2021/22. Given there are 52 weeks in a year, this equates to £703,295 spent per week.
Analysts say firms overall are better equipped financially to handle a recession now than they were going into the Financial Crisis of 2008 due to a number of factors, including maintaining lower levels of bank debt and raising more capital from partners. They’ve also become more agile—and confident—after the last two years of the pandemic.
Technology & Innovation:
About a year after the European Union proposed regulations governing the use of artificial intelligence, Canada is now, too, proposing its first-ever private sector regulation of AI. Similarities between the two regulations reveal the influence the EU’s AI act will likely have on other jurisdictions looking to rein in AI.
Diversity & Inclusion:
Reed Smith is launching a dedicated environmental, social and governance (ESG) practice to help clients navigate what it describes as ‘a persisting lack of global convergence on ESG regulations, principles, initiatives and reporting standards’. The new practice brings together around 60 lawyers across the firm’s 30 offices. As part of the ESG practice, lawyers will support clients facing intensifying compliance and stakeholder obligations related to transactional, corporate, regulatory and disputes matters, among others.
The European Court of Human Rights has referred a climate case brought by six young people to its top-tier panel in a move that those involved in the case describe as “highly exceptional.” The decision, which was announced last week, means that the case challenging 33 countries’ climate policies will be heard by the 17-judge Grand Chamber of Europe’s highest human rights court.
Among Africa’s 54 countries, only four have liberalized abortion laws: South Africa, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Tunisia. Across the rest of the continent levels of abortion restrictions vary considerably. In Nigeria, for instance, procuring an abortion can get a person jailed for 14-years, according to Dayo Okusami, partner at Templars in Lagos.
Hogan Lovells is seeking to more clearly define opportunities for career progression and training within its ranks, as junior talent in the industry becomes more discerning about what they want their careers and employers to look like. The firm’s U.K.-based deputy CEO Michael Davison and Washington D.C. partner Douglas Fellman have spent the last year overseeing a process to update the firm’s appraisal system, working with a focus group of around 15 associates from across the firm.
Women outnumber men in the legal profession in the Australian state of New South Wales but are paid less, according to a survey commissioned by the state Law Society. The ”2021 Annual Profile of Solicitors NSW” provides a snapshot of the legal profession in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, and reveals that 37,186 solicitors are admitted to practice. Of those, 19,917 are female and 17,269 males.
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is the latest firm to tell lawyers and business services professionals that they have the option to work remotely throughout August. The firm said that attendance in the office will be optional during that time, with offices remaining open for those who wish to work from there. “We hope that this will allow everyone to enjoy greater flexibility and a break from commuting as the summer comes to a close”, the firm added.
Asim Rehman, whose experience in the public sector includes a stint as general counsel for the government watchdog for the New York City Police Department, was recognized as the city’s chief administrative law judge on July 6 in a formal swearing-in ceremony.
“We know that the number one barrier to degree completion is financial, and this partnership was created with that in mind,” GSU President Cheryl Green said.