Weekly Update – 9th of May 2023


UK & Ireland

Freshfields Appoints Next London Disputes Head

The move comes after former head, Mark Sansom, was appointed London managing partner. Effective May 1, litigation partner Andrew Austin steps up to the role. The change in leadership follows the appointment of former London dispute resolution head, Mark Sansom, to London managing partner last week, according to a person at the firm.

Mayer Brown Swoops on King & Spalding for London Partner Hire

Richard Nelson has joined Mayer Brown as a partner in its global energy group. He leaves King & Spalding after nearly eight years as a partner in the firm’s Singapore office.

Freshfields’ New London Head Takes Charge and Outlines Priorities

Transatlantic cooperation, ESG expertise and UK growth are among Mark Sansom’s key areas of focus in his new role.

Ashurst grows London funds practice with new partner hire

Global law firm Ashurst announces the appointment of Whitney Lutgen as partner in its investment funds practice based in London, as the firm continues the growth of its international funds practice in response to increasing client demand.


Paul Hastings Adds Clifford Chance Partner in Germany

Frederik Mühl, a private equity and infrastructure M&A partner, had been with Clifford Chance for 25 years.

Morgan Lewis Without Germany Arbitration Expertise as Trio Exits

It represents a slight reversal of fortunes for the firm which expanded significantly in Germany last month by taking Shearman & Sterling’s entire Munich office.


Allen & Overy Makes Double Partner Hire From Baker McKenzie Singapore

Allen & Overy has boosted its corporate practice in Asia with the hire of equity capital markets lawyer Kenny Kwan and public mergers and acquisitions lawyer Caryn Ng as partners in Singapore.

Harneys Appoints its First Hong Kong Office Head

Harneys has appointed Paul Sephton, its corporate, banking and finance partner, as the firm’s first Hong Kong managing partner.

As Ropes & Gray Winds Down Asia Restructuring Practice, Freshfields Hires Firm’s Former Hong Kong Head

Freshfields currently does not have any restructuring, distressed assets or special situation partners based in Greater China. Anderson’s joining with a team of lawyers will launch that focused regional offering for the firm.

Senior Samsung Counsel Returns to Yoon & Yang as Seoul Partner

Big Six South Korean firm Yoon & Yang has hired U.S.-qualified M&A lawyer Irene Kim in Seoul from Korean memory chip and smartphone maker Samsung Electronics, where she was most recently the principal legal counsel.

Singapore Litigation Boutique Setia Law Adds Public Prosecutor to Bench

Victoria Ting was most recently a public lawyer within the financial and technology crime division of the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC), where she prosecuted and tried cases related to fraud, bribery, money laundering and sanctions.

HFW Hires Construction Partner for Melbourne Office from Jones Day

Ken Hickman returns for his second stint at HFW. HFW is expanding its Australian construction and commercial litigation practice with the hire of partner Ken Hickman in Melbourne, who joins from Jones Day.

Ashurst Hires Two Corporate Partners for its Sydney Office

Ashurst has hired two corporate transaction partners to join its Sydney office, one from Bracewell’s London office and the other from an Australian firm. Jo En Low, a private equity/M&A lawyer who advises financial investors and major international corporates in the renewable energy sector, joins from Bracewell.

DLA Piper and Australia’s Thomson Geer Hire Hong Kong Partners

DLA Piper has hired former Akin Gump Hong Kong partner Naomi Moore as its regional head of restructuring, while Australian firm Thomson Geer has hired a general counsel from the city-state.

The Americas

White & Case, Committing to Grow Litigation Practice, Adds Willkie Partner

Brienne Letourneau is the fourth lateral partner to join White & Case’s commercial litigation practice this year.

Stevens & Lee have hired two new joiners in Valley Forge

Stevens & Lee announced that Derick S. Kauffman and Mark E. Rosenstein have joined the corporate, finance and capital markets department and will be based in the firm’s Valley Forge office.

Baker & Hostetler Hires 8-Lawyer Corporate Team in LA

Will Chuchawat, the co-chair of private equity and M&A at Proskauer, and JR Lanis, the vice chair of securities at Polsinelli, joined the firm along with five other lawyers from their former firms, plus Kirkland.

Alston & Bird Hires 2 Kirkland Partners in Silicon Valley

Simon Root and Jonathan Manor joined the firm’s private equity team after about a decade each at Kirkland.

K&L Gates Expands Public Policy and Law Practice With 3 Additions in DC

K&L Gates continues to grow its public policy and law practice with the addition of Jamie Jackson as a partner, Thomas Fulton as a government affairs advisor, and Leonard Bickwit as counsel in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, the firm announced Thursday.

Polsinelli, Seyfarth Shaw Announce Partner News

Polsinelli announced the hiring of real estate finance attorneys Joshua F. Reif and Aleksandra Strang to its Atlanta office. Reif and Strang have joined the firm’s real estate finance practice group as shareholders, continuing the firm’s growth there, the firm said a release.

Blank Rome Adds 7-Lawyer International Trade Group From McDermott in DC

The firm is building out its international trade capabilities, as the current geopolitical and economic environment continues to put tension on global government and corporate operations.

SDNY General Crimes Unit Co-Chief Joins Kramer Levin; Brown Rudnick Adds IP Partner

Jordan Estes has joined Kramer Levin as a partner in the firm’s white collar defense and government investigations practice. Brown Rudnick has added Merri Moken as a partner in the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice.

Paul Hastings Hires Morrison & Foerster’s Silicon Valley Litigation Leader

Rudy Kim, an IP litigator for the likes of Tencent and Uber, has joined Paul Hastings in Palo Alto.

Morgan Lewis Lands 10 Stroock Consumer Finance Lawyers on Both Coasts

Five lawyers, including three partners, have already arrived at Morgan Lewis. The new arrivals will be based in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles and Century City.

Employment Chairs Lead Mass Departure From Lewis Brisbois To Newly Launched Firm

Barber Ranen now has over 110 lawyers focusing on commercial and employment litigation in 12 geographic markets throughout the U.S. Firmwide managing partner John Barber expects that number to grow to between 125 and 140 by the middle of the month.

Peru’s Estudio Muñiz Loses Head of IP and Life Sciences Practice to Local Boutique

Marta Fernández Pepper will lead the IP and life sciences practice at Diez Canseco Abogados, leaving behind a firm she has worked at for nearly three decades.

Longtime Borden Ladner Partner With Big Bank Expertise Joins Gowling WLG in Montreal

Mathieu Lévesque was at Borden Ladner Gervais for nearly 20 years and was the regional leader of the firm’s banking litigation group.

Cory Sherman Joins Cassels as Co-lead of Its Commercial Leasing Team

Sherman makes the move to Big Law after 25 years in a boutique firm he co-founded. Cassels also added a partner in Calgary but lost one in Vancouver.


Wake Forest Goes Outside to Replace GC Who’s Retiring After 40 Years With School

Brian White comes to Wake Forest from the University of Kansas, where he was GC. Earlier in his career, he was with the University of Iowa.

After Rough Stretch, Fintech With Big Ambitions Hires Legal Chief

Pagaya Technologies is charging ahead with expansion, despite seeing its market cap shrink from $20 billion to less than $1 billion. Eric Watson has joined Pagaya Technologies as chief legal officer.

Insurtech Unicorn Next Taps Fast-Rising Attorney as GC

Rachel Jrade-Rice is taking the legal reins of a tech-driven insurer that reached a $4 billion valuation just six years after its founding.

Deputy GC at Sleep Apnea Device Maker Gets Dream Job

Medical device maker ResMed Corp. has promoted from within to replace global general counsel David Pendarvis, who retires June 30 after 21 years as legal chief. Michael Rider, currently senior vice president and deputy general counsel, will also take on Pendarvis’ role as secretary of the San Diego-based company perhaps best known for its sleep apnea machines.

MADD Names Nonprofit Veteran as Legal Chief Amid Executive-Hiring Spree

Saerin Cho has taken the legal reins of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which launched in 1980 to fight impaired driving and underage drinking and to assist victims of impaired-driving accidents.

Telemedicine Unicorn Scoops Up Fintech Veteran to Lead Legal Team

Beth Stevens has taken the legal reins of Sword Health. It’s the latest in a string of legal leadership roles for Stevens at fast-growing startups in highly regulated industries.

Girl Scouts Replaces GC Who Became Federal Judge

Diana Beinart, a former White House lawyer who most recently was GC of New York City Department of Finance, will take the reins of the 550-employee nonprofit.

Promotions & Appointments:

Dentons Cohen & Grigsby Announces First Female CEO

Christie Tillapaugh replaces outgoing CEO Christopher Carson on Oct. 1.

Sweep of New Practice Leaders at Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Eversheds

Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Eversheds Sutherland have announced a number of practice management changes. Clifford Chance has appointed New York-based Zarrar Sehgal as the new head of the firm’s global asset finance group.

Watson Farley and Bird & Bird Continue Industry Trend of Increased Partner Promotions

Watson Farley’s promotions follow the recent announcements of offices in Seoul and Tokyo. Watson Farley has promoted 11 of its lawyers to partner, bringing the total number of partners at the firm to 195. Three promotions are in London, two in Rome, with one partner each in Madrid, Tokyo, New York, Seoul, Singapore, and Dusseldorf.

Office Openings & Closing:

Texas Catching the Eye of More Big U.K. Firms

Ashurst and Clyde & Co. are among the large U.K.-founded firms that recently launched small offices in Texas.

Trowers & Hamlins Latest Firm to Seize on India’s Market Liberalisation

Trowers & Hamlins has announced the launch of a new India desk in the latest example of international law firms seizing on new opportunities as India eases entry to foreign law firms.

Canadian Law Firm Bennett Jones Plants Flag in Montreal Market

The Western Canadian firm says it sees new opportunities as well as synergies for its lawyers and clients in Montreal.

Spain’s ECIJA Rolls Out Advisory Offering in Mexico and Elsewhere in Latin America

The business seeks to offer a more comprehensive service to legal clients in need of financial, accounting and other guidance.

Taylor Wessing Takes On More Space in London HQ

A number of firms have been mulling office changes in recent months amid a wider trend back to workplaces.


Thompson Coburn Rides Litigation, Corporate Work to 8.5% Revenue Growth

COO Allen Capdeboscq said the firm’s client and practice mix bodes well for the firm to have consistent growth: “Our largest clients account for only 3% of our revenue. We’re not relying on one particular group.”

Riding the Energy Sector Wave, Bracewell Improves Revenue, Profits

Revenue improved by 4.8% in 2022, following a small decline the prior year, due to the volume of work in transactional, litigation and regulatory practices.

Dickinson Wright Rides Litigation, Corporate Work to 11.6% Revenue Growth in Record Year

A strong showing in litigation and a bump in corporate work, a rarity in 2022, saw the Detroit-based firm cross the $300 million mark in revenue for the first time.

Big Law Surprisingly ‘Strong’ so Far in 2023, but More Cuts Could Be on the Way

“Revenue growth was strongest among the largest firms, reverse of the results experienced in 2022 when the Am Law 51-100 outpaced the Am Law 1-50,” according to Wells Fargo analysts.

Withers Calls On Junior Partners to Stump Up as LLP Accounts Show Cash Fall

The firm’s recently-filed accounts show its overdraft balance is higher than its cash level.

Riding the Energy Sector Wave, Bracewell Improves Revenue, Profits

The London and Dubai offices each posted their highest revenue ever, the firm said.

Technology & Innovation:

Navigating the Risks and Opportunities of ChatGPT

The Implications of Data Breaches and Generative AI Platforms for the Legal Industry. The pros and cons that law firms should consider before incorporating generative AI.

AI and Cybersecurity: Possible New Risks and Legal Implications

In this article, we explore the intersection of AI and cybersecurity, including the main risks and best practices for organizations that develop or deploy AI tools, while also considering the future of AI regulation.

Access to International Legal Tech a Key Factor in Liberalization of India’s Legal Market

Indian attorneys are eying e-billing, practice management and matter management solutions from international vendors as they cope with the demands of the country’s population, and a newly opened legal market.

How to Stay on Top of Cybersecurity Disclosures as SEC Ramps Up Enforcement

It is critical companies take stock of their cyber hygiene policies and incident response protocols, and not only manage cybersecurity risks and prevent attacks, but also respond to them with proper disclosures.

Taking Different Paths: How US, EU Approach Generative AI Privacy, Security Concerns

From regulations to investigations and enforcement actions, generative AI-powered tools have received growing attention in recent months. During “The Age of AI: A Proskauer Webinar Series-Privacy and Data Security” webinar, panelists discussed some of the different approaches taken by the EU, U.S. and U.K. to regulate this technology.

New LLM Shield Tool Blocks ChatGPT from Accessing Sensitive Legal Information

The latest offering from serial tech entrepreneur Wayne Chang, LLM Shield aims to stop sensitive data leakage through tools like ChatGPT: “There’s no reason why, in order to use … AI and get the power that it brings, we have to give up our secrets, right?,” Chang says.

Diversity & Inclusion:

GCs Can Play a Key Role Helping ‘Neurodivergent’ Employees Thrive

“Neurodiversity is an asset to any workplace, due to the unique styles of thinking and problem-solving,” said Ashlee Grant, a Baker & Hostetler partner.

Women Lawyers Want Better Work-Life Balance, Proper Support From Firms

A survey of nearly 200 women lawyers, mostly associates, cites “thoroughly depressing” reasons for why they leave their Am Law 200 firm, such as a lack of support in providing maternity leave or childcare and the stress of meeting billable-hour targets.

Disability Claims May Trip Up Bosses With Hard-Line Back-to-Office Policies

“The pandemic was, and to a certain extent still is, a lengthy mind- and body-altering experience that workers made serious adaptations to deal with. Any expectation of a quick and easy return to the ‘old normal’ ignores that reality,” said C. Tyson Gorman, a Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs partner.

Market Commentary:

Will Artificial Intelligence Finally Kill the Billable Hour?

There are two very different compensation structures in the legal industry, and as innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) prove their productivity-enhancing capabilities it’s important to acknowledge that only one is incentivized to embrace it.

A&O and Linklaters Ended the Pay War—But At What Cost?

The two firms finally decided to match rivals on salaries last week but have they lost out after a year of being behind?

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