UK & Ireland
RPC has hired Dentons’ deputy general counsel as its first-ever in-house legal chief. Reshma Raja has joined RPC as its general counsel.
Paul Hastings has high ambitions for the four-partner finance team the firm lured from Latham & Watkins in London this month, noting on Monday that the group “brings key lending relationships with virtually every major investment bank and private credit institution.”
Sophie Donnithorne-Tait joins Macfarlanes from Akin Gump where she had been a partner for the past five years, according to a statement by Macfarlanes on Monday.
The new members include Adrian Cole, Dmitri Evseev, Dana MacGrath and Eun Young Park, all previously partners at major international law firms including King & Spalding, Arnold & Porter, Sidley Austin and Kim & Chang.
Eversheds Sutherland has hired an experienced real estate partner to its Munich office. Stefan Fink joins the firm from Advant Beiten, according to a firm release, an appointment driven by a growing demand for a greater focus on ESG matters, including changing work patterns in a post-pandemic environment which have driven an increase in real estate advice needed from clients.
Joining Norton Rose this month, Alexandra Rogers joined White & Case as an associate in 2008 and was promoted to local partner in 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Linklaters has hired two structured finance partners in New York from Alston & Bird to bolster its US capital markets practice. The duo, Joseph Gambino and Peter Williams, are joined by senior associate Elizabeth Walker.
Three Rimon PC partners have left the firm to launch KXT Law, a six-lawyer commercial litigation and intellectual property boutique in Silicon Valley. Karineh Khachatourian, David Xue and Amir Tabarrok are spearheading the venture with three more lawyers and three support staff.
Despite an industry-wide slowdown in M&A and a broader macroeconomic malaise, the biggest and most profitable law firms are still “full-speed ahead” on hiring transactional talent. That includes Latham & Watkins, which, through the first two quarters of the year, has announced several hires in the corporate and M&A space, with a particular focus on investment funds, insurance transactions and private equity. The hires have often been in the biggest markets, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley, and from rivals such as Kirkland & Ellis, Clifford Chance and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Linklaters is looking to replenish its bench in New York with the hire of Peter Williams, Elizabeth Walker, and Joseph Gambino from Alston & Bird.
Promotions & Appointments:
Clifford Chance has added five new members to its leadership team, including a global head of corporate from its US offices and an inaugural operations and business transformation partner.
Pinsent Masons has elected a new senior partner, as the incumbent Richard Foley stands down after eight years. The firm has named Andrew Masraf as Foley’s successor. Masraf is a private equity lawyer, who joined Pinsents as a trainee in 1993.
Baker McKenzie has refreshed its global practice group and industry leadership teams, as well as extended the terms of three group chairs. Four areas have seen new appointments: the global technology, media and telecoms industry group, the global industrials, manufacturing and transportation industry group, the global capital markets group, and the energy, mining and infrastructure group.
Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has hired a partner from White & Case in Brussels and appointed a new office head – Miranda Cole – on predecessor Jay Modrall’s retirement from the partnership.
Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom has named corporate partner Lorenzo Corte head of its global transactions group after the passing of Scott Simpson in May.
Mergers & Alliances:
“I acted for a client 20-odd years ago that went from 50 firms on its panel to 12, and we thought that was absolutely revolutionary,” says BLM’s legacy senior partner Matthew Harrington. “Now clients are looking at panel sizes, certainly in the general insurance market, of two to three firms.”
US firm Cooley will operate as a single entity in Hong Kong having completed the required three-year association period with local firm CYL & Partners. The combined entity will operate as Cooley HK and will be led by former Skadden corporate partner Will Cai. Cooley said the move was completed on 30 June and had always been part of the firm’s plans since entering Hong Kong in 2019.
Womble Bond Dickinson is set to launch in San Francisco through a tie-up with regional firm Cooper White & Cooper. The move adds 17 lawyers including 11 partners to Womble Bond’s California network, which currently consists of offices in Los Angeles, Palo Alto and Irvine, and will bring the firm’s lawyer headcount in the state to more than 50.
Office Openings & Closing:
The insurance leader is opening a base in Brisbane and expects strong growth in investment and industry in Queensland.
U.K. top 50 firm Slater and Gordon has opened an office in London, located at Chancery Lane, despite stating in May 2020 that it was shuttering its High Holborn City base and all 200 London employees would work from home permanently.
Latham & Watkins has overtaken long-term leader Baker McKenzie to become the largest U.S.-centered law firm in London by headcount. Latham now has around 550 lawyers in its London office, including 122 partners, according to a firm spokesperson, putting it ahead of last year’s leader Baker McKenzie, which has approximately 525.
Allen & Overy’s turnover jumped 10 per cent over 2021/22, while average profit per equity partner (PEP) was just short of the £2m mark. The firm is the first of the magic circle to report, also making it the largest outfit to declare its numbers so far. Revenue rose from £1.77bn to £1.94bn, as profits grew by a similar percentage from £822m to £900m.
TLT’s revenue has increased by 31 per cent over 2021/22, enabling it to hit a target set for 2025. Turnover leapt from £110m to £144m. This means the firm has reached its target of hitting £140m in revenue by 2025 – part of its four-year firmwide strategy launched in 2021 – three years early.
Average profit per equity partner rose 6 per cent at Herbert Smith Freehills, the firm’s first financial results since the unveiling of its new strategy. Profits increased 4 per cent from £366.9m to £381.2m, while both revenue and profit per equity partner (PEP) were up 6 per cent each. Turnover reached £1.103bn with PEP at £1.16m.
Simmons & Simmons’ average profit per equity partner (PEP) has broken the £1m barrier, having increased 2 per cent from £979,000 to £1.002m over the past financial year. Meanwhile, total revenue grew 6 per cent from £437m to £465m, and profit rose 8 per cent from £170.9m to £185m over 2021/22.
The BBC has released its highest-paid earners for 2021/22, identifying six lawyers within the top payment brackets.
The firm, however, reported minimal organic growth, climbing net debt and ebbing profits amid a share price slump, which it attributed to the pandemic.
Baker McKenzie has increased its newly qualified lawyer base pay by 4.7% from £105,000 to £110,000, effective from July 1.
Technology & Innovation:
Gleiss Lutz has become the first German law firm to secure a land site in Decentraland to open an office in the Metaverse. The office will be led by Stuttgart partner Eric Wagner, who co-leads the firm’s legal tech department.
The Global Legal Post today launches a comparative jurisdictional guide to help brands combat counterfeiting as trade in fake goods continues to proliferate. The online resource, under the Law Over Borders brand, is edited by Lorne M. Lipkus, founding partner at Toronto firm Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus and an expert on all aspects of anti-counterfeiting enforcement throughout Canada.
Global Legal Post is a media sponsor for the three-day legal and tech conference, which is run by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) and starts on 20 July. The first day will take place at the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel for a virtual reality metaverse exhibition, followed by a two-day online conference to discuss the implications of the metaverse and web 3.0 trends such as blockchain and 5G technology on the legal industry.
The Global Lawyer: A notable rise in a variety of disputes appears to signal the start of a new economic cycle for large law firms.
The U.K. High Court has permitted a claimant to serve court proceedings via an NFT on the blockchain in a ruling with potentially far-reaching implications. The order, which was granted on 24 June but only made public this week, allowed an Italian businessman to serve proceedings on ‘persons unknown’ by way of a non-fungible token drop to two wallets into which he had initially deposited cryptocurrency.
Diversity & Inclusion:
While the issue is not new, it has been thrust into the spotlight again courtesy of Clifford Chance corporate partner Katherine Moir thanks to her personal recount of how she balances being a mother with her job on LinkedIn recently. With her attention-grabbing headline of: “YOU CAN BE A LAW FIRM PARTNER AND BE A HANDS ON PARENT,” Moir, who has been a partner at Clifford Chance since 2016, shared her thoughts in an honest post.
Clifford Chance has become the latest law firm to hand its junior people in London a bonus, as the cost of living soars in the U.K. The firm has handed out lump sums of £1500 to its trainees and business services professionals, taking into account the current financial environment in the U.K.
A variety of law firms are drawing up ethics and ESG policies as they attempt to navigate an increasingly politicised business environment. Simmons & Simmons, Hill Dickinson, CMS and Katten Muchin Rosenman are finalising policies and frameworks to assess incoming client matters against firm values and ESG agendas.
Ukrainian Legal Developments:
At the conclusion of the first Ukraine Recovery Conference in Switzerland on July 4-5, representatives of 42 donor countries and five international organizations issued the Lugano Declaration. This document identified seven Lugano Principles for the rebuilding of Ukraine. The third principle stressed the central importance of legal system reform. “The recovery process has to be transparent and accountable to the people of Ukraine. The rule of law must be systematically strengthened and corruption eradicated,” it stated.