In a sign of the travails facing law firms doing business in ‘unusual jurisdictions’, Enyo Law has established an in-house business intelligence unit to help conduct due diligence and build business while it has also bolstered its ranks after partner Annabel Thomas exited for Mishcon de Reya earlier this week, hiring Eversheds partner Jonathan Brook.
Brook is joining Enyo in early July after just a year at Eversheds, having joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2014. Experienced in domestic and international disputes, and investigations by regulatory and law enforcement authorities, his most recent work includes advising London reinsurers in connection with losses in Ukraine.
The firm also broadened its offering with the hire of Paul Austin, former operations director of business intelligence and corporate investigations outfit Pelican Worldwide, who has been recruited to spearhead the firm’s new in-house business intelligence unit.
Having joined London-based Pelican as a partner in 2011, Austin has previously worked as a consultant to KPMG and served in government as a deployed civilian expert for the Department of International Development. He joins alongside Pelican research analyst Jan Daniel Grozdanovic.
Austin will act as an internal resource to conduct due diligence on clients, often from unconventional background and locations, before the firm engages with them and supervise, where appropriate, third-party investigatory services that the firm currently uses. Speaking to Legal Business, Enyo Law co-founder Simon Twigden (pictured) said: ‘It struck me this is something no one else really does at a law firm. We have clients in odd jurisdictions at times and do high profile disputes – it’s sometimes difficult to know who your client is – is it the person in front of you or is there a person behind them? So before we take on a client in an unusual jurisdiction, we have someone to help defend us from something we may not want to get into.’
‘We all deal with the Krolls of this world – and they have a lot of experience in the private investigator realm dealing with governments, informants and so on, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand the limits of what they can and cannot do. So we’ve someone in-house to control that process.’
The new unit is also being designed to help win pitches and clients through intelligence gathering. Twigden said: ‘When you’re pitching to people in different jurisdictions we can offer to do private investigator work on their opponent, find out where their assets are – so before you press the trigger, whether it’s a worldwide freezing injunction or simply issuing proceedings and before incurring massive costs, we can do the work confidentially in-house.
The firm is in good stead to invest, having enjoyed substantial financial growth for the 2013/14 year with revenue jumping 61% to over £14m from £8.8m while profits effectively doubled to £9.6m from £4.8m. The news also follows the departure of Enyo partner Annabel Thomas who is set to return to full service firm Mishcon de Reya.
For more on the rise of boutiques, see: Go your own way – legal boutiques and the seductive appeal of being your own boss