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Full steam ahead: Squire’s Singapore office grows in commodities and shipping as Latham hires Linklaters partner in Germany

Lateral hiring was in full swing last week, as international firms bolstered their corporate, private equity, real estate and shipping capabilities, with partner hires across offices in Germany and Singapore.

In the Asia Pacific region, Joel Cockerell became the seventh new partner to join Squire Patton Boggs’ expanding commodities and shipping industry group in the firm’s Singapore office, following the recent arrival of partner Marco Crusafio to its Milan office.

Speaking to Legal Business, Cockerell said: ‘The firm’s growth in Singapore has been ongoing and this is one of the reasons why I chose to join the team. Many firms in the commodities and shipping space are either contracting or at best, remaining stagnant. This team has grown exponentially and are continuing to build.’

Barry Stimpson, managing partner of the firm’s Singapore office and co-lead of the commodities and shipping industry practice, said: ‘We have grown impressively over the last few years, even during Covid-19. Since Kate Sherrard’s arrival form Clifford Chance in January 2021, who specialises in the financing of maritime and offshore oil and gas assets, our presence has grown across four continents and this is important for our clients, as their world is becoming increasingly international.’

Qualified as a mariner and solicitor, Cockerell joins from HFW’s Singapore office and specialises in admiralty work, including vessel casualties, collisions, groundings, salvage, pollution, wreck removal and hull and machinery insurance claims. Prior to qualifying as a solicitor, Cockerell served for 12 years as an officer with the Royal Australian Navy.

Stimpson continued: ‘Joel’s arrival is incredibly significant, in terms of the market perception of us as a firm. There are many who simply do dry shipping work, but fewer and fewer firms can say they have somebody who is a mariner and has spent time at sea, who can do the big casualty work. This is a rare commodity and something we have been working to get ever since we started the group three years ago.’

According to Allianz’s (AGCS) safety and shipping review, South China, Indochina, Indonesia, and the Philippines remain the locations for shipping losses, but the total number of losses declined over the last year, representing a 57% decrease in the last decade. However, the number of casualties has risen, with machinery damage accounting for more than one-in-three incidents globally, followed by collision and fires. Cockerell noted that the casualties are getting larger, and more complex to handle so he is expecting to hit the ground running.

In the corporate sector, Ashurst’s Singapore ally, ADTLaw, hired Tao Koon Chiam and his team, including partners Xiaozheng Ko and Yi Ming Choo, and counsel George Kho, from Allen & Gledhill. Chiam previously co-led the firm’s venture capital practice and has now joined ADTLaw as head of M&A for Southeast Asia, bringing experience in private equity, venture capital, joint ventures, corporate restructuring, and M&A transactions.

Meanwhile in Germany, Latham & Watkins welcomed Carsten Loll to its real estate practice, where he will split his time between the firm’s Frankfurt and Munich offices. Loll, who previously headed up DLA Piper’s international and German real estate group, joins the firm after five years at Linklaters and advises on asset and share deals and portfolio transactions across all major asset classes, including offices, retail, and logistics. Loll is praised as ‘an excellent contact in all areas of real estate law’, and also ‘well-connected and recognised in the market’, in The Legal 500.

Speaking to Legal Business, global co-chair of the firm’s real estate practice, Michael Haas, said: ‘We are beyond excited to have Carsten Loll join our team and bolster our private equity real estate capability in the region. He is a talented lawyer with a fantastic reputation in the market. We are looking to consolidate our real estate practice in Europe, and Loll’s arrival will undoubtedly contribute to this growth.’

Continuing the trend in Germany, Shearman & Sterling saw the departure of Winfried Carli to Goodwin’s recently opened Munich office. Carli is the latest to join the private equity practice following a raft of hires from top tier firms, including Sidley Austin and Reed Smith. Carli handles domestic and cross‐border bank finance and restructuring matters, with a particular focus on advising private equity funds, debt funds and financial institutions on acquisition financings.