Legal Business Blogs

KWM latest: European partnership buys more time before administration as Osborne Clarke takes top biller Couter

King & Wood Mallesons‘ (KWM) European partnership has filed a new intention of notice to appoint administrators as the firm continues to leak partners. The previous notice has now expired, having been valid for ten working days since 22 December when it was filed.

The new extension will give the firm’s various suitors more time to finalise deals to take on parts of the legacy business, including agreements about work in progress within already announced team moves such as those going to DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig, Reed Smith and KWM’s Chinese arm.

However, the second notice may not necessarily last for another ten days, as such notices can be halted at any point by the firm or its creditors.

In London, the Chinese arm is reportedly targeting the banking, corporate and litigation teams.

Meanwhile, Osborne Clarke has made a key hire with top ten biller Rachel Couter. Couter had been a partner at KWM since 2010 and was head of the firm’s contentious financial services regulatory practice.

Her hire follows Osborne Clarke’s appointment of Addleshaw Goddard finreg partner Nikki Worden.

Baker Botts has hired the firm’s head of energy and infrastructure, James Douglass as Mishcon de Reya has also taken on partner Shaistah Akhta to join its disputes team. In addition Squire Patton Boggs has appointed real estate partner John Danahy from KWM, who will be joining the firm’s London office.

Danahy focuses on energy and infrastructure real estate, as well as traditional real estate development and property investment work. His energy sector experience encompasses conventional, renewable and nuclear power, distributed energy networks and rail infrastructure and pipelines.

Separately, Simmons & Simmons also announced it has hired from KWM in financial markets and banking, with co-head of KWM’s Africa group Cindy Valentine and banking partner Jen Yee Chan joining the firm.

Valentine has a core focus on Africa and a strong track record in the private fund formation and investment sector while Chan’s practice focuses on funds finance and general bank lending.

Legal Business reported earlier this week that subject to due diligence, Reed Smith is likely to take on the largest group of partners from the global giant’s beleaguered European arm.

The US firm is talking to partners in France, Germany and London, and has been targeting practices such as financial regulation, funds, tax and private equity.

Among others, it is in talks with KWM’s finreg team in London led by partner David Calligan, M&A specialist Mark Sanders, co-head of funds in Paris Arnaud David, head of tax Sylvie Vansteenkiste and head of EU, competition and regulatory Marc Levy in Paris, among others.