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Nine European partners down in one week at KWM as restructuring brings unintended consequences

Just four days after losing a six-partner private equity team in Paris to Goodwin Procter, three partners have left King & Wood Mallesons‘ London office for Mishcon de Reya, Dentons and Goodwin Procter.

David Rose, KWM’s head of intellectual property, is departing for Mishcons – while IP partner Campbell Forsyth and commercial partner Gretchen Scott depart for Dentons and Goodwin Procter respectively.

The exits are not part of a restructuring of the legacy SJ Berwin practice by KWM that has seen around 24 partners asked to leave the firm. Instead, just two weeks after informing the European and Middle Eastern partnership that 15% of partners would be axed alongside 45 business support staff in London, the firm has seen nine partners in Paris and London exit of their own accord.

KWM Europe and Middle East senior partner Stephen Kon said: ‘I would like to express our particular thanks to David who has been with the firm for 24 years and has been an outstanding partner and colleague. He leaves the firm as a friend, and with our very best wishes for his continued success.’

Rose reunites at Mishcons with his predecessor as IP head at KWM, Ray Black, who made the same switch last summer. His client list includes retailer Marks & Spencer and broadcaster Sky.

Forsyth, meanwhile, joins Dentons as part of a play to build up its patent litigation practice. Dentons UK head of TMT Catherine Bingham said that the firm anticipates the advent of the Unitary Patent Court system in Europe to bring ‘a dramatic rise in demand for patent litigation advice’ and ‘Campbell’s arrival positions us extremely well to capitalise on this opportunity given that the UK is frequently the focal point in Europe for cross-border patent litigation’.

For Goodwin Procter, the arrival of Gretchen Scott takes the firm up to seven lateral hires from KWM in just a week, given the six-partner arrival in France that included Paris managing partner and co-head of corporate Christophe Digoy. KWM has proved to be fertile hunting ground to feed the ambitions of Goodwin Procter, with the Hong Kong-headquartered firm’s corporate co-head Richard Lever and finance partner Simon Fulbrook both switching to Goodwin last year.