Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: Bumper round of lateral recruitment sees Gibson Dunn hire from Morgan Stanley as Deloitte acquires Kemp Little

Team leader moves, in-house hires and even boutique firm acquisitions have all taken place in the past week as recruitment at home and abroad picked up significantly.

The standout hire of the week was Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher recruiting Matthew Nunan, formerly a managing director and EMEA head of conduct risk at Morgan Stanley, to focus on complex contentious financial regulatory investigations and disputes in London. Prior to Morgan Stanley, he was the head of wholesale enforcement at the UK Financial Conduct Authority and previously served as a case controller at the Serious Fraud Office and as a prosecution lawyer for the Department of Trade and Industry.

Jeff Trinklein, co-partner-in-charge of Gibson Dunn’s London office said: ‘Matt’s ability to understand both the regulatory and commercial positions inherent in complex investigations and disputes will fit nicely in our premier global enforcement and regulatory practice. His background complements that of our recent partner additions, Susy Bullock, formerly head of EMEA litigation at UBS, and Michelle Kirschner, a financial services regulatory partner who joined us last year.’

The most notable team hire came from the acquisition announced by Big Four firm Deloitte of leading IT boutique Kemp Little. The deal will see 29 partners and up to 57 lawyers from Kemp Little become part of Deloitte Legal, which will grow in the UK to more than 170 lawyers, up from approximately 85 currently.

Kemp Little, which was founded in 1997 as spin-out from Andersen Legal firm Garretts, has a successful track record in developing award-winning LegalTech products that are aligned to its technology focus, including Dupe Killer, an AI-powered IP protection tool, and 4Corners, a contract analysis system.

Richard Houston, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte North and South Europe, commented: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown that investment in technology will be a critical catalyst for the recovery of UK businesses. Business leaders are looking for more digital ways of operating, setting the stage for significant and longer-term cultural change. On completion, this transaction, with technology at its core, will ensure Deloitte Legal is well positioned to help businesses thrive as they transition to new ways of working.’

Elsewhere, HFW has boosted its renowned shipping practice with the hire of senior partner Paolo Ghirardani. He joined HFW’s London office on 2 November from Stephenson Harwood, where he was a partner for almost 30 years, including 15 years as the head of its global marine and international trade practice. He also spent the first seven years of his career at HFW, having joined as a trainee in 1983.

Leading private wealth and real estate firm Forsters announced that Dearbhla Quigley had joined the firm, also on 2 November, as a partner within its corporate practice. Quigley, a specialist in UK and cross-border corporate finance and M&A transaction with a strong track record across various sectors with specific expertise in capital markets and IPOs, joined from Fox Williams, where she was a partner for 18 months after joining from Watson, Farley & Williams.

Meanwhile, Cohen & Gresser announced that Stewarts’ Richard Kovalevsky QC will join the firm’s white-collar defence & regulation group as a partner in its London office. As head of financial crime at Stewarts, Kovalevsky QC has more than 30 years’ experience and knowledge gained through advising individuals and corporates in respect of their financial crime exposure. He is widely regarded as one of the leading financial crime practitioners, both domestically and internationally.

Also in London, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle announced a double partner hire from Stephenson Harwood this week. The New York-based firm has recruited Tony Edwards and Marc Hammerson, both senior corporate hands with specific experience in the energy sector and working for clients on corporate deals in emerging markets, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

And media, technology and IP law firm Wiggin has announced that telecoms expert Gordon Moir has joined the firm as a partner to lead a new telecoms practice, alongside specialist Michaela Lodlová and two additional team members. Moir joins from Shepherd and Wedderburn where he headed the telecommunications, technology and media regulatory team, specialising in complex issues relating to market access, regulation of next generation services and net neutrality. Prior to that he worked for BT, where he was general counsel of the retail division and head of the global competition and regulatory teams. Lodlová has over 15 years of experience in the telecoms and technology sector, both in private practice and in-house. Notably, she spent time with Openreach in the UK and with Etisalat, one of the leading operators in the Middle East, where she was part of the core team who recently negotiated regulated access to fixed passive telecommunications infrastructure, increasing competition between the two UAE licensees and fibre roll-out in the country.

Outside of London, Midlands heavyweight Shakespeare Martineau has appointed experienced CFO Paul Bird as its new chief finance officer. With more than 25 years’ experience – including setting up and running alternative legal provider Riverview Law – Bird has previously held several senior positions in the legal, technology, education and BPO sectors, and also led the sale of Riverview Law to Big Four giant EY.

Further afield, Squire Patton Boggs has appointed banking, Islamic finance and financial services regulatory expert Ahmed Butt as a partner in its financial services practice based in its Riyadh office. He joins from Simmons & Simmons, where he established that firm’s Riyadh presence, headed its Middle East banking practice and led its Saudi Arabia practice.

Meanwhile, global employment law firm Littler has launched in Spain through a combination with domestic firm Abdón Pedrajas, which has 39 attorneys and offices in Madrid and Barcelona. The move marks the tenth European country Littler has expanded into and brings its overall footprint to more than 1,500 attorneys across 23 countries.

Finally, leading German Euro Elite firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek has hired the Berlin employment law team of Dentons, led by partner Utz Andelewski and featuring partner Christopher Wiencke and two associates, adding to the existing Berlin team of partners Astrid Reich and Joachim Littig.