Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: CMS continues recruitment drive with IP hire as Eversheds lures banking counsel from Linklaters

Continuing the frenetic pace set during last week’s round of lateral partner recruitment, CMS has hired a patent litigation specialist from Allen & Overy (A&O) in London.

Toby Sears, previously a senior associate at A&O, has broad experience advising on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters in the technology and life sciences sectors.  

Sarah Wright, head of IP at CMS UK, said Sears’ arrival ‘reaffirms the firm’s commitment to our IP practice’. She added: ‘His experience across patent litigation, with a focus on technology and life sciences, has obvious synergies with our broader client base and will prove extremely valuable as we continue to build our patent litigation practice and strengthen our offering to clients.’

Another Magic Circle firm losing a senior lawyer was Linklaters, as banking counsel Christopher Williams departed for Eversheds Sutherland. Williams, who is elevated to partner via the move, acts for both borrowers and finance providers across the credit spectrum on a wide range of debt financing transactions. His focus is on complex cross-border corporate acquisition financings, involving public takeovers and private acquisitions.

Simon Waller, head of Eversheds’ finance group, said: ‘Christopher brings a calibre of technical excellence and experience that will enable us to build on our success of delivering on an array of high value, complex debt finance matters for major corporates and financial institutions across the globe.’

Also in London, Withers has welcomed a new venture capital partner from Brown Rudnick in the form of Sarah Melaney. Melaney represents clients on a range of transatlantic corporate transactions, including venture capital, equity capital markets, M&A and corporate governance. James Shaw, head of the Withers tech team, described Melaney as ‘passionate’ and having ‘a huge amount of energy, which is exactly why she has such a great reputation in the tech market as a dealmaker’.

Orrick has added an eleventh partner to its London office since 2020, as the firm appointed Taylor Wessing’s employee incentives and executive compensation partner Anna Humphrey. Humphrey advises on the full range of employee incentive matters, including structuring and implementing the equity incentive arrangements of private and public companies and multinational groups.

Orrick’s London tech partner Shawn Atkinson said: ‘We are thrilled to have Anna join our team, which is experiencing client demand in London and globally at its highest levels. The war for talent is the most important issue in the European tech ecosystem today, and Anna will provide stellar strategic advice to our company and investor clients.’

Locke Lord has hired an IP partner in London from Lewis Silkin, with Dominic Farnsworth making the switch. Farnsworth previously led Lewis Silkin’s IP group, and his practice focuses on the management of global IP portfolios, IP-rich contracts, brand disputes and rights management. ‘Locke Lord has an exciting vision for expanding its strong European intellectual property presence, which maps my own desire to help grow a cutting-edge, innovative practice,’ Farnsworth said. ‘This is a firm ready to fulfil its potential.’

Addleshaw Goddard has boosted its retail and real estate capabilities with the hire of partner Daniel Sweeney from TLT. Joining the Manchester team, Sweeney is recognised for his expertise in advising retail and consumer businesses on their portfolio development and structuring.

At TLT, Sweeney helped launch the firm’s Manchester office in 2013 and went on to manage a 130-person team. Adrian Collins, divisional managing partner for real estate at Addleshaw, said: ‘We have a market-leading retail and consumer team and Daniel is a fantastic addition. An expert in retail, he is also able to bring dedicated real estate expertise and support clients in fast-developing areas, such as the evolving relationship between landlords and retailers and growing multichannel retail platforms.’

Kennedys has shown ambition in Scotland by hiring two new partners from Clyde & Co. Gavin Henderson was previously head of the insurance, financial and professional disputes department at Clydes, while Daniela Fusi acts for major composite and run off insurers, self-insured and multi-nationals handling predominantly high-value, complex and fatal claims.

Rory Jackson, managing partner of Kennedys Scotland, hailed the appointments: ‘After the challenges of Covid over the last two years, I am delighted to say that not only are we still delivering a first-class service to our clients but we are growing our team as well.

‘I’m certain that the experience and expertise Gavin and Daniela bring will continue to broaden, develop and enhance the service we provide to our clients across the country.’

Despite losing a partner to Withers in London, Brown Rudnick has made an ambitious move in New York, picking up a five-partner tech team from US firm McCarter & English. The partners are David Sorin, Scott Smedresman, Jared Sorin, Joseph Ferino, and Matthew Uretsky, and they are joined by associates Ken Franklin, Morgan Jones and Thomas Rezach.

The group is well-known for its work with venture capital firms and emerging growth companies, with a strong reputation for guiding companies and their leaders through the most complex business transactions, from early-stage ideation, formation and fundraising to IPOs and M&A. Neil Foster, co-chair of Brown Rudnick’s global technology group, declared that the team hire elevated the firm to ‘trusted leader’ status in a range of tech-related sectors.

Three Crowns has appointed a partner in Paris, with Shaparak Saleh joining from local dispute resolution boutique Teynie Pic. Saleh has acted as arbitration counsel in several commercial arbitrations, spanning disputes in the construction, energy, aeronautics, space, telecommunications, food, chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors.

In Germany, Goodwin has expanded its private equity practice with the addition of partner Florian Hirschmann from Reed Smith. Hirschmann chiefly assists clients with complex, cross-border private equity, M&A and venture capital transactions, as well as joint ventures. Hirschmann will be joined by his colleague and counsel Silvio McMiken in making the transfer.

Stephan Kock, chair of Goodwin’s Frankfurt office, commented: ‘Florian is the latest renowned market leader to join our Germany team and underscores our commitment to be the leading firm in the industry verticals in which our clients operate.’

In Asia, RPC has hired Ashurst’s Korean practice co-head Peter Kwon to launch its own ‘Korea desk’. Based in Hong Kong, Kwon will leverage his experience assisting Korean financial institutions, conglomerates and investment funds on major cross-border disputes and securities regulatory matters.

Linklaters has also established a new practice in Asia, hiring partner Joel Seow in Singapore from Morgan Lewis to launch an investment funds group. Seow has extensive experience advising sponsors in Asia on the establishment of private investment funds across various asset classes and jurisdictions.

Silke Bernard, global head of investment funds at Linklaters, commented: ‘His experience will be invaluable in helping us to establish a strong investment funds practice in Asia, working alongside our market-leading regulatory, corporate and finance practices to meet the growing demand from our clients and continue to deliver best in class service.’