Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: CMS makes double corporate play in London as New Year hiring spree gathers momentum

In an extraordinarily busy week for partner recruitment, CMS has made an eye-catching corporate play in London with two Magic Circle hires.

Financial services M&A partner Emma Clark arrives from Linklaters, while private equity specialist Edward Holmes joins from Clifford Chance, where he was a senior associate. The double addition will bring the number of partners in the CMS corporate practice to 79 in the UK.

Victoria Henry, co-head of the UK corporate group at CMS, said: ‘Our corporate financial services and private equity teams have delivered a number of high-profile transactions over the last year and having Emma and Ed on board will greatly enhance our ability to service these transactions. Financial services and private equity are two key growth areas for the firm and will play an important role in the future of the practice.’

Also expanding in London was Goodwin, as the firm looked to Kirkland & Ellis for its latest antitrust hire. Sarah Jordan joins as a partner, bringing with her a broad experience of advising on European and UK competition law matters, particularly in the field of merger control. She is ranked as a ‘Leading Individual’ in The Legal 500’s EU and Competition law category.

Co-chair of Goodwin’s London office, Gemma Roberts, said: ‘We believe Sarah will be an exceptional addition to the team as we collaborate with our market-leading M&A, private equity, life sciences, technology and real estate industry practices.’

Kingsley Napley has launched a new international protection practice, appointing former Cloth Fair Chambers barrister Aaron Watkins as co-head of the new service. Watkins has a considerable background in the fields of extradition, mutual legal assistance and connected areas such as asylum, public law and financial crime.

The focus of the new practice will be on helping high-net-worth and high-profile clients who are under scrutiny and face the risk of prosecution by authorities. Watkins told Legal Business: ‘Kingsley Napley had recently set up this international protection team, which really overlaps with my areas of expertise and my thinking for the development of my own career. I wanted to join a team environment, so all the factors coincided nicely for me to join.’

He added: ‘In the mid to long term, the expectation is to pursue considered growth in terms of laterals, but it’s important that this doesn’t compromise the excellent standards of lawyers we have and can offer to our clients.’

Addleshaw Goddard has added a senior energy partner to its London team, bringing in Matthew Williams from Fieldfisher. Previously co-head of Fieldfisher’s energy and natural resources team, Williams will now join up with Addleshaw’s infrastructure projects and energy practice with a focus on M&A and projects in the zero-carbon power assets market.

‘We are really excited to bring Matthew into our team’, said Richard Goodfellow, head of the infrastructure projects and energy group at Addleshaw. ‘He has advised on some of the most valuable and strategic zero-carbon power transactions in recent years and is highly experienced in both renewable and non-renewable assets.’

As one partner leaves, another arrives at Fieldfisher. The firm has expanded its Manchester-based personal injury team with the hire of partner Keith Cundall from Irwin Mitchell. Cundall has spent over 15 years representing victims of road traffic collisions, accidents at work, cycling accidents and injuries caused during ‘adventure’ sport.

Jill Greenfield, head of serious injury at Fieldfisher, said of Cundall’s appointment: ‘Keith is a perfect fit for Fieldfisher’s growing Manchester team. His expertise and determination to fight hard for his clients exactly fits the ethos of our work where we intervene early following serious injuries to get the best outcome for clients to help them live their best possible lives.’

Also in London, DAC Beachcroft has significantly bolstered its insurance litigation capabilities with the hire of partners Ian Plumley and Jon Ogle, who join from Clyde & Co and Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) respectively.

Plumley has extensive experience of advising on large-scale policy coverage disputes arising from international casualty and complex property claims, while Ogle represents London market and overseas clients on complex, multi-jurisdictional insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes. Liam O’Connell, head of the global London team at DAC, described the pair as ‘pivotal appointments’ who would help the firm ‘build on our position as the global insurance industry’s legal adviser of choice’.

K&L Gates has strengthened its finance practice in London with the hire of partner Pete O’Hare from Watson Farley & Williams. O’Hare advises banks and financial institutions, lessors, and operators in the aviation sector, and has played a leading role in some of the industry’s most complex and innovative aircraft acquisitions, finance, and lease transactions.

‘Pete joining us marks another significant step in the development of our global aviation finance coverage,’ said Tony Griffiths, K&L Gates’ managing partner for Europe and the Middle East. ‘In particular, his relationships with European financial institutions – including in Dublin – further enhance and round out our European aviation sector capability.’

Also in London, Baker Botts has hired corporate partner David Marshall from NRF. Marshall has more than 20 years’ experience advising on all forms of M&A, with a particular focus on private equity, venture capital and growth capital transactions in the technology sector.

And, in NRF’s third partner departure in a week, Allen & Overy (A&O) has picked up finance litigation partner Michael Godden. Godden was previously head of litigation and dispute resolution for NRF’s EMEA business, and he has expertise in disputes related to derivatives, debt capital markets, commodities and trade finance, among other areas.

It marks a return for Godden, who originally trained at A&O and spent the first six years of his post-qualification career at the firm. A&O’s London litigation head Arnondo Chakrabarti commented: ‘London continues to be a leading centre for finance litigation, and A&O has one of the most highly regarded finance litigation practices in the market advising on both domestic and cross-border matters. Michael’s hire demonstrates our continued commitment to protecting the business of our most strategic finance clients.’

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has taken a duo of insurance partners from DLA Piper in London, with Melanie James and Tim Baumgartner making the switch. James was previously global co-chair of DLA’s insurance sector, with her practice spanning all aspects of non-contentious insurance transactions. Baumgartner meanwhile focuses his practice on corporate transactions relevant to the insurance industry, including both international and domestic M&A.

Prakash Paran, partner in Willkie’s insurance practice, said: ‘I’ve practised alongside Melanie and Tim for many years and I’m thrilled to be working with them again. They are not only extremely talented lawyers, but they are both a pleasure to work with.’

On the international front, Shoosmiths has opened a new office in Brussels focused on competition, EU and trade law advice. To staff the new office,  the firm has recruited Kiran Desai, formerly EU competition law leader at EY’s law division and prior to that managing partner of Mayer Brown’s own Brussels office.

A Brussels opening is a major step for Shoosmiths, its first office outside of the UK. Chief executive Simon Boss said: ‘The opening of a Brussels office meets our commitment to being able to advise clients, both national and international, on all aspects of law relevant to the UK. The EU is the UK’s largest trading partner and the influence of EU law on international jurisprudence and legal policy is significant.’

Meanwhile, Morgan Lewis has bolstered its private investment fund capabilities by adding a four-lawyer team in Chicago. The arriving team from Faegre Drinker is led by partners Zeke Johnson and Brian Jacobson, alongside associates Patrick Lucke and Jessica Parsons.

Jami McKeon, Morgan Lewis’ chair, said: ‘With Chicago cementing itself as a major financial centre and a home to both start-ups and high-performance, multinational companies, the team’s collective wealth of experience, entrepreneurial drive, and technical skill will be a day-one resource to our clients’ innovation and growth.’

In Paris, Ashurst has taken on a securitisation partner from Linklaters in the form of Agathe Motte. She specialises in advising French and European banks, funds and corporates on structured finance transactions. Motte will be bringing counsel Aurélien Fournier and associate Lucien Jarry along with her as part of the move.

Also in the French capital, NRF has appointed ex-DLA Piper financial services expert Sébastien Praicheux as a partner. Praicheux will add to NRF’s existing regulatory team in the region, expanding the firm’s French and EU financial services practices. He is ranked as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ by the Legal 500 in its French ‘Bank Regulatory’ category.

Finally, Pinsent Masons has made a corporate crime play in South Africa through the hire of partner Edward James, who joins from the local firm ENSafrica. James will work predominantly within the firm’s global energy and infrastructure sector groups and will enhance its forensics, criminal investigations, and compliance capabilities in Africa.

Junaid Banoobhai, head of Pinsents’ Johannesburg outpost, commented: ‘Edward brings significant compliance and corporate crime expertise, domestic market understanding and the right long-term thinking to help clients cultivate these opportunities and reap the rewards.’