Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: DLA Piper makes commercial contracts play, as Global 100 firms make key hires

In a busy start to the year, DLA Piper has strengthened its commercial practice with the appointment of two lawyers from Simmons & Simmons, while Global 100 firms K&L Gates, Cooley and White & Case have all made lateral hires.

DLA has taken Simmons’ international commercial practice head as it builds up its commercial contracts practice. Mark Dewar, who had been at Simmons for 28 years, joins DLA’s London office with senior associate Michiko Jo.

Dewar’s expertise is in supply chain contracts, consumer product issues and commercial transactions involving consumer finance businesses. DLA global co-head of commercial contracts and distribution Iain Bowler said: ‘Mark’s experience is unsurpassed and with the addition of Michiko we will be able to offer clients an even deeper sector expertise which covers the spectrum of commercial and business law issues.’

Dewar’s move follows DLA’s hire of Slaughter and May finance partner Mark Dwyer, who moved along with Baker & McKenzie structured finance veteran Vincent Keaveny in December.

Meanwhile, K&L Gates has added Pinsent Masons partner John Gilbert to its London energy and arbitration practice. Gilbert has experience working in the dispute resolution team at BP and his experience includes oil and gas exploration, construction, and power generation.

K&L Gates London administration partner Tony Griffiths said: ‘With price pressure affecting the oil & gas industry, we have seen increased demand for dispute resolution advice.’

In Europe, Ashurst has hired Alexander Ballmann from CMS Hasche Sigle, the German arm of the CMS group. Ballmann will join Ashurst’s Munich office as partner in its global restructuring and special situations group. He is the third new partner to join the German practice in the last five months, following the appointments of M&A partners Thomas Sacher and Detmar Loff, who joined from Allen & Overy in October. Going the other way, Ashurst has lost restructuring partner Ingo Scholz to Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Scholz was a partner at Ashurst since 2006 as particular expertise in complex bondholder restructurings and joins Weil’s Frankfurt office. 

Further afield, Cooley has expanded its global M&A practice with the hire of Steven Tonsfeldt, who joins from O’Melveny & Myers where he was the chair of global M&A and private equity. A 25-year veteran of Silicon Valley, Tonsfeldt’s practice focuses on domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, contested transactions, hostile takeovers and defence planning.

In Asia, White & Case has hired Paul Hastings partner Catherine Tsang to join its Hong Kong office. Tsang specialises in corporate transactions and capital markets, and has more than 15 years’ experience.

White & Case Asia head Eric Berg said: ‘Catherine’s arrival, which follows the recent additions in Asia of private equity and corporate partners Peggy Wang and KS Kim, reflects our ongoing ambition to expand our M&A and capital markets capabilities across the region.’