Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: Kennedys expands Down Under while WFW kickstarts Italian practice

In another hectic week of lateral partner recruitment, Kennedys has launched a new Perth office via a team hire while a host of other firms strengthened their global benches.

The firm has established its 43rd office globally by hiring a nine-lawyer Australian insurance team from rivals Clyde & Co. Jonathan Wyatt is the sole partner leading the team and specialises in marine, property, financial lines and liability insurance.

Kennedys partner in Australia, Matt Andrews, said: ‘Kennedys is committed to providing the best on-the-ground capability wherever our clients need it. The appointment of a partner of Jonathan’s calibre and his team makes good on that promise and will ensure that our clients have seamless access to Kennedys’ expertise.’

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has made a significant European expansion, launching an employment law practice in Rome by hiring local specialist Giuseppe Bulgarini d’Elci as a partner. Joining from Italian firm Carnelutti where he was head of labour law, Bulgarini d’Elci arrives as part of a team with a counsel, associate and trainee.

Bulgarini d’Elci advises clients on corporate reorganisation procedures including staff retraining, redundancies, negotiating complex collective agreements and business transfer processes.

The firm has also added to its Bangkok office through the hire of corporate and commercial partner Lui Ratprasatporn, who arrives from Thai firm Tilleke and Gibbins. Ratprasatporn advises domestic and international clients on investing in Thailand, specialising in areas such as M&A, ownership structures and relevant regulation. She is joined in her move by a senior associate and an associate.

Steven Burkill, head of WFW’s Bangkok office, said: ‘Lui and her team’s stellar reputation and wide-ranging expertise will not only broaden our corporate offering in Thailand, but also strengthen WFW’s standing as leading legal advisers across the entire Asia-Pacific region.’

K&L Gates has made a concerted international recruitment drive this week, hiring a partner in both Paris and Shanghai. Tax partner Roberta Chang has been appointed to the Shanghai office, joining from Hogan Lovells, where she was head of its China tax group. She regularly advises multinational companies on cross-border tax issues in acquisitions and joint ventures, restructurings, financings and dissolutions.

And in Paris, the firm welcomed real estate partner Denis Charles, who switched from Pinsent Masons’ French practice. Arriving alongside an associate, Charles focuses on real estate transactions across a range of industries including infrastructure, logistics and hospitality.

Co-leader of K&L Gates’ real estate practice, Wayne Smith, said: ‘The international nature of Denis’ practice dovetails extremely well with our cross-border capabilities and client mix and we are delighted that he is joining us.’

Pinsents has gone some way towards making up for losing a partner in Paris by hiring a corporate partner in Amsterdam. Alexander Spoor, who joins from Baker McKenzie, is a seasoned partner with a particular niche in the technology and life sciences sectors. He typically advises Dutch and foreign corporations on both domestic and cross-border transactions and joint ventures.

Pinsents’ Amsterdam office head, Wouter Seinen, said: ‘The firm’s aim is to develop a leading European offering for tech, diversified industries, life sciences and health care businesses. The Netherlands is a critical economic hub and is vital for us in achieving our ambition. Corporate capabilities will play an important role in how we advance and achieve our goals and we are confident Alexander will be an asset to the team.’

In London, Simmons & Simmons has hired technology and venture capital partner Frances Doherty, who arrives from Dorsey & Whitney. In her previous role, Doherty spent 20 years growing her practice to focus on emerging and high-growth companies in the fintech and healthtech industries.

Head of Simmons’ UK corporate group, Arthur Stewart, said: ‘Frances’ hire is an exciting addition to our TMT sector offering in the corporate practice and she will also work closely with our digital business team. Not only will her strength in growth and venture capital be an asset to our UK team, but there is also an exciting opportunity for her to collaborate with our growing international corporate practice which has now seen five partner hires during 2021.’

Keystone Law has bolstered its London aviation credentials through the appointment of Stewarts partner James Healy-Pratt. Healy-Pratt is a seasoned expert in resolving high-profile aviation accidents worldwide, while also offering significant experience in the aviation insurance market. He is also an accredited mediator and arbitrator.

Healy-Pratt outlined the benefits of joining Keystone: ‘Keystone’s innovative model allows me the freedom to focus on providing my clients with bespoke support and advice whilst maintaining excellent levels of service. I look forward to working collaboratively with other highly experienced lawyers and growing my practice at the firm.’

In a major move for the London Bar, veteran Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer arbitration partner Nigel Rawding QC has left the firm after almost 40 years to join Twenty Essex as a full-time arbitrator.

Rawding QC commented: ‘I have known most of the arbitrator members at Twenty Essex over many years and have always appreciated their experience and understanding, especially when appearing in front of them!  I have also had the great pleasure of working alongside barrister members of chambers in a number of commercial cases in the past. Having had the experience of working with so many great colleagues over so many years at Freshfields, I am delighted to be joining another highly talented and amiable group of experts in the international arbitration field.’

Fieldfisher has established a new head of funds after hiring former Simmons & Simmons partner Dale Gabbert. Gabbert, who previously headed Reed Smith’s Middle East and Africa funds practice, represents a variety of sponsors, such as boutiques and banks, on fund establishment.

Gabbert asserted that alongside Fieldfisher’s financial markets and products partner Guy Usher, he will ‘significantly scale up the private funds side of the practice’. He added: ‘Fieldfisher is an exceptionally well-run firm and my clients are excited about what Fieldfisher can do for them in London and across their European network.’

It has also been a busy week for London firm McCarthy Denning, hiring two energy partners. First, in Paris, the firm has appointed Michel Lequien, who joins from Ashurst’s French practice. Lequien specialises in energy projects in France, as well as across Europe and Africa. In London, McCarthy Denning has hired partner Peter Wright from Squire Patton Boggs. Wright has over 20 years’ experience assisting clients with domestic and international energy and infrastructure projects.

In Birmingham, Penningtons Manches Cooper has made a double partner hire from Shakespeare Martineau in the form of corporate specialists Adam McGiveron and Emma Bryant. McGiveron has a specific background in advising mid-market companies on mergers, acquisitions and private equity funding, while Bryant focuses on assisting growth companies on a range of corporate matters.

Penningtons partner Helen Drayton commented: ‘Adam and Emma are both highly rated corporate lawyers and will be a huge asset as we expand the practice into the Midlands. They have an excellent understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing businesses in the region, and great instincts around the rhythm and flow of the local market.’