Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: Keystone makes a dozen senior hires as UK partner recruitment ramps up

Keystone Law has continued to attract senior lawyers to its non-traditional model, adding 12 partner-level hires across multiple practice areas.

Banking and finance partner Greg Kahn arrives from Dentons; employment of counsel Audrey Williams joins from Simmons & Simmons; construction and projects partner Claudia Otto switches from Armstrong Teasdale; restructuring and insolvency specialist Cory Bebb jumps over from JMW; while the former head of immigration at Edwin Coe, Dhruti Thakrar,  also makes the switch.

Keystone has also added commercial property expert Dagmara Selwyn-Kuczera from Goodman Derrick; fellow commercial property adviser Guy Hitchin from Marriott Harrison; tax specialist Paul McCourt from BDO; aviation and superyachts expert Ilona Avramenko from Bargate Murray; commercial partner Toby Ward from Alden Legal; regulatory specialist Rachel Amos from Walkers; and Alison Jones, an aviation expert with in-house experience from Asia Air Group.

James Knight, Keystone’s chief executive, summarised: ‘Keystone Law continues to attract a variety of experienced lawyers from some of the UK’s top law firms who want to break free from the constraints of the traditional model. The flexible and collaborative nature of the firm enables our lawyers to focus on their clients’ needs and provide the best service by having access to over 400 colleagues of the same high calibre. The distinct specialisms of our newest recruits will strengthen and complement this unique offering and I look forward to seeing their practices thrive at the firm.’

Meanwhile, in London, Baker McKenzie has made a major investment in its corporate team, appointing two counsel from Allen & Overy who will join as partners. Ash Tiwari is an M&A specialist who previously founded and co-headed A&O’s India M&A practice, while Rakesh Rathod focuses on group reorganisations, carve-out sales/acquisitions and spin-offs/demergers.

The pair take the number of partner hires to Baker McKenzie’s corporate team to 20 in the last four years. Ed Poulton, London managing partner, said: ‘We have made significant investments into our transactional teams to grow our bench-strength and to win a bigger share of the London M&A deal-flow. It’s been fantastic seeing this investment pay-off. Ash and Rakesh fit perfectly with our strategy and I look forward to welcoming them to the firm.’

Despite losing two senior corporate lawyers, A&O  will welcome senior civil fraud litigator Andy McGregor later this year. McGregor, who is currently head of civil fraud at RPC, has in-depth knowledge of handling fraud and financial disputes representing banks and other financial institutions, corporates and high-net-worth individuals.

Calum Burnett, head of A&O’s London litigation and investigations group, said: ‘Andy is a civil fraud litigation heavyweight who has built a fantastic practice. His expertise will be invaluable to our clients in helping them navigate high-value, high-stakes fraud litigation.’

Mishcon de Reya has also picked up a pair of partners as it gears up for its float, going some way towards making up for recent departures. From Dentons, the firm has hired patent litigation partner Campbell Forsyth. Forsyth is a highly experienced practitioner, who has represented clients in High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court patent actions. He focuses on disputes across the pharmaceuticals, electronics, mechanical and telecoms sectors.

Joining him is health and safety partner Kizzy Augustin, who joins from Russell-Cooke. A solicitor-advocate, Augustin has significant experience defending companies, senior directors and employees in corporate manslaughter, fire safety, environmental and health and safety investigations and prosecutions.

Eversheds Sutherland went one better this week, appointing a trio of partners to boost its London and Dubai benches. In the City, it  hired corporate insurance partners Martin Mankabady and Adriana Cotter from Dentons, both of whom have strong experience of advising insurers on M&A and regulatory matters.

John Puritt, leader of Eversheds’ insurance practice group, said: ‘They are well known and respected on both sides of the Atlantic and their arrival reinforces the firm’s commitment to offering a truly global corporate and regulatory insurance practice to our clients.’

And in Dubai, Eversheds has established a new head of real estate for the Middle East, with Steven Henderson arriving as a partner from Baker McKenzie. In his new role, Henderson will focus on growing the practice in the region, harnessing business development opportunities through the firm’s local network and global platform to service clients within the UAE and beyond.

Mayer Brown has appointed Neil Hamilton as a partner in its banking and finance practice in London, following his switch from FisherBroyles. Hamilton is a veteran on securitisation and structured asset finance classes, advising arrangers, originators, managers, servicers and trustees on both.

Dominic Griffiths, Mayer Brown’s London managing partner, said: ‘He is an impressive lawyer, with considerable experience across a broad spectrum of securitisation asset classes, which will complement and further the growth of our practice. In addition, Neil has valuable experience advising clients on securitisation regulation, which makes Mayer Brown one of only a few firms with dedicated partner-level support in this area.’

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has hired a promising junior partner from Linklaters, with former managing associate Ryan Ayrton joining the firm. An infrastructure, projects and emerging markets specialist, Ayrton has particular expertise in multi-source brownfield infrastructure finance, greenfield project finance and ECA-backed transactions.

Ayrton said of his move: ‘With its long-standing focus on the energy and infrastructure sector, as well as strong entrepreneurial culture, WFW is an ideal and attractive platform from which I can enhance and expand the service I offer my clients.’

TLT has expanded its corporate team in Bristol with the addition of Philip Barratt from Capital Law. At TLT, Barratt will work closely with the firm’s financial services sector team, advising clients on acquisitions, disposals, investments, joint ventures and governance arrangements, as well as corporate re-organisations and general corporate advice.

Barratt is ranked as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ in The Legal 500’s corporate and commercial category for Wales.

Winckworth Sherwood has boosted its employment and partnership practice with the arrival of partner Chris Garrett from Debevoise & Plimpton. Garrett brings with him 20 years’ experience practising employment and partnership law and data protection. Over the course of his extensive career, he has been seconded to major UK businesses, including the Royal Bank of Scotland and British Airways.

Kennedys has broadened its insurance and construction capabilities through the appointment of partner Paul Lowe from Weightmans. Lowe regularly advises on cases against a wide range of construction professionals and contractors including architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, project managers and approved building inspectors. He has expertise in managing high-value, technical, multi-party disputes.

Jeremy Riley, partner and head of liabilities at Kennedys, said: ‘Paul is well-known and highly respected across the industry, not only for his expertise but for his genuine passion and commitment to driving up standards and improving building safety.’

On the international front, Simmons & Simmons has announced the collective hire of 12 patent lawyers led by partners Fritz Lahrtz and Stephanie Nottrott from the Munich office of Isenbruck Bösl Hörschler. Lahrtz and Nottrott will join the Simmons team in Munich, significantly bolstering the firm’s bench strength for advising on healthcare and life sciences (HLS) matters in Europe.

Hans Hermann Aldenhoff, Simmons’ Germany head, said: ‘These hires are a vital step in expanding our footprint in Munich and our intellectual property bandwidth in Germany and across Europe. Not only are Fritz and Stephanie renowned patent attorneys, they are also specialists in the HLS sector, a key area of work for the firm. We will now be able to offer clients a full service for all their needs.’

Clyde & Co has made a significant aviation play in Washington DC, appointing Kenneth Quinn as a partner. Quinn, who was most recently a partner at Baker McKenzie but has also occupied a variety of in-house roles, is one of the most pre-eminent aviation lawyers in the US and globally due to his work on multiple aviation crises. This includes work from Pan Am 103 and the ValueJet crash, to 9/11 and telecom and aviation spectrum disputes.

Quinn commented: ‘I’m thrilled to join Clyde & Co’s international aviation practice, which I know well and have long regarded as the global top gun firm in aviation law. We’re supporting the industry on its emergence from the pandemic, helping them to embrace and shape the environmental, infrastructure, and technological changes on the horizon.’

Finally, in South Korea, Milbank has strengthened its corporate and M&A credentials with the addition of partner David Cho from Dechert. Cho, was previously Dechert’s co-managing partner for Asia and head of its Hong Kong office, predominantly advises multinational clients on transactions spanning a wide array of sectors.

David Zemans, managing partner of Milbank’s Asia practice and Singapore office, commented: ‘As one of the first international firms to have an office in Seoul, we are very proud of our commitment to the South Korean market. David’s wide range of experience and prominent presence in South Korea and across Asia make him the perfect addition to Milbank.’