Capping off a week of significant change in big law’s C-suites, Clifford Chance has appointed financial markets partner Charles Adams as its next managing partner.
Adams will succeed incumbent Matthew Layton on 1 May 2022, when he will commence a four-year term. For his part, Layton was re-appointed for a second term in 2017, after improving operational rigour, bolstering partner performance and ushering in shake-ups to CC’s historically restrictive lockstep model . During Layton’s second term, CC boosted revenues by 35% and profit per equity partner by 65%.
Adams has been CC’s regional managing partner in continental Europe since 2018, and in that time has also sat on the firm’s executive leadership group. Prior to this role, he served as office managing partner for CC’s Italian offices between 2007 and 2014. In winning the support of the CC partnership, Adams fought off challenges from London structured finance partner Jessica Littlewood and Singapore-based project finance partner Nick Wong.
Adams said: ‘At Clifford Chance we have all the ingredients to continue to shape the legal industry: an outstanding global platform, deep and broad market-leading expertise and a strong, dynamic and ambitious culture. The past few years have shown what we can achieve, and I see many opportunities to work with partners and all my colleagues across Clifford Chance to build on that success. At the heart of all we do will be ensuring that we are the absolute first choice for our clients and for the best talent in the market.’
Elsewhere, Mayer Brown on Tuesday (14 December) announced that banking and finance partner Dominic Griffiths will succeed Sally Davies as London managing partner. Davies, who has held the position since 2017, will be stepping down at the end of the year to focus on her responsibilities as part of the firm’s eight-lawyer global management committee.
Joining Mayer Brown in 2005, Griffiths (pictured) served as co-leader of the firm’s global banking and finance practice since 2014. He also has valuable experience with fostering junior talent, thanks to his well-established position as Mayer Brown’s graduate recruitment partner.
A 2019 Legal Business Life during law feature on Griffiths saw him discuss, among many other things, his annoyance at ‘boring lawyers’, his love of Winston Churchill, and his general bon viveur approach to life.
Jon Van Gorp, global chair of Mayer Brown, described Griffith’s elevation as ‘great news for the London office.’ He added: ‘He is a talented leader, whose unique skills combine great knowledge of the firm, our clients and the London market. I am confident that he will build on Sally’s work to ensure that we continue to thrive.’
Speaking to Legal Business, Griffiths said: ‘I’m incredibly honoured to be chosen. I have been at the firm for a long period of time, and I am keen to transfer my previous focus on the finance practice into the future growth of the wider firm.
‘This will include outward-facing engagement with City institutions and consolidating our incredible network of banking institutions, funds and corporates. But it will also mean promoting the brand of the firm, which I consider to be one of a small handful of elite transatlantic practices with a broader network in Asia and South America. I would define our future approach to promoting our strong internal talent and attracting high quality lateral hires as “measured but serious growth”‘.
It is also an end of an era at Watson Farley & Williams, with longtime leadership duo Chris Lowe and Lothar Wegener stepping down as co-managing partners. The firm has opted to shuffle its management structure by appointing George Paleokrassas and Lindsey Keeble as its new senior partner and managing partner respectively for a five-year term starting in February 2022.
The outgoing Lowe and Wegener took on their roles in 2014, and can be credited with largely improving the firm’s form by focusing on its rigid sector specialisms , despite less favourable financial results of late. This summer, the firm recorded a 1% dip in revenue to just over £180m.
New senior partner Paleokrassas has substantial experience at the firm, having led WFW’s Athens office since 2005, building it up to become the largest international law firm in Greece. He is also a well-regarded shipping finance specialist with experience both in Greece and internationally.
Keeble previously headed up the firm’s London assets and structured finance group covering aviation, maritime and rail – a team which has now grown to 27 partners. She has also led the firm’s maritime sector since 2013 and is a highly-respected operator in that industry.
Keeble commented: ‘George and I both recognise the immense responsibility of our new positions and of ensuring the continued strength and longevity of the business, where our people have the chance to develop, express their views and ideas and have the opportunity to grow and ultimately see their careers fulfilled within the firm.’
On the lateral hire front, Linklaters has recaptured a pair of partners to boost its corporate and financial regulation practices. In Hong Kong, M&A and private equity specialist Betty Yap re-joins the firm from Paul Weiss, where she was China managing partner. She has extensive experience in cross-border M&A, strategic investments, joint ventures, special situations transactions and foreign direct investments involving China.
And in London, Carl Fernandes has returned to Linklaters from Latham & Watkins, bringing with him a practice focused on advising a range of financial services clients on complex regulatory issues. Linklaters’ Asia managing partner William Liu said: ‘The hire of these prominent industry veterans reflects our commitment to further enhancing our truly “world class” client offering. The wealth of experience they will bring to our well-established private equity/M&A and financial regulation practices, will enable us to provide unrivalled expertise to our clients to support them in maximising the opportunities in this diverse market.’
Fieldfisher has launched a new commercial crime practice via the hires of barristers Quinton Newcomb and Shiv Haria-Shah from boutique set Fulcrum Chambers. Newcomb is a highly experienced commercial crime, investigations and compliance specialist, who can boast representing Rolls-Royce, Alstom, Rio Tinto and ENRC in high-profile Serious Fraud Office investigations.
Haria-Shah additionally brings expertise in conducting internal investigations, and advising and training corporate clients on good governance and compliance procedures, helping them to guard against regulatory risk.
Outlining their ambitions, Newcomb said: ‘Fieldfisher is committed to building a market-leading practice, handling the most significant commercial crime, investigations and compliance work globally, with a dedicated and highly specialised team. I look forward to working with both my new and longstanding teammates to realise this goal.’
Finally, Milbank has strengthened its London antitrust capabilities with the hire of Andrea Hamilton, who joins from the Brussels office of McDermott Will & Emery. She brings nearly two decades of global experience in antitrust aspects of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, litigation, compliance and counseling, as well as foreign direct investment.
Alexander Rinne, head of Milbank’s European antitrust practice, stated: ‘As the UK continues to extend the scope and rigour of its foreign investment control regime, Andrea’s expertise will be essential for clients to effectively navigate this regulatory hurdle.’