Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: More hires in Houston as London’s energy, employment and corporate sectors witness key moves

Leading the high-profile moves this week, Baker McKenzie has recruited Allen & Overy partner Fernando Torrente to head up its M&A and capital markets practice in Madrid. Torrente currently leads A&O’s corporate, M&A and capital markets practice and has built a strong track record spanning three decades in takeovers, IPOs, flotations, and other equity financing structures.

Meanwhile, Clifford Chance has revealed the name of the sixth partner to join its recently opened Houston office. Partner David Sweeney joins after spending six years at Akin Gump, acting for clients on M&A, energy finance transactions and operational matters across the globe.

Speaking about his move to Legal Business, he said: ‘Clifford Chance was already on the shortlist of law firms for any particular matter that a client might have.  Houston really complemented those capabilities quite well, and the partners that I have joined are impressive – maybe even a little intimidating.’

He continued: ‘Basing a US energy practice out of Houston was a logical move.  Clifford Chance is a very global firm, and Houston is more international in reach compared to many other energy markets.  If the goal is to develop an energy practice that is top-tier in terms of US-focused work and also fits within an existing global framework, Houston is the right place to do it.’

Also in Houston, five public finance partners from Orrick – Rick Witte, Todd Brewer, Tanya Fischer, Hoang Vu and Russell Miller – jumped over to Texas-founded law firm Jackson Walker.

Back in the UK, Slaughter and May has experienced a rare loss as employment partner Katherine Flower moves to Burges Salmon. She leaves the firm after 16 years.

Flower said: ‘I had been looking for a firm that shared my values and ambition, and that was a market leader in employment. Burges Salmon is that firm. The employment team has an outstanding reputation for the quality of its advice across the full range of employment law matters and works with clients from all industries and sectors. It is a great team, and I am looking forward to working with them.’

Commenting on the market trends in the employment space over the next coming months, she continued: ‘The importance of mental health and well-being in the workplace has gained significant attention in recent years and again will continue to be something employers will need to focus on. Promoting diversity and inclusion also remains a key area for employers as part of their responsible business strategy.’

‘Rapid advancements in technology and the use of AI has had a lot of focus generally, and we are just beginning to understand how it may be used as an HR tool. And lastly, there has been a flurry of activity regarding employment legislation and guidance over the last few months, so lots to think about in this space.’

DLA Piper has strengthened its corporate practice with the hire of partner Russell Holden in London. Having previously served as a partner at Taylor Wessing for more than a decade, he brings with experience advising both companies and banks on UK and cross-border transactions, mainly in the technology, life sciences and real estate sectors.

Elsewhere in the City, Greenberg Traurig has hired energy partner Shashank Krishna. He spent just over two years at his former firm Baker Botts, joining after almost five years at McDermott.

Krishna said: ‘The firm’s global energy and infrastructure practice is seeing explosive growth. These are key growth sectors, and the firm is investing heavily in this space. We share a common vision, and there is a tremendous opportunity to build on the firm’s global capabilities and lead London’s efforts in this sector.

‘It’s clichéd, but it is true – culture eats strategy for breakfast. The firm’s dynamic, open, and collaborative culture and the passion that its attorneys bring to bear – from Tokyo to Silicon Valley and everywhere in between – were visible from the day we started talking.’

Finally, in LA, Gibson Dunn has hired investment funds regulatory partner Kevin Bettsteller. He joins from DLA Piper where he spent three years, following a decade long-stint at Kirkland & Ellis.