Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: Olswang, Macfarlanes, Dechert, DWF and Weightmans in strategic partner hires

Macfarlanes and Dechert have made key strategic hires in the past few days while top 35, 382-lawyer UK firm Olswang has bolstered its City tax practice with the arrival of partner Andrew Quale from Eversheds.

Specialising in employee incentives and rewards, Quale has experience of advising multinational companies on the implementation of global incentive plans.

‘Andrew has already demonstrated an ability to build and develop a successful share schemes practice and team, despite a severe downturn in corporate work in the last few years,’ said Mark Joscelyne, head of tax at Olswang. The firm last week revealed a rise in revenue of 3% while profits per equity partner dropped by 4%.

This is the second partner Eversheds has lost this week, after it was announced earlier this week that equity capital markets head Neil Matthews is leaving to join Field Fisher Waterhouse in August.

Elsewhere, 289-lawyer top 35 UK firm Macfarlanes bucked the trend towards US firms tapping the UK’s finest with the hire of Shearman & Sterling real estate partner, Clare Breeze.

Breeze, whose clients include developers and investors such as Stanhope, AIG and Argent Estates, is Macfarlanes second hire from a US firm this year after taking on Akin Gump London investment funds partner Simon Thomas in February.

‘We are delighted to welcome Clare to a firm and practice area that are both thriving in these difficult markets. Real estate is a key area for us and we believe that significant opportunities exist for continued growth,’ said Macfarlanes senior partner Charles Martin.

Meanwhile, top 50 Global 100 US firm Dechert has bolstered its corporate practice in Paris with the hire of Matthieu Grollemund from fellow US firm Orrick Herrington & Suttcliffe.

A private equity specialist, Grollemund’s work includes CVC’s high profile Formula One IPO in which he has represented the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. His clients include a range of private equity houses and hedge funds including Wendel, 3i France and Fondations Capital and US/UK based firms including Bessemer, Accel and Index.

‘We are delighted to welcome Matthieu, who will allow us to expand our corporate practice and meet the current needs of our French and foreign clients both on inbound and outbound transactions,’ said Alain Decombe, managing partner of Dechert’s Paris office.

“Matthieu’s private equity experience is very complimentary to that of our global corporate team, which should result in additional practice synergies across Dechert’s international network,” said Henry Nassau, chair of Dechert’s global corporate practice.

In other news, acquisitive DWF, which last week reported a rise in turnover of 84% to £188m, has bolstered its corporate practice in Birmingham with the appointment of Squire Sanders partner Christian Lowis. His arrival brings DWF’s corporate offering to over 100 fee earners, with Lowis himself being a public company specialist. He has experience in M&A, disposals, takeovers and corporate governance.

‘As a team providing highly valued counsel to some of Britain’s biggest businesses, it is imperative that we continue to recruit only the best to our ranks,’ said Stephen Houston, national head of corporate at DWF.

The appointment of Lowis comes after DWF confirmed a redundancy consultation at the end of last month affecting up to 80 roles across Manchester, Coventry, Teeside and London.

Having revealed a rather more modest but respectable turnover increase of 6.4% this year, UK top 50 Weightmans has continued its run of lateral hires with the appointment of construction partner Tim Mould in the firm’s London office. Mould was a founding partner of boutique firm Hannah & Mould and specialises in complex construction disputes both in the UK and abroad.

‘We are delighted that Tim is joining the firm. He is a high calibre lawyer and true specialist in his field and brings a wealth of experience in both domestic and international work,’ said Charles Tomlinson, national head of construction and engineering at Weightmans.


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