Mishcon de Reya this week (25 November) announced that it is to completely restructure its tax offering, consolidating its real estate, corporate tax, and private tax and wealth planning divisions and invest in the area with the hire King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin tax partner John Skoulding and solicitor Charlie Sosna from Berkeley Law.
Focusing on UK and international M&A, management buy-outs and corporate restructurings, among other issues, Skoulding has worked across sectors including betting and gaming, fashion, retail, intellectual property and financial services.
The launch of Mishcon’s new tax practice is said by the top 40 firm to recognise the changing needs of its clients, as their personal and business concerns increasingly overlap, and Andrew Goldstone, head of private tax and wealth planning commented: ‘John and Charlie are great additions to the team – they are joining at a busy and exciting time, not just for our tax practice, but also the firm more broadly.
‘We’ve expanded from 300 employees in 2009, to over 500 in 2012, and have seen a 75% revenue rise within this period. This was achieved by investing in people and securing the best talent, and these new hires demonstrate our on-going commitment to this strategy.’
Also in London, Blake Lapthorn banking and finance partner Claire Wheatley, who launched the top 65 LB100 firm’s City banking practice with her arrival from Clyde & Co in 2009, has joined Hill Dickinson.
Wheatley, who has also held roles at Howard Kennedy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance since 1988, said: ‘Hill Dickinson has an excellent reputation in the City, particularly within the banking and finance sector and I look forward to drawing on my connections with international banks, property companies and private sector organisations to further develop the team’s well established relationships in the City.’
On the Continent meanwhile, Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) Paris office last Thursday (21 November) announced the growth of its Paris-based Africa, energy and infrastructure teams, with the arrival of Gide Loyrette Nouel oil, gas and mining corporate partner Leïla Hubeaut and JeantetAssocies mining and infrastructure associate Hiba Abi Haidar.
Hubeaut, who before Gide was part of the corporate team at Ernst & Young, combines her oil and gas practice with privatisations and business structuring/restructuring for African nations. Her experience, the firm said in a statement, extends to all regulatory aspects of projects, especially in obtaining permits and other government approvals.
Stéphane Brabant, head of the five-partner, thirty-lawyer Paris energy and infrastructure practice and the global Africa practice at HSF, commented: ‘Leïla and Hiba combine the strong advantages of thorough technical expertise and a solid understanding of the African environment, which will help us provide even better service to our clients investing in the continent.’
Also in the vibrant Paris market, where Speechly Bircham this week launched with the hire of an 11-lawyer team, former SJ Berwin partner Etienne Boursican joined Orrick Rambaud Martel’s regional private equity practice.
Boursican focuses on M&A and capital markets, particularly advising and acting for listed companies in cross-border transactions involving tender offers, sale and purchase of equity stakes, public offerings, private placements and IPOs.
Pascal Agboyibor, Orrick’s Paris office head said: ‘The European M&A market continues to be a favoured destination for international investors with Paris acting as a vital centre for M&A activity throughout the continent.’
Orrick recently advised Paris-based Neolane on its $600 million acquisition by Adobe Systems and represented U-Shin on its $270 million acquisition of Paris-based Valeo S.A.’s access mechanisms business.
Elsewhere, Addleshaw Goddard has strengthened its Arab Gulf Coordination Council (GCC) offering with the hire of K&L Gates head of private equity for the GCC, Andrew Johnston, who joins a month after the hire of Clyde & Co corporate partner Ben Gillespie in Dubai.
Johnston and Gillespie, who will work alongside corporate partners Keith Johnston and Tim Field, join as the 660-lawyer firm invests in new service lines beyond its core offering of international arbitration and construction litigation in the Dubai office, which opened in September 2012 following the hire of Trowers & Hamlins regional head of construction, Andrew Greaves.
International division managing partner Andrew Carpenter said: ‘Andrew and Ben’s hires are the latest in a series of exciting investments we have made to broaden our international capability and to accelerate the growth of our GCC team.
‘Both partners have significant experience of acting in Dubai and the wider region and have practices that can be leveraged across our three GCC offices and the UK, as well as complimenting the investment we have already made in the UAE. Their hires are an exciting milestone and are indicative of our progress and ambitions.’