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Revolving Doors: Sullivan & Cromwell ends City recruitment hiatus as White & Case lead firms strengthening in Asia

There are signs the summer hiring lull is coming to an end after Sullivan & Cromwell and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) made significant London plays, while White & Case led an array of firms looking East.

Sullivan & Cromwell broke a five-year duck in the City by hiring Jeremy Kutner from Shearman & Sterling. Kutner, who was made partner in 2012, had headed up Shearman’s technology, media and telecoms (TMT) industry group, advising a plethora of major media companies including Liberty Global, Virgin Media and Vivendi.

Sullivan’s last City lateral before Kutner was restructuring partner Chris Howard, who joined from Linklaters in 2013. The firm claims it is looking to strengthen its City corporate practice further.

A spokesperson for Shearman commented: ‘We can confirm that Jeremy Kutner will be leaving the firm. We wish him all the best for the future.’

BCLP, meanwhile, made an addition with Elizabeth Hicks, who will spearhead the firm’s family asset protection team in London. Hicks joins from Irwin Mitchell, where as partner she acted as head of family law. She previously worked at Kingsley Napley, where she was made partner in 2001.

The move comes as BCLP looks to improve its wider private client capability. Global co-head of the firm’s private client practice, Damian Bloom, commented: ‘Elizabeth’s arrival furthers the family asset protection group’s ambition of seamlessly servicing high net worth clients on complex high value family and asset protection matters. There are growing opportunities in this space across the private wealth sector, and a global commercial law firm with international family disputes capability is an attractive proposition for prospective clients.’

Finishing off the domestic recruitment round, RPC announced the hire of professional indemnity partner Rhian Howell from Beale & Co to the firm’s Bristol office. Howell had previously acted as head of the Bristol office for Beale.

Meanwhile, American heavyweight White & Case kicked off an international recruitment round dominated by appointments in Asia, announcing the hire of Bingna Guo as partner in the firm’s Beijing office. Guo joins from O’Melveny & Myers, where she had spent her entire career and was made partner in 2012.

Guo has experience in international investigations and providing compliance advice on domestic and cross-border matters for multinational companies.

White & Case’s China head Alex Zhang said: ‘China continues to be a key Asia-Pacific jurisdiction in which White & Case is targeting further growth. Bingna, an experienced and highly capable partner with strong client relationships and an excellent market reputation, is an exciting addition to our team who adds further breadth and depth to the firm’s practice in China.’

Elsewhere in Asia, DWF continued its run of hires with the appointment of Jonathan Goacher to its Singapore office. Goacher joins from Kennedys, where he led the firm’s regional corporate insurance practice, and was previously a consultant at DLA Piper’s Bangkok office for more than a decade. Goacher is also a New York-qualified lawyer.

Oommen Mathew, managing partner of DWF Singapore, said: ‘Jonathan will be a very strong addition to our Singapore practice as we look to build our corporate and transactional offering to further capitalise on the opportunities in the market.’

Finishing off the international round, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan joined the Asia hiring spree in securing the services of former Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garret & Dunner partner York Faulkner. Faulkner’s practice focuses on intellectual property litigation, adding to Quinn’s Tokyo litigation offering, as well as bringing experience from acting as a federal prosecutor in the U.S Department of Justice.

Managing partner, John Quinn, welcomed the hire: ‘We have been looking to add the right person to the Tokyo office for a while now. We are very excited to have York join us.’