Guest comment: The new differentiator for law firms?

Guest comment: The new differentiator for law firms?

A quiet revolution is happening, and I am here to champion it. For many years, the role of a professional support lawyer (PSL) or knowledge lawyer has been viewed as an optional extra, a ‘nice to have’, something that only a magic circle law firm could possibly justify. If this is what you think, then it’s time to update your precedent. PSLs have become a key differentiator as firms look to benefit not only from their legal experience but also their business acumen.

The PSL role was created back in the 1990s to support a firm’s practice by drafting and maintaining standard form precedents. At the time there was little in the way of legal databases or online research tools and PSLs became the focal point for this activity as well. However, while this remains a central part of the role, the functions of a PSL have evolved.

Revolving doors: Cleary makes Bay Area move as HogLov and Squire enhance Africa offerings

Revolving doors: Cleary makes Bay Area move as HogLov and Squire enhance Africa offerings

In a bold Bay Area play, Cleary Gottlieb has announced that it is opening in California with the arrival of renowned antitrust trial lawyer Heather Nyong’o and the relocation of a team of partners and associates from its New York and Washington DC offices to Palo Alto and San Francisco.

Nyong’o was partner-in-charge of WilmerHale’s San Francisco office and leader of its California antitrust and competition practice. She joins long-standing Cleary antitrust partners Brian Byrne and George Cary, white-collar partner Jennifer Kennedy Park, M&A partner Benet O’Reilly, and a team of six associates.

Revolving doors: Capita appoints new legal chief as Clifford Chance lures back former PE star

Revolving doors: Capita appoints new legal chief as Clifford Chance lures back former PE star

In a major in-house move, professional services company Capita has appointed Claire Denton as its new chief general counsel and company secretary.

Denton joins from Aveva Group, where she has been group general counsel and company secretary since 2015. In her new position she will report directly to Capita’s chief executive, Jon Lewis, and will sit on the company’s executive committee.

Revolving doors: Mishcon expands in Singapore as Squire takes on Madrid buyout team

Revolving doors: Mishcon expands in Singapore as Squire takes on Madrid buyout team

Bouncing back from a swathe of pre-IPO disputes partner exits, Mishcon de Reya has made a senior contentious hire in Singapore.

Arriving with significant in-house experience from his most recent role as senior legal counsel at QBE Insurance, Henry Winter is a dual commercial litigation and arbitration specialist who also has considerable experience dealing with regulators across Asia Pacific.

Guest post: COP26 heats up and global temperature pledges spur optimism

Guest post: COP26 heats up and global temperature pledges spur optimism

As the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference gathers momentum, Tim Baines, counsel in Mayer Brown’s environmental team, finds optimism beyond the platitudes.

Now that heads of state have left the building, the COP gets into full business mode with delegates moving between meeting rooms and many having to juggle competing demands on their time. We are only nearing the mid-point of an exhausting couple of weeks.

Revolving doors: HSF takes two senior New York litigators from Hogan Lovells as Littler expands in Portugal

Revolving doors: HSF takes two senior New York litigators from Hogan Lovells as Littler expands in Portugal

Amid a hectic week for lateral partner recruitment, Herbert Smith Freehills has picked up two former Hogan Lovells financial litigation partners in New York to boost its US operations.

A significant blow for Hogan Lovells, global head of financial services litigation Marc Gottridge and New York administrative partner and fellow financial litigator Lisa Fried are the high-profile departures.

Guest post: Any COP? – mixed messages at UN climate summit as usual platitudes belie call for action

Guest post: Any COP? – mixed messages at UN climate summit as usual platitudes belie call for action

As the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference enters full swing in Glasgow, Tim Baines, counsel in Mayer Brown’s environmental team, assesses the mood on the ground.

Monday (1 November) marked the first day of COP26, also known as the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. As usual, the conference started with the ritual display of private jets congesting the airport.  For the non-VIPs, travel delays and the chilly (these are the northern latitudes, after all) wait to register, kicked off the proceedings as tradition dictates.

Revolving doors: Goodwin lures capital markets guru as Ashurst boosts derivatives practice

Revolving doors: Goodwin lures capital markets guru as Ashurst boosts derivatives practice

Amid the latest round of lateral hires, Goodwin has picked up capital markets partner and ESG specialist Ariel White-Tsimikalis from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in London.

White-Tsimikalis specialises in advising investment banks, corporates and private equity funds on equity capital markets transactions, but also offers advice to listed clients on their ESG obligations.

Revolving doors: private equity spree continues as Gibson Dunn hires buyout team from Vinson & Elkins

Revolving doors: private equity spree continues as Gibson Dunn hires buyout team from Vinson & Elkins

Continuing the private equity theme set by last week’s spate of hires, Gibson Dunn has appointed a trio of buyout partners from Vinson & Elkins in London.

Federico (Fede) Fruhbeck will serve as Gibson Dunn’s new head of private equity in Europe as well as co-chair of the projects and infrastructure practice group. He is joined by fellow partners Robert Dixon and Alice Brogi. Collectively, the new partners will focus on cross-border M&A, particularly infrastructure, ESG and real estate transactions for both private equity and corporate clients.

Revolving doors: Kirkland picks up Freshfields private equity stars again as seven partners depart pre-IPO Mishcon

Revolving doors: Kirkland picks up Freshfields private equity stars again as seven partners depart pre-IPO Mishcon

With echoes of David Higgins’ landmark $10m switch in 2017 , Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has lost two up-and-coming private equity rising stars to US rival Kirkland & Ellis.

Freshfields lifer Vincent Bergin, who was made partner last year, arrives at Kirkland with an impressive back catalogue of clients, including private equity shops EQT ) and CVC Capital Partners. The other hire is Keir MacLennan – promoted in 2019, MacLennan specialises in high-profile and complex mergers and acquisitions, carve-outs, take-privates and exits for both financial sponsors and corporates.