Enterprise GC view: Retail in a cold climate – learning from the high street

Enterprise GC view: Retail in a cold climate – learning from the high street

One set of February figures just published showing the worst retail footfall on record – as revealed by one GC in the room – this panel discussion at Enterprise GC proved a timely reminder of the challenges faced by the retail sector and all those who sail with her.

And with these challenges comes a lot of learning for GCs and senior in-house lawyers in other sectors too. Almost inevitably Amazon – and, by extension digital transformation and disruption generally – dominated some of the discussion. And, it seems, that issue is more acute in the UK than almost anywhere else in the world, given (among other factors) Amazon’s extraordinarily high rate of market penetration. ‘The UK is the perfect size for Amazon’s model,’ said one GC in the know. One more gloomy forecast from the table was that if you’re trying to compete with an Amazon or similar market leaders head on now, it’s too late.

International round-up: Bakers launches fourth low-cost hub in Argentina as Cooley targets capital markets with Hong Kong office

International round-up: Bakers launches fourth low-cost hub in Argentina as Cooley targets capital markets with Hong Kong office

Baker McKenzie is pushing on with its profitability drive having picked Buenos Aires for its fourth business service centre some five months after putting an estimated 350 London-based support staff under consultation.

On the other side of the Pacific in an unusually expansive move, Cooley has today (12 March) confirmed it will open in Hong Kong after hiring Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s corporate partner Will Cai.

Linklaters to hit 20% female partnership as women make up a third of 33-strong promotion round

Linklaters to hit 20% female partnership as women make up a third of 33-strong promotion round

For the sixth year in a row Linklaters has increased the size of its promotion round, adding 33 lawyers to its partnership.

Eleven of the new partners announced today (11 March) and effective from May are women, surpassing the firm’s 30% annual target and meaning its overall partnership will be 20% female for the first time.

DWF valued at £366m ahead of £95m IPO this week

DWF valued at £366m ahead of £95m IPO this week

DWF will be valued at about £366m when it lists on the main market of the London Stock Exchange this week, making it the largest law firm float to date.

The firm said today (11 March) the total offer size is £95m, at 122 pence a share, representing 26% of the company’s issued share capital. Of that, £19m will be used to repay a portion of members’ capital contribution to DWF, up to £10m will be used to invest in IT and the development of its managed services platform, with the remainder for general corporate purposes, working capital and to fund any future potential acquisitions.

KWM administration report shows £18.3m hole for creditors as former staff set for payouts

KWM administration report shows £18.3m hole for creditors as former staff set for payouts

Two years after the collapse of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) the saga rumbles on, with administrators primed to pay former staff as an £18.3m funding deficit leaves unsecured creditors out of pocket.

A progress report filed last week details how some former employees of the firm have been ranked as preferential creditors following KWM’s 2017 insolvency. These employees will now be eligible for successful claims on failing to consult on the redundancy process, as well as payouts on wages and holiday pay.

Comment: Too much jam today for partners yet the future of law will need long-term investment

Comment: Too much jam today for partners yet the future of law will need long-term investment

A little over five years ago Legal Business produced a cover feature dubbed ‘How to improve a law firm in 17 easy steps’. The piece – intended as a series of practical proposals to improve the working of law firms – has aged as well as anything printed in these pages.

And while point one – on overhauling lockstep partnerships for the age of global law – has been borne out, it is the second proposal, to phase out full profit distribution models, that is more pressing to the profession. Problems with lockstep are a peculiar challenge for London’s elite. In contrast, the historic model that has prevailed in legal partnerships of distributing the near-entirety of profits to partners annually speaks to an entire industry in danger of tipping itself over a cliff.

‘Great synergies’: Mayer Brown adds long-awaited restructuring hires with DLA duo

‘Great synergies’: Mayer Brown adds long-awaited restructuring hires with DLA duo

Chicago-bred Mayer Brown has bolstered its restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency (RBI) practice with a double hire from DLA Piper in London.

DLA veterans Michael Fiddy and Amy Jacks join Mayer Brown as co-head of the firm’s global RBI practice and co-head of the firm’s UK RBI practice respectively. Fiddy will lead the global group alongside New York partner Brian Trust and Hong Kong-based partner John Marsden, while Jacks takes on her leadership role alongside partner Devi Shah.

DLA global turnover surpasses $2.8bn in second year of growth

DLA global turnover surpasses $2.8bn in second year of growth

DLA Piper added 8% to its global top line in 2018, making for consecutive years of growth following a dip in 2016.

The firm’s global revenue rose to $2.84bn, up on last year’s $2.63bn and continuing a bounce back from when the firm’s total turnover dipped below $2.5bn in 2016 because of exchange rate fluctuations across its international business, which is divided between an international LLP and a US LLP.

Calls for a ‘radical overhaul’ of NDAs as #MeToo saga prompts UK gagging order law reform

Calls for a ‘radical overhaul’ of NDAs as #MeToo saga prompts UK gagging order law reform

The government has proposed new legislation that would make it illegal for employers to use gagging orders to prevent the reporting of sexual misconduct in the workplace to police.

The move, announced by business minister Kelly Tolhurst today (4 March), comes as #MeToo continues to rage in the legal profession and beyond after the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to hide sexual offences came to light in several high-profile cases.

Revolving Doors: Crowell & Moring taps Squire Patton Boggs for UK partners as DLA leads hefty international recruitment round

Revolving Doors: Crowell & Moring taps Squire Patton Boggs for UK partners as DLA leads hefty international recruitment round

City recruitment was steady last week with Crowell & Moring being the main mover after luring yet more talent from Squire Patton Boggs. Meanwhile Monckton Chambers secured Steven Gee QC from Joseph Hage Aaronson and DLA Piper and Mayer Brown made moves in a busy international round.

Crowell & Moring has emboldened its London strategy lately by recruiting from Squires. Energy partner Robin Baillie joined the firm last week, with Crowell & Moring looking to export its strong US energy practice to the UK.

Baillie had been at Squires since 2014, and brings with him senior associate Stefanie Atchinson who joins as counsel as well as associate Lydia Taylor. Meanwhile, Squires banking and debt finance partner Andrew Knight is also set to join Crowell & Moring at the beginning of April. The exits come after Squires lost a three-partner team to Crowell & Moring in recent weeks, with litigation partner Laurence Winston and insolvency partners Cathryn Williams and Paul Muscutt also decamping. Squires former City litigation head Robert Weekes meanwhile joined the firm in January, while 15 other lawyers left the firm for Morgan Lewis in February.

Monckton Chambers made a law firm play, adding Joseph Hage Aaronson litigator Steven Gee QC to its ranks. Gee returns to the barristers’ chambers after five years at the litigation boutique, having formerly headed up Stone Chambers.

Joint head of Monckton Chambers, Philip Moser QC, welcomed the hire: ‘Steven’s significant experience, both at the Bar and in a law firm, will provide inspiration and impetus further to expand Monckton’s commercial litigation and arbitration work. We believe his addition is a significant milestone in the recognition of Monckton Chambers as a leading set for commercial litigation and arbitration.’

Finishing off the City hires, DAC Beachcroft acquired David Johnson from Weightmans where he led its political and markets advisory group for four years. Johnson focuses on handling large-loss catastrophic injury cases and high-value fatal accident claims.

Eversheds Sutherland, meanwhile, made a hire in the regions, with the addition of corporate partner Michael Birchall, who joins from Addleshaw Goddard.  Birchall will now spearhead the firm’s corporate practice in Manchester while also working closely with the firm’s team in Leeds. Birchall had previously been based in both Manchester and London for Addleshaw.

Further afield, DLA Piper led a busy international recruitment round, hiring in Frankfurt and Dublin. In Germany the firm enhanced its litigation and regulatory practice with the hire of Gleiss Lutz associated partner Emanuel Ballo. It marks a return for Ballo, who had worked at DLA Piper between 2011 and 2015, having advised a number of international companies on issues related to white collar crime.

Meanwhile DLA Piper hired tax partner Maura Dineen to the firm’s newly opened Dublin office. Dineen joins from Mason Hayes & Curran, and is DLA Piper’s fifth partner hire in Ireland in a month.

Fieldfisher made a double hire in Madrid, with Jesús Estévez and Elizabeth Malagelada joining the firm’s Spanish offering. Both come from Big Four outfit EY, where Estévez worked in the firm’s banking and finance practice while Malagelada worked in the tax department. Estevez had been a partner at EY For four years and prior to that was a partner at Baker McKenzie; Malagelada meanwhile had been at EY for six years.

Completing the international recruitment round, Mayer Brown expanded its corporate and securities practice in Hong Kong with the hire of former Kirkland & Ellis and Hogan Lovells partner Steven Tran. As a private equity and M&A lawyer, Tran acts for funds and major financial institutions and has been based in Asia for almost 20 years.

‘Steven’s appointment reflects the continued growth of our corporate capabilities in Hong Kong as a service hub for Asia,’ said Jason Elder, co-leader of Mayer Brown’s corporate and securities practice.

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk