Legal Business

White & Case makes another City litigation play with Addleshaw Goddard hire

White & Case makes another City litigation play with Addleshaw Goddard hire

Expansive US firm White & Case is continuing to walk the talk on its going ‘toe to toe with the Magic Circle’ mantra after making another City hire in its litigation practice.

The experienced Chris Brennan is joining White & Case from Addleshaw Goddard, where he headed the firm’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigations and enforcement team and was a partner since 2012. Before that he was head of regulatory at Lloyds Banking Group, general counsel for a global inter-dealer broker and a senior lawyer in the FCA’s enforcement arm.

Brennan is White & Case’s second City litigation lateral hire this year, following the recent recruitment of well-regarded tax litigator Hannah Field-Lowes from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Brennan joins the firm from next week (4 June).

White & Case partner and EMEA disputes head Charles Balmain told Legal Business: ‘Chris’ hire fits squarely with the firm’s 2020 strategy, an important part of which is to strengthen the firm’s disputes practice in London and across the region. It’s another example of our aim to go toe to toe with the Magic Circle.’

The firm has made five lateral hires in the City this year. Its 2020 strategy, which former London executive Oliver Brettle recently shifted his full attention to after stepping down as London head, is about profitable growth in London with a focus on the global financial institutions industry and in disputes.

An Addleshaws spokesperson said: ‘Chris leaves with our best wishes.  Contentious regulatory work continues to be a key area for investment and our market leading global investigations team, led by Nichola Peters, goes from strength to strength servicing our deep client base.’

Brennan’s departure from Addleshaws follows a spate of hiring at the firm in early 2018, most recently expanding its Asia practice with the hire of Bob Charlton from legacy BLP.

White & Case’s hiring spree, meanwhile, was recently tempered by the departure of highly-rated regulatory lawyer James Greig, who left after just two years for a senior in-house role at banking giant Barclays.

For more on White & Case’s city ambitions read ‘Reborn supremacy – inside the unlikely White & Case revolution.

Legal Business

Addleshaw Goddard recruits legacy BLP Asia head

Addleshaw Goddard recruits legacy BLP Asia head

As the inevitable fallout from the $900m Bryan Cave/Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) tie-up continues, Addleshaw Goddard is following up on its Asia ambitions by announcing the hire of legacy BLP regional head Bob Charlton.

Based in Hong Kong, Charlton will lead Addleshaws’ Asia-Pacific operations, with firm-wide managing partner John Joyce telling Legal Business the firm is looking to triple the size of its regional capability. He added the firm would look to grow from four to at least 12 partners, spread across its Hong Kong and Singapore branches, and did not rule out adding further bases in the region.

Legal Business

Addleshaws promotions rebound after a sedate 2017 as nine make the grade

Addleshaws promotions rebound after a sedate 2017 as nine make the grade

Addleshaw Goddard has nearly doubled its promotions round from last year as nine partners are made up across the UK and Dubai.

The top 30 UK law firm’s partner promotions include three in London and Manchester, one in Leeds and two in Dubai, led by the corporate practice’s three promotions. The other new partners include one in each of employment, business support and restructuring, litigation, health and safety, construction, and environment.

Addleshaws last year promoted five partners, compared to the previous two years’ 15 and 18. The promotions come during a busy period of lateral hires at the firm, most recently bringing in the former Asia head of legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner Bob Charlton earlier this week. Addleshaws has made 13 lateral hires since the start of the year, with managing partner John Joyce (pictured) telling Legal Business on Monday (9 April): ‘We’re still seeing a huge amount of lateral activity… there’s a few more to land this year.’

Partner promotions have generally been mixed so far this year, as Eversheds Sutherland’s international business made 20 partner promotions globally earlier this week, the same as last year. Taylor Wessing increased its round to three promotions, Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) promoted eight partners, and Dentons recorded a drop in London promotions as it took on 36 new partners globally. Elsewhere, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced it had promoted a modest five lawyers to its London partnership, while Linklaters increased the size of its promotions round for the fifth year in a row, adding 27 lawyers to its partnership.

Addleshaw Goddard partner promotions

  • James Tatro, corporate, Leeds
  • Marc Field, corporate, London
  • Lowri Llwed, corporate, Dubai
  • Sarah Harrop, employment, London
  • Tim Taylor, business support and restructuring, Manchester
  • Paul Hughes, litigation, Dubai
  • Erin Shoesmith, health and safety, Manchester
  • Gerlando Butera, construction, London
  • Michelle Headrige, environment, Manchester

Legal Business

Addleshaw Goddard seeks material Asia growth with former BLP region head hire

Addleshaw Goddard seeks material Asia growth with former BLP region head hire

Addleshaw Goddard has brought in the former Asia head of legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner as it looks to triple the size of its presence in Asia.

Bob Charlton is joining Addleshaws after leaving BLP, now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) following its US merger in February, where he was the legacy firm’s head of Asia since 2014. Charlton previously held a similar role for DLA Piper in the region.

Charlton will be based in Hong Kong and lead Addleshaws’ Asia Pacific practice, which operates in Hong Kong and Singapore and has slowly grown from one partner in 2012 to four now. The firm also has a formal alliance in Japan with Hashidate Law Office.

Managing partner John Joyce said Charlton’s leadership pedigree in the region was required as the firm looks to grow its presence in Asia. Disputes partner Nigel Francis, head of Asia for the previous four years, is returning to full-time work on his contentious practice, while Charlton will be a full-time leader in the role.

He told Legal Business: ‘We’ve got a presence in Asia: we’d like to grow it materially from where it is. So far we’ve been trying to do that through people doing their day jobs, and we just felt it needed a leadership role to give it the proper time and attention. It’s something that to do properly and to do well, you need to spend time at.’

Joyce said material growth in the region meant growing partner numbers to 12 or more. The focus will remain on Hong Kong and Singapore, however: ‘[We’d like to] get those to the right size and shape before we start looking elsewhere but if the right opportunity comes along elsewhere then absolutely we’d look at that.’

A BCLP spokesperson confirmed Charlton’s departure last week: ‘Having accomplished much for our Asia business and having successfully implemented our “One Asia” strategy, Bob Charlton has decided that now is a good point for him to seek a new challenge elsewhere, and has left the firm.’

Elsewhere, Addleshaw has recruited former Pilsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman Middle East practice co-leader Ahmad Anani as its Qatar office head. Anani is a corporate and capital markets specialist, and Addleshaws has now made nearly 20 lateral hires in 2018.

Joyce commented: ‘A lot of those people are starting to come around having been in discussions with us for 12, some of them even 18, months. We’re still seeing a huge amount of lateral activity… there’s a few more to land this year.’

Legal Business

Deal watch: Magic Circle gets clean bill to lead on $13bn GSK healthcare takeover as Addleshaw ties up JD Sports US acquisition

Deal watch: Magic Circle gets clean bill to lead on $13bn GSK healthcare takeover as Addleshaw ties up JD Sports US acquisition

Magic Circle firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have rejuvenated longstanding client relationships to win lead roles on Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis’ $13bn sale to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) of its minority stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture.

The deal, announced on today (27 March), sees London-listed GSK buy the 36.5% stake in the joint venture it didn’t already own from Novartis to assume full control of the business.

The joint venture was forged in 2014 amid an asset swap between the two pharma heavyweights which saw them combine their respective consumer healthcare arms.

Freshfields corporate partner Julian Long led on that transaction for Novartis and is now co-leading on this latest deal with Jennifer Bethlehem. Also in the team are tax partner Paul Davison and antitrust partner Rod Carlton, who also advised on the 2014 asset swap.

Slaughters is advising GSK on the buyout, with a team led by partners David Johnson and Simon Nicholls, both of whom represented client on the formation of the joint venture.

Financing partners Guy O’Keefe and Oliver Storey also worked on this latest deal, as well as tax partner Dominic Robertson and competition partners Bertrand Louveaux and Jordan Ellison.

GSK’s internal legal team was led by Chip Cale and Antony Braithwaite.

GSK is planning to launch a strategic review of its Horlicks drink brand and other consumer nutrition products with a view to raise cash for the acquisition, the company said in a statement. The review will also include GSK’s Indian subsidiary, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Addleshaw Goddard is advising UK high street sports shoe retailer JD Sports Fashion on its $558m acquisition of US counterpart The Finish Line.

Addleshaw’s Manchester-based team was led by partner Roger Hart and included partner Martin O’Shea.

Indianapolis-headquartered Finish Line is listed on Nasdaq with a market capitalisation of roughly $425m. Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Taft Stettinius & Hollister advised JD Sports on US law, while Faegre Baker Daniels advised Finish Line’s board of directors.

Elsewhere Travers Smith has leveraged the recent trend for investment in payment services businesses to advise longstanding private equity client Equistone Partners Europe on its acquisition of UK-headquartered Small World Financial Services for a reported £80m.

The Travers Smith team was led by private equity partner James Renahan and included tax partner Jessica Kemp and regulatory partner Stephanie Biggs.

Sellers FPE Capital, MMC Ventures and the existing Small World management team were advised by Charles Russell Speechlys. Equistone made the investment via its sixth fund, Equistone Partners Europe Fund VI. Cross-border payment service provider Small World employs around 680 people across 16 countries and generates revenues in excess of £110m.

Legal Business

Gender diversity: pay gaps revealed at Addleshaw Goddard, Mishcon de Reya and Gowling WLG

Gender diversity: pay gaps revealed at Addleshaw Goddard, Mishcon de Reya and Gowling WLG

A fuller picture of the legal industry’s gender pay gap issue is emerging as Addleshaw Goddard, Mishcon de Reya and Gowling WLG become the latest firms to reveal big earnings disparities.

Gender pay brackets at Addleshaw – published Tuesday (13 March) ahead of the 4 April deadline required by legislation brought in last year – reveal the firm paid its male staff on average 43.2% more in bonuses than women for the year to 5 April 2017. The median bonus figure was 33.3%.

Female employees were paid on average 23.8% less per hour than men, although again the median figure was lower at 16.4%.

In line with the reasons touted by other firms, Addleshaw pointed to a higher proportion of females being employed in junior and administrative roles, such as secretarial services where its PA population is 98% female, and fewer women in senior roles as the reason for the discrepancy between pay and bonus gaps. Human resources director Niki Lawson said this meant the firm’s pay gap was not an equal pay issue.

‘I don’t think the data for our sector is revealing anything we don’t already know but I hope it will help to drive greater accountability across the professional services community and even greater, collective commitment to addressing the underlying causes.’

Lawson said the firm was working to close the gap through a number of initiatives, including unconscious bias training and programmes it has introduced in recent years. Its female leadership programme Flourish began in 2012, after which nearly a third of partner promotions have been female, pushing overall representation in the UK partnership to 26% from 20%. The firm is targeting 30% female partnership by 2020.

Meanwhile, Mishcon pays men 42% more than women on average in bonuses, rising to 51% as a median figure. For hourly pay, men are paid 17% more on average, rising to 37% for the median figure.

‘As has been observed across the legal industry, the data is affected by the distribution of roles: we have many more women than men working in secretarial and legal operations roles,’ the firm said in its report. ‘In our business, 63% of our people are women. Our secretarial and legal operations roles are 97% women and make up 19% of the roles performed by women at the firm.’

Gowling WLG also published its numbers on its website recently. They reveal that the firm’s hourly pay is 25% higher for men on both a median and average basis, while bonuses are 64% higher for men on average, and 49% higher on a median basis. Again, the firm blames having proportionally more females in support roles than its lawyer population for the pay gap.

Regarding the bonus disparity, the firm said it has three bonus schemes but there is a higher proportion of females in the firm-wide scheme than in the director and fee-earner bonus schemes. The firm has a gender target of 30% female partnership by 2026.

‘We are confident we do not have an equal pay issue,’ the firm’s report said. ‘However, we are continuing to take steps to ensure that everyone within the firm has the same career opportunities, allowing them to access salary and bonus progression as they develop and advance through the firm.’

These numbers follow magic circle firm Allen & Overy, revealing on Monday (12 March) it paid its male staff on average more than 42% in bonuses than women, with the median bonus figure standing at 23%. The firm’s female employees were paid on average 19.8% less per hour than their male counterparts, a gap which widened to 27.4% when the median figure was calculated.

Other firms to report include Linklaters, which last month revealed that it paid its male staff members nearly 60% more in bonuses than women. Taylor Wessing, Bird & Bird, Pinsent Masons and CMS have also reported their pay gaps.

Legal Business

Who Represents Who: Firms that will be affected by the fall of Carillion

Who Represents Who: Firms that will be affected by the fall of Carillion

For more information on Who Represents Who, contact:
David Burgess,
Publishing Director, The Legal 500

Legal Business

Deal watch: DLA Piper and Addleshaws advise on Carillion fire sale as US and UK firms pick up major mandates

Deal watch: DLA Piper and Addleshaws advise on Carillion fire sale as US and UK firms pick up major mandates

DLA Piper and Addleshaw Goddard have won roles advising on the sale of part of recently-collapsed Carillion’s business while Watson Farley & Williams (WFW), Allen & Overy (A&O), Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Paul Hastings and Kirkland & Ellis all picked up major deals this week.

Addleshaw Goddard advised engineering and construction company J Murphy & Sons on its acquisition of Carillion’s UK power framework business for an undisclosed sum. The deal sees Murphy take Carillion’s position on National Grid’s electricity overhead lines, substation and underground cable framework contracts, supporting replacement and refurbishment schemes on transmission networks across England and Wales.

Murphy, a private infrastructure company which employs more than 3,000 engineers, will also take on 22 former Carillion employees as part of the transaction. The acquisition follows Carillion’s liquidation in January after talks between the Wolverhampton-headquartered company, its creditors and the government failed to reach a deal on its £1.5bn liabilities, including £900m in debt.

The Addleshaw Goddard team was led by Manchester-based corporate partner Shelley McGivern. She declined to comment further.

DLA Piper, meanwhile, acted for the Official Receiver for Carillion. The firm declined to comment further or name who led from its side. Dentons’ restructuring partners Nigel Barnett and Neil Griffiths have also been advising the liquidator since Carillion’s collapse.

Meanwhile, a cluster of firms won advisory roles on Blackburn-based petrol store retailer EG Group’s purchase of Kroger’s convenience store business for $2.15bn. As a result of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of Kroger’s fiscal year, EG Group will establish a North American headquarters in Cincinnati, the city where Kroger was founded.

Magic Circle firm A&O is the main legal adviser to EG Group, with a team consisting of partners William Schwitter and Jeffrey Pellegrino. US outfit Kirkland & Ellis also acted for EG Group on financing aspects of the deal, led by partner Neel Sachdev.

Sachdev told Legal Business: ‘It was a real privilege to help EG put in place their new financing and to support their growth strategy through acquisitions, including the Kroger deal.’

Weil provided legal support to Kroger, with a team headed by New York corporate partner Michael Aiello. He was supported by fellow corporate partner Matthew Gilroy, technology partner Michael Epstein, tax partner Kenneth Heitner, executive compensation and benefits partner Paul Wessel, real estate partner Philip Rosen, antitrust partner Jeffrey Perry and environmental partner Annemargaret Connolly.

Paul Hastings advised EG Group on real estate due diligence for the transaction, with a team led by real estate partner Robert Keane alongside corporate partner Robert Miller.

Energy and transport specialist WFW has racked up two significant real estate deals for a combined value of over £860m, after advising longstanding client Frasers Group on its £174.6m acquisition of Farnborough Business Park as well as its £686m buyout of a portfolio of four other UK business parks.

The Farnborough Business Park acquisition was a joint venture between Frasers Centrepoint and Frasers Commercial Trust. The park comprises of 14 commercial buildings and has a net lettable area of 555,000 sq. ft. The portfolio buyout included parks in Reading, Basingstoke, Camberley and Glasgow.

Gowling WLG advised Farnborough Business Park on the sale, while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher represented the seller of the four-park portfolio.

WFW’s team on both acquisitions was led by corporate partner Felicity Jones, who said the portfolio acquisition had a tight timeframe, which was agreed and signed in under four weeks. She added: ‘Having had a long term relationship with the hospitality arm of Frasers, we were especially pleased to work with their commercial arm on their expansion into the UK. It also provided a good opportunity to complement our existing expertise in the business park area.’

Also acting on the acquisitions for WFW was corporate partner Dearbhla Quigley, tax partner Tom Jarvis, real estate partners Simon Folley and Hetan Ganatra and planning and environment partner Nick Walker.

Legal Business

LLP accounts: Addleshaw Goddard boasts ‘underlying’ growth as top-earner takes a haircut

LLP accounts: Addleshaw Goddard boasts ‘underlying’ growth as top-earner takes a haircut

LLP accounts show Addleshaw Goddard’s top earner took a 30% pay cut as both profit and income fell in a year when Brexit affected transaction levels in the first half before a recovery after September.

However, the firm insists it is performing well and growing on an underlying basis, both domestically and internationally, as it invests in new teams and infrastructure and looks to pick up on an encouraging start to this year.

The firm’s LLP accounts to 30 April 2017 revealed its highest-paid partner received £776,160, down from £1.21m the year before. This as turnover fell 4% to $188.2m, and operating profit dropped 14% to £64m.

In a statement, Addleshaws said its fee income for the period was in fact £10m higher at £198m, a difference a spokesperson attributed to associated entities, such as international offices, which sit outside of the group and are not consolidated with the UK numbers.

The spokesperson added that on an underlying basis, Addleshaws’ income grew 2%, because last year’s figure included ‘an element of uplift due to non-recurring success fee income’. This is understood to relate to a settlement involving the late Boris Berezovsky , a case relating to previous years and worth about £5m-10m.

Profit available for distribution among partners fell to £25.7m, from £38.3m, while the average number of partners increased by five to 171. Again, the firm said that on an underlying basis, profit per point grew by 4%. The firm said that this figure took out the aforementioned one-off income gain, and that new clients, more profitable work, and ‘careful financial management’ delivered the uplift.

Addleshaws closed the year with £21.9m in cash, down from its strongest-ever cash position of £25.7m last year, but that had come on the back of an increase in over £20m that year.

The average number of employees, excluding partners, rose 43 to 1202, as staff costs rose to £69.7m from £64.6m. Addleshaws has added new offices in Scotland through its combination with HBJ Gateley but as this occurred in June last year, the accounts have not incorporated that merger.

Key management personnel, including managing partner John Joyce, members of the executive committee and directors of AG services, received £3.1m, the same as last year.

Joyce commented: ‘We are very pleased to have grown both our domestic and global turnover while improving our underlying profitability, particularly when you factor in the material investments we have made in teams and infrastructure and the effect on our transactional teams of UK trading conditions in the summer period post the referendum.’

Legal Business

Northern exposure – The Scots GC debate

Northern exposure – The Scots GC debate

Earlier this year, Legal Business ventured north of the border to highlight the community of commercial counsel flourishing in Scotland in an extended feature. To follow up, this autumn we teamed up with Addleshaw Goddard to gather a panel of senior general counsel (GCs) at Edinburgh’s Signet Library in Parliament Square to debate a range of related issues to an audience of over 60 in-house counsel. With Brexit on the agenda, a changing legal profession and Scotland’s economy striving to reinvent itself for an increasingly-globalised age, there was plenty to talk about.


Alex Novarese, Legal Business: In recent years, the Scots economy has tracked a little behind the UK. How confident are people feeling now in a turbulent time for business?