Legal Business

Kaye Scholer takeover fallout: Former London head to exit with team to K&L Gates

Just one month after Arnold & Porter‘s takeover of Kaye Scholer went live, legacy Kaye Scholer’s London head has quit the firm alongside another partner and a team of associates.

Having served as managing partner of legacy Kaye Scholer for two years, Philip Perrotta will exit the firm with aviation finance partner Sidanth Rajagopal. The pair will move to K&L Gates’ City finance practice with a team of associates.

Perrotta (pictured) had headed the firm’s aviation finance and leasing practice and had joined with Rajagopal from Clyde & Co in 2014.

Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer announced their $1bn combination last November. In the London, Kaye Scholer’s ten partner office joined Arnold & Porter’s 19 partner team at Tower 42 on Old Broad Street. Arnold & Porter’s London managing partner Tim Frazer was chosen to lead the UK team.

K&L Gates London head Tony Griffiths said: ‘With the arrival of this group, we are delighted to add the experience and capabilities of one of the leading aviation finance teams, representing the ideal fit for our existing global practice,’ he added.

For K&L Gates, the expansion follows the hires of London finance partners Barry Cosgrave from Shearman & Sterling and Mayank Gupta from Mayer Brown last year.

According to last year’s Global London, K&L Gates was the 14th biggest foreign firm in the City in 2015 by fee earner headcount. Partner headcount was flat for K&L Gates in 2015, with 129 fee earners and 48 partners.

Legal Business

United states: Kaye Scholer/Arnold & Porter union sees reshuffle in City practice


Merger will create a $1bn firm with over 1,000 lawyers

In what is the largest announced US law firm merger of 2016, Washington DC’s Arnold & Porter and New York’s Kaye Scholer confirmed last month they are to merge, creating a firm with $1bn in revenue.

Legal Business

The $1bn club: Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer confirm merger


Just a day after the US elected Donald Trump as its new president, New York and Washington firms Kaye Scholer and Arnold & Porter have today (10 November) announced a combination to create a $1bn firm, the largest combination of US firms so far this year.

The merger will go live on 1 January 2017, with the firm to be renamed Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. It will have 1,000 offices across nine domestic and four international locations, including London.

Both firms suffered declining revenue and profit in 2015. Arnold & Porter posted a turnover of $650m for 2015, down 6% from the year before, while the DC-based firm, with a strong regulatory practice, suffered a 13% slump in profits per equity partner (PEP) to $1.21m in the last calendar year.

Meanwhile, former Global 100 firm Kaye Scholer posted revenue of $370m for 2015, a decline of 1%, while PEP was at $1.38m, down 2%. The larger Arnold & Porter averaged 234 equity partners in 2015, while Kaye Scholer has 96 equity and 24 non-equity partners.

The largest offices at the combined firm will be Washington (roughly 400 lawyers) and New York (325 lawyers). The firm will also have 175 lawyers across three offices in California, and 60 lawyers in London. It will also have outposts in Chicago, Denver, Houston, and West Palm Beach; as well as coverage in Brussels, Frankfurt, and Shanghai.

According to our Global London report, Arnold & Porter had 16 partners in the City in 2015, a 5% increase from the year before. Kaye Scholer is slightly smaller, with ten partners in the City.

Kaye Scholer managing partner Michael Solow said: ‘This combination enhances our ability to anticipate and address our clients’ most significant and complex legal matters and will result in service offerings that are among the broadest and deepest in the two key US legal markets – New York and Washington.’

Arnold & Porter chair Richard Alexander, who will serve as chair of the combined firm added:

‘The collective talents and financial resources of the new firm will allow us to continue to deliver to clients the sophisticated counsel and service that they expect, while creating substantial economies of scale that will accelerate our investments in talent and technologies and enable us to pursue innovation in the efficient delivery of legal services.’

The combination is the latest in a string of tie-ups involving Global 100 firms in a market that is ripe for consolidation with increasing commoditisation. Earlier this month, Legal Business revealed Morgan Lewis & Bockius is in talks with King & Wood Mallesons for a merger, while Addleshaw Goddard and Hunton & Williams have held talks in recent months about a combination.

Earlier in the year, talks between US firms Reed Smith and Pepper Hamilton were terminated in April.

Legal Business

Veteran KWM litigator Mervis exits for Arnold & Porter


Seasoned litigator Hilton Mervis has become the latest partner to quit King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) London office after agreeing to join Arnold & Porter.

Commercial litigator Mervis is well known for his work advising private equity houses and asset managers in disputes. He is one of KWM’s most senior City partners, having run for the senior partner post at predecessor firm SJ Berwin but losing to Stephen Kon in 2012.

His exit comes at a troubled time for KWM’s London office, with European and Middle East managing partner William Boss resigning just nine months into the role after a fractious partnership review that saw about 15 underperforming partners managed out of the firm and profit payments delayed. The search for Boss’s successor was postponed last month when the firm restructured its practices down from 17 to three.

Since SJ Berwin merged with KWM to give the firm a European presence there has been a exodus of talent, with disputes colleagues Nick Brocklesby and London litigation head Alex Leitch departing for US rivals in the past two years. Corporate heavyweights Steven Davis, Richard Lever and Tim Wright have also left during the past 24 months, to Proskauer Rose, Goodwin Procter and DLA Piper respectively.

After a quiet period for the London office of Arnold & Porter, Mervis becomes the firm’s second City hire in as many months following the arrival of intellectual property partner Michael Bywell from Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.

Mervis becomes the firm’s third disputes partner in London, which is currently home to 44 lawyers and 16 partners.



Legal Business

Omani sovereign wealth fund calls in Freshfields to sue Bulgaria


Oman’s largest sovereign wealth fund has hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to take Bulgaria to arbitration over its role in the collapse in Balkan bank KTB, while the Bulgarian government has instructed Arnold & Porter to defend the claim ahead of preferred law firm White & Case.

Freshfields partners Boris Kasolowsky in Frankfurt and Willibald Plesser in Vienna have been handed the task of recouping losses suffered by the State General Reserve Fund of Oman after KTB closed in June 2014. The arbitration claim, understood to be valued at more than $100m including interest, has been filed at the World Bank’s arbitration court, the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID).

The fund held a 30% stake in KTB, which was placed under the supervision of Bulgaria’s central bank last year amid the country’s worst banking crisis in two decades. A bank run began, with customers rushing to withdraw their deposits following allegations that the bank’s main shareholder, Tsvetan Vassilev was embezzling its funds. Vassilev has denied the charges in a case yet to go to trial.

The claim is the sixth time that Bulgaria has been sued at the ICSID, with the Balkan country instructing Arnold & Porter for the first time.

Four Arnold & Porter partners are working on the case, with Washington DC duo Jean Kalicki and Paolo Di Rosa handling the claim stateside, with support from David Reed and Dmitri Evseev in London.

White & Case has acted on four of Bulgaria’s six investor-state cases at the ICSID and is currently counsel on a €600m claim from Austrian energy group EVN over regulatory decisions that reduced its profits in the region.

Kasolowsky and Plesser are representing EVN in that case, which makes the KTB claim Freshfields’ second active case against Bulgaria.

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Arnold & Porter and Squire Patton Boggs make moves in the City while Bird & Bird brings in a new head of corporate in Poland


Squire Patton Boggs has recruited a London projects team from Nabarro spearheaded by partner Robin Baillie, as Arnold & Porter bolsters its life sciences group and Bird & Bird brings in Gide Loyrette Nouel partner Rafał Dziedzic to head its corporate practice in Poland.

Baillie, who specialises in advising governments on infrastructure projects and has 15 years’ experience under his belt, is joined by Nabarro associates Stefanie Atchinson and Anna Le Jehan.

Partner Philippa Chadwick, who leads Squire Patton Boggs’ global projects group, said: ‘The arrival of Robin and his team gives a significant boost to the development of our international projects and Public Private Partnership (PPP) capability. Robin, Stefanie and Anna give us additional resources and know-how here in London to handle a growing number of projects both in the UK, Ireland and Western Europe but also further afield, particularly the Middle East.’

Baillie added: ‘Squire Patton Boggs has a great track record of PFI/PPP in the UK, Europe and Asia and is now developing that capability in North America. It’s great to join such a strong projects team in the UK that also has such a powerful global platform.’

Squire Patton Boggs was not the only US-based firm to make a London play, with Arnold & Porter picking up corporate partner Blaine Templeman from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. Templeman will split his time between London and New York and his hire is a direct response to the increased link between Europe and the US in the pharma sector following recent mergers.   

Tim Frazer, head of Arnold & Porter’s London office, said: ‘Blaine’s skills and experience on the European side of commercial life sciences transactions expands our depth in this critical and ever-changing sector, and will be of great benefit to our clients in the UK.’

 ‘Arnold & Porter has a large number of lawyers with deep experience in the industry, which will enable me to broaden my service to clients and allow for collaboration with my new colleagues both nationally and overseas,’ said Templeman.

Meanwhile in Europe, Bird & Bird appointed Rafał Dziedzic as head of its corporate and M&A practice in Warsaw. Dziedzic joins from Gide Loyrette Nouel where he was head of the M&A and corporate department for the country.

Maciej Gawroński, head of Bird & Bird’s Warsaw office, said: ‘Our clients who have worked with Rafał before congratulated us on winning him for our firm. He is well-known for his in-depth experience, knowledge and market understanding, which combined with the know-how and reputation of the whole Bird & Bird team will allow us to build a strong and stable corporate practice in Poland, focusing in particular on M&A transactions.’

Legal Business

Edwards Wildman sees final corporate partner exit for Olswang as Arnold & Porter emerges as ‘in talks’ with disputes team


US firm Edwards Wildman has seen the last of its quintet of disgruntled corporate partners resign as it has emerged that Niall McAlister has departed for Olswang.The firm could also potentially face further loss from its City disputes practice as it has come to light that fellow US firm Arnold & Porter has been in talks with its commercial litigation partners. Commercial litigation partner Rod Cowper has already resigned and is moving to City firm Teacher Stern.

Acknowledged by The Legal 500 as having ‘a practical approach and deep industry understanding’ of the market, transactional lawyer McAlister is the latest loss to Edwards Wildman’s corporate team.

Stephen Reese, co-chair of Olswang’s life sciences practice, said: ‘Our successful life sciences practice has been growing rapidly in the last few years. As a result, we having been looking carefully for additional well-known and experienced corporate partners in the sector who can further develop our corporate strength in one of the key sector focuses for our corporate group. Niall was an obvious choice given his experience, and we are excited that he has agreed to join us. Likewise, he was drawn to Olswang because of our reputation in the sector and our unique IP and regulatory law offering.’

Located at Old Broad Street, the original five corporate partners in talks with management over potentially resigning were understood to be unhappy over the lack of support from the US together with issues of ‘disconnection’.

First to resign was co-chair of Edwards Wildman’s venture capital group Shawn Atkinson who is headed for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Transactions partner Stuart Blythe, who joined from Bird & Bird in 2011, was next and is set to join CMS Cameron McKenna. It emerged days ago that London private equity and venture capital head David Ramm is to move to Morgan Lewis & Bockius. It is also known that capital markets partner Eero Rautalahti has resigned but it is unclear as to where he will move.

The departure of litigator Cowper, the former London head of litigation for Squire Sanders, will also be a loss to Edwards Wildman’s City disputes team. Ranked as a ‘well regarded’ disputes lawyer, Cowper is experienced in international arbitration and has conducted litigation in all commercial divisions of the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council.

The firm has also seen a string of insurance exits, including Damian Connolly who went in-house to American managed healthcare company Aetna International; heavyweight Francis Mackie who left for national firm Weightmans; and Mark Meyer who joined Cozen O’Connor’s London office as a partner in its insurance and reinsurance practice. A trio of litigation associates were also understood to have resigned in June, including Rhys Davies who will join Mackie at Weightmans.

Edwards Wildman declined to comment.

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Monckton attracts public law team; Arnold & Porter launches City financial services; Dentons grows in HK


The past week saw Monckton Chambers attract a five-barrister public law team led by Ian Wise QC from Doughty Street Chambers, as Arnold & Porter launched a City financial services practice with the hire of Katten Muchin Rosenman’s Tim Aron, Dentons grew its Hong Kong finance practice with the hire of Jeff Chen from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft and Mayer Brown established a corporate and securities practice in its Palo Alto office with a dual partner relocation.

Wise joins as a new tenant alongside Azeem Suterwalla, Steve Broach, Nikolaus Grubeck and Conor McCarthy. The group practices across a range of administrative law, civil liberties, human rights and international law. Monckton has sought to expand its administrative & public law set in recent years and has specialised in handling freedom of information, data protection and privacy, environmental law and financial services mandates.

Monckton has also taken on two new tenants in the form of pupils Daisy Mackersie, who worked in the House of Lords on the Equality Bill, and financial services specialist Stefan Kuppen, who has had stints at JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Paul Lasok QC, head of Monckton Chambers, said: ‘They are a group of highly regarded and experienced practitioners who greatly strengthen the range and depth of the public law expertise that Monckton Chambers is able to offer its lay and professional clients. We are also very pleased to continue our organic growth with the recruitment of two outstanding pupils.’

Wise added: ‘We are not moving to Monckton to abandon our existing clients, quite the contrary, I expect to see more and better publicly funded work at Monckton alongside private work for the team.’

Elsewhere in the City, US firm Arnold & Porter has launched a financial services regulation practice with the hire of Aron. Prior to entering private practice he spent five years at the Financial Services Authority, which was replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority last year, advising its markets, banking and enforcement divisions on post-financial crisis policies. He has also served as legal adviser to the UK Listing Authority and to the UK Competition Commission.

Arnold & Porter chairman, Thomas Milch, said: ‘We expect Tim’s considerable financial services regulation experience will be of value to our domestic and foreign institutional clients, many of whom are now facing increased UK and European regulatory activity.’

Tim Frazer, who heads up Arnold & Porter’s London office, added: ‘Tim’s service at the FSA brings to the table the kind of practical experience that will hugely benefit our clients in the UK.’

Elsewhere, Dentons continues to grow its finance practice in Hong Kong with the lateral hire of Chen.

Chen has experience in capital markets, structured finance and derivatives, with an emphasis in limited recourse and cross-border financing structures of all types, including asset-backed securities and asset backed loans. He also advises on compliance with the Volcker Rule and on the regulation of OTC derivatives under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Commenting on the hire, Asia Pacific partner in charge, Mitch Dudek, said, ‘Jeff is an outstanding lawyer with an impressive client portfolio including leading international banks and hedge funds. He fulfills our need for a strong finance partner in Hong Kong, a strategic priority and part of our ongoing commitment to growth across the Greater China practice.’

The move came as Mayer Brown announced last week that it is establishing a corporate and securities practice in its Palo Alto office with the relocation of partners Jennifer Carlson and Nina Flax from Chicago in order to capitalise on increased international interest in the area, particularly from investors in East Asia.

‘The addition of Jen and Nina to the Palo Alto office bolsters Mayer Brown’s ability to provide legal counsel in California to both domestic and foreign companies doing business in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, particularly on transactions related to capital markets, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, cross-border joint ventures and corporate governance,’ said Edward Johnson, partner-in-charge of Mayer Brown’s Palo Alto office.

‘California is one of the fastest-growing international economies, and companies across the globe—particularly those based in East Asia—are increasingly looking to invest or operate in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley,’ said Ms. Carlson. ‘Therefore, it is more important than ever for such companies to have access to a law firm with a local presence and strong global platform—like Mayer Brown—to advise them on cross-border M&A, capital markets and general corporate matters.’

Legal Business

Texas launch – Arnold & Porter opens Houston presence with four-partner Hogan Lovells litigation team


Washington-headquartered Global 100 law firm Arnold & Porter has become the latest to launch in Houston with the hire of a four-strong litigation team from Hogan Lovells.

Thad Dameris, the former managing partner of Hogan Lovells’ Houston office, has left the transatlantic firm alongside litigation partners Trevor Jefferies, Christopher Odell and David Weiner, leaving a remaining partnership of six.

Legacy Hogan & Hartson partner Dameris will now head the Arnold & Porter Houston office, while Odell and Jefferies join as counsel and partner respectively. Weiner, a former attorney for the office of legal counsel in the US Department of Justice, will be based in Arnold & Porter’s Washington D.C office as a partner.

Houston has been a recent target for a number of Global 100 law firms including Dentons, which in September announced its 16th US office and 79th globally in the capital. Legacy Norton Rose, meanwhile, long understood to have been looking at opportunities in Houston, achieved that ambition via its merger with Houston-founded leading energy firm Fulbright & Jaworski, which went live on 1 June 2013.

Arnold & Porter chairman Tom Milch said there are ‘significant opportunities to build in Houston based on our existing strengths and our experience in the region. We are targeting growth of practices in Houston that help us continue to provide sophisticated service to clients, in the energy sector and elsewhere, in the most cost-effective way possible.’

Arnold & Porter also this month hired the former general counsel of the Air Force, Charles Blanchard, who joined the firm as a partner in its government contracts and national security practice on 6 January. Blanchard joins the firm to provide strategic guidance to its defence clients, particularly in relation to major weapon systems procurement and acquisition, enforcement, classified programmes and cyber security.