Legal Business

White & Case loses two capital markets veterans as Bakers ramps up City transactional investment

White & Case loses two capital markets veterans as Bakers ramps up City transactional investment

Baker McKenzie has kicked off 2019 with another step towards its long-stated aim of beefing up its London transactional capabilities, hiring capital markets partners Rob Mathews and David Becker from White & Case.

Veteran Mathews played a key role in White & Case’s high-yield practice and led on a number of large mandates including the $10bn refinancing of Wind Tre in 2017.

A partner at the US firm for more than a decade, Becker’s work has included representing Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Mizuho Bank, Morgan Stanley, RBC and Sumitomo Mitsui on the financing of Teva Pharmaceutical’s $40.5bn acquisition of Allergan Generics.

Bakers’ EMEA capital markets head Adam Farlow said the two hires would add ‘underwriter and lender side power’ on the issuer side and ensure its leveraged finance practice is more balanced.

The departures are a rare reversal in White & Case’s City expansion of late, with hires including Weil Gotshal & Manges’ well-regarded head of banking, Mark Donald in November and Herbert Smith Freehills infrastructure partner Simon Caridia the previous month.

For Bakers, Mathews and Becker are the latest in a series of hires since chair Paul Rawlinson unveiled his strategy to recruit up to 20 transactional partners in the City by 2020.

Hires last year included finance partners Matthew Dening from Sidley Austin and Matthew Cox from Ropes & Gray.

The firm last year posted one of its best financial performances in recent history as revenue rose 8% to $2.9bn and partner profits surged 13% to $1.44m in the year to 30 June 2018.

But the firm announced in October Rawlinson would step back temporarily due to exhaustion, with Latin America chair Jaime Trujillo taking over as acting global chair in the interim. There is no set date for Rawlinson’s return although the firm expects he will do so soon.

In a busy start to 2019 for the City’s lateral recruitment market, Clifford Chance announced the hire of former Barclay’s head of incentives Andrew Patterson. He originally trained at City firm Ashurst and practiced as an incentives lawyer there until his move to Barclays in 2010.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

For more on Rawlinson’s strategy for Baker McKenzie, see ‘Waking the giant’ (£)

Legal Business

Deal watch: Busy year-end as Japanese group buys Swiss power grid and Malaysian funds invest in Battersea

Deal watch: Busy year-end as Japanese group buys Swiss power grid and Malaysian funds invest in Battersea

City deal teams are having a busy run-up to Christmas, with Baker McKenzie, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Addleshaw Goddard and Linklaters leading on two multibillion-dollar deals.

Bakers’ London private equity head David Allen and corporate partner Jannan Crozier led a team advising Hitachi as the Japanese conglomerate acquired 80.1% of Swiss giant ABB’s power grid division for around $6.4bn.

Hitachi’s largest ever acquisition, with an enterprise value of $11bn including net debt, saw Freshfields’ M&A partners Piers Prichard Jones and Stephen Hewes advise ABB, which will retain control of 19.9% of a business spread across more than 100 countries and employing over 130,000 people.

‘The impact of this deal will be felt for generations to come,’ Crozier told Legal Business, pointing to the ability of the Japanese group to combine its technology with the infrastructure acquired from ABB and bring energy to areas of the world where it is more difficult to get to. ‘They will be able to revolutionise the way power is brought to consumers.’

Swiss firm Homburger’s M&A partners Claude Lambert and David Oser also acted for ABB, which is looking to simplify its business structure and focus on automation technology.

The Swiss group is able to require Hitachi to buy the remaining 19.9% of the power grid business in three years’ time. Under a so called ‘put and call’ provision, Hitachi will also be able to require ABB to sell its remaining stake in the business.

‘In the short term we will provide the maximum stability to the company through this joint venture, but in three years’ time we will have the flexibility to do that,’ Crozier said. The Bakers team was supported by Tokyo partners Akifusa Takada and Yutaka Kimura.

The acquisition caps off a busy 2018 for Bakers, which was active on numerous large deals over the last few months. Earlier in December the firm acted for Unilever on its £3.1bn acquisition of malted drink brand Horlicks from GlaxoSmithKline.

Elsewhere, the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station in London provided rich pickings for a trio of City firms as Malaysia’s asset manager Permodalan Nasional Berhad and state pension fund The Employees Provident Fund took a £1.6bn stake in the £9bn project.

Addleshaws’ real estate partner Simon Tager led the team acting for Battersea Power Station Development Company on the sale of the commercial assets of phase two of the project, including a six-acre site hosting the former coal power station on the south bank of the river Thames. Addleshaws’ Leona Ahmed, Luke Harvey, Hugh Lauritsen and Lee Sheldon also worked on the deal, while the buyers instructed Linklaters’ real estate partner Patrick Plant.

Phase two, which will include Apple’s new UK headquarters, is due to complete by the end of 2020.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal watch: Bakers and Slaughters drink in £3.1bn Horlicks acquisition as AJ Bell IPO yields dividends for Pinsents and Addleshaws

Deal watch: Bakers and Slaughters drink in £3.1bn Horlicks acquisition as AJ Bell IPO yields dividends for Pinsents and Addleshaws

As the market hunkers down for the festive season, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) £3.1bn sale to Unilever of Horlicks has warmed the cockles of City teams from Baker McKenzie and Slaughter and May, while Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard have won key mandates on what is likely the year’s last big London listing.

The GSK deal sees it sell its malted drink brand Horlicks and other consumer healthcare nutrition brands to Unilever and includes the merger of listed GSK Consumer Healthcare India with Hindustan Unilever. GSK will also sell its 82% stake in GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh in the deal, which is slated to complete by the end of next year.

Bakers stepped up for long-standing client Unilever on the deal, with a London team led by corporate partner David Scott alongside partners Steve Holmes, Sue McLean and Michelle Blunt, who advised on the IP and tech aspects of the deal, as well as tax partner Alistair Craig.

Indian firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas advised Unilever on Indian law, while Slaughter and May, with a team including partners David Johnson, Simon Nicholls and Christian Boney, acted for GSK.

Last year, Bakers advised Unilever on its acquisition of the personal care and homecare brands of Quala, the Latin American consumer goods company, as well as it joint venture with Europe & Asia Commercial Company in Myanmar.

Scott told Legal Business: ‘It was a pleasure to partner again with our great client, Unilever, and our friends at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, on this terrific acquisition, including an iconic brand such as Horlicks.’

Meanwhile, Slaughters earlier this year advised repeat client GSK on its $13bn acquisition of Novartis’ 36.5% stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture.

In other news, Pinsents secured a notable win to advise Manchester-headquartered AJ Bell, one of the largest UK investment platform providers, on a proposed listing on the London Stock Exchange which could raise up to £675m.

The price range for the offer has been set at £1.54 to £1.66 per ordinary share, implying a market capitalisation on admission of between £626m and £675m.

Pinsents corporate partner Julian Stanier led the team advising the company, which is also offering customers the opportunity to apply for shares via the AJ Bell website.

Stanier told Legal Business the IPO is slated to be the last big London listing of 2018 after what has been a choppy year for the capital markets.

‘It’s the same with all companies looking to list. If there is a growth story and strong management team, investors will back it, and we are confident that will be the case with AJ Bell.’

Stanier points to the customer offer alongside the institutional offer as being a point of interest.

He added: ‘The quasi-retail element is not the most common, although it has appeared before, such as in Ocado’s 2010 IPO. What’s interesting is that the whole customer offer can be done completely through AJ Bell’s website.’

Shares are due to be admitted on 12 December.

Addleshaws, meanwhile is advising Numis as sponsor, financial adviser, sole bookrunner and broker to AJ Bell on the float, led by partners Giles Distin in London and Richard Lee in Manchester.

The firm pointed to other notable listings it has worked on in the last two years, including the IPOs of Mind Gym, Sumo Digital, The City Pub Company and Ramsdens.

Distin commented: ‘Whilst UK IPO activity has generally been more muted this year, partly due to volatile market conditions and fears around Brexit, several sizeable and successful businesses have managed to complete a flotation. Like Numis, which has remained very active in the IPO market this year, we’re pleased to have been busy throughout 2018 advising on IPOs and other equity capital markets work.’

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Baker McKenzie chair Rawlinson temporarily steps back due to ‘exhaustion’

Baker McKenzie chair Rawlinson temporarily steps back due to ‘exhaustion’

Paul Rawlinson (pictured) has stepped back from his responsibilities as Baker McKenzie global chair due to a personal medical issue.

The firm’s executive committee announced to the partnership today (22 October) that Rawlinson will be taking a leave of absence based on the advice of his doctor and in response to exhaustion.

There is no set date for Rawlinson’s return although the firm expects he will do so soon. Latin America chair Jaime Trujillo will serve as acting global chair in the interim.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘Paul has decided to take a step back from firm leadership and client responsibilities to make his health and recovery his immediate priority.’

They added the firm looked ‘forward to welcoming him back soon. Out of respect for Paul and his family, we are unable to provide any additional details at this time.’

The news comes a few days before the firm’s global partnership conference in Washington DC and a few days after Rawlinson’s second anniversary at the helm of the firm. The conference will go ahead as planned.

The firm’s first British chair was in the middle of the implementation of his 2020 strategy, which has a focus on integrating Bakers across three profit pools, increasing its profitability and growing the firm’s transactional practices in London, New York and China.

The firm’s former London head, Rawlinson took over as chair from Eduardo Leite in October 2016.

Under his watch, Bakers this year posted one of its best financial performances in recent history as revenue grew 10% to $2.9bn and partner profits surged 13% to $1.44m.

Bakers has also been dealing with criticism in the last few months for allowing one of its partners to take on senior roles amid accusations the partner in question sexually assaulted an associate in 2012.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

For more on Rawlinson’s strategy see ‘Waking the giant’ (£)

Legal Business

Bakers launches low-cost hub in Florida… just after redundancy consultation with 300 City staff

Bakers launches low-cost hub in Florida… just after redundancy consultation with 300 City staff

Baker McKenzie has announced plans for its third low-cost centre two weeks after putting what is thought to be more than 300 City business staff under consultation in a global efficiency drive.

The firm’s new global hub in Tampa, Florida, will be operational in 2020 and create more than 300 roles – a similar headcount to the firm’s London professional and business services (PBS) staff put under review earlier this month.

Again similarly to London’s PBS staff, the new roles will cover legal services, finance, IT, knowledge management, operations, business development, marketing and communications. The firm’s two other low-cost hubs are in Manila and Belfast.

‘We were looking for an exceptional pool of talent, a meaningful cultural fit and a global outlook that will work well with our business needs – Tampa ticked all those boxes,’ said the firm’s former Washington DC and New York chief operating officer, Jamie Lawless, who will now lead the new hub.

Global chair Paul Rawlinson (pictured) added: ‘Our centres, and our plans to grow them, show we are serious about innovating to provide faster, more efficient and more cost-effective services.’

Bakers announced a three-year global reorganisation of its service delivery earlier this month. A decision has yet to be reached as to how many City roles will go as a result of the process.

Making Bakers more profitable is a long-stated aim of Rawlinson, while the firm has an unofficial goal to bring its profits per equity partner (PEP) to $2m. It made significant headway in that direction this year, as partner profits rose 13% to $1.44m amid 8% revenue growth to $2.9bn.

Such moves underline the spirit-dampening trend sweeping global law of business service staff being axed and jobs relocated to cheaper locales in efficiency drives, while lawyers are left largely untouched.

A number of firms have put their City support staff under review amid increasing pressure to maximise efficiency. In July, Ashurst slashed 54 of its 100-strong secretarial team and Ince & Co announced 32 redundancies.

Hogan Lovells cut 54 of around 500 business services roles in June, moving most of them to low-cost hubs in Birmingham, Johannesburg and Louisville.

Cynics will note that such moves happen at the same time law firms are loudly trumpeting initiatives to expand their skills beyond the law.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

For more analysis on Baker McKenzie see ‘Waking the giant’ (£)

Legal Business

Review of Baker McKenzie #MeToo incident finds ‘shortcomings’ but details scant as sacked Quinn partner finds new firm

Review of Baker McKenzie #MeToo incident finds ‘shortcomings’ but details scant as sacked Quinn partner finds new firm

An under-wraps independent review of Baker McKenzie’s approach to a sexual misconduct incident six years ago has concluded there were ‘a number of shortcomings’ but details are scarce. Meanwhile Mark Hastings, the disputes partner sacked by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan earlier this year following ‘inappropriate behaviour’, has emerged at Mayfair boutique Grosvenor Law.

Bakers appointed Simmons & Simmons in February  to review the way the firm had handled accusations that one of its London partners sexually assaulted an associate in 2012 .

The associate left the firm after reaching a settlement and Bakers has faced criticism for allowing the partner in question to stay at the firm and take on subsequent senior roles. After news of the incident came to light in February this year the firm announced the partner would leave and acknowledged it should have handled the incident better.

Bakers on Monday (8 October) filed the report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is investigating the incident and its response. However, the firm has refused to disclose the content publicly amid a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) signed at the time of the incident that prevents identification of the victim. Instead, the firm opted to issue today (11 October) an anonymised statement from a ‘spokesperson’ noticeably lacking in details that poses more questions than it answers. The firm declined to make any further statement or release a copy of Simmons report.

‘Simmons commented that as a firm we had been particularly open and transparent in our desire to ensure that we got to the root of the problem and to learn from our mistakes,’ said the spokesperson. ‘The report concluded that there were a number of shortcomings in the way the incident was handled at that time which we very much regret…The SRA investigation is ongoing, as is our commitment to protect the privacy of the former associate, as she has requested.’

A special committee including a group of senior Bakers partners worked on the review alongside Simmons, carrying out more than three dozen interviews and analysing documents.

The review recommended a series of initiatives which the firm will be introducing over the next few months, such as the introduction of a ‘first point of contact’ role in every office – a partner, associate or other professionals trained to deal with concerns around inappropriate conduct. The firm will also introduce mandatory workplace behaviour training.

Elsewhere, Mayfair litigation boutique Grosvenor Law has also announced today that it has hired former Quinn Emanuel partner Mark Hastings, who is also currently under investigation by the SRA following allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

Quinn sacked Hastings without compensation five months ago following allegations by two staff members and an independent investigation carried out by Alison Levitt QC of Mishcon de Reya. However, that Grosvenor Law has unveiled Hastings’ appointment means that for the time being the ongoing SRA investigation has not affected his ability to practise.

‘Mark is an excellent practitioner and his appointment bolsters our growing team,’ said Grosvenor Law partner Daniel Astaire. ‘No comment will be made into alleged matters with another firm.’

Responsibility will now fall heavily on the SRA to take the lead and decide the extent to which Baker McKenzie and Hastings need to be held to account for their actions to avoid any accusation of a whitewash in both incidents.

marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

For more on the issue of City law’s handling of NDAs, see ‘Draining the swamp’ (£)

Legal Business

City job cuts loom as Bakers puts 300-plus business staff under consultation in efficiency drive

City job cuts loom as Bakers puts 300-plus business staff under consultation in efficiency drive

Support roles in the City are under threat again as Baker McKenzie has launched a review of its entire London professional and business services (PBS) staff, estimated to include around 350 people.

Kicking off at the end of this month as part of the firm’s drive to improve profitability, the consultation will affect Bakers’ finance, business development, knowledge management, human resources, marketing and communications teams. A spokesperson for the firm said a decision had yet to be reached as to how many roles will be impacted.

A three-year global reorganisation of the firm’s services delivery will also include investment in tech and the creation of new roles in its low cost hubs in Manila and Belfast, as well as the launch of new services centres in North and South America.

Chief operating officer Jason Marty said that while the firm’s PBS function had grown organically over time, the firm now needed a more ‘modern and agile’ team.

He added that the firm’s priority was to become ‘a more efficient organisation with competitive and sustainable profitability’.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We will be consulting as widely as possible in London with PBS teams and representatives will be elected for all teams in line with the UK legal and regulatory framework.’

Making Bakers more profitable is a long-stated aim of global chair Paul Rawlinson, while the firm has an unofficial goal to bring its profits per equity partner (PEP) to $2m. It made significant headway in that direction this year, hiking partner profits 13% to $1.44m amid 8% revenue growth to $2.9bn. But it still lags the Global 100 average PEP of $1.76m.

Bakers is the latest in a number of firms to put its City support staff under review amid increasing pressure to maximise efficiency. In July, Ashurst slashed 54 of its 100-strong secretarial team and Ince & Co announced 32 redundancies, including 25 business services staff and seven fee earners.

Hogan Lovells cut 54 of around 500 business services roles in June, moving most of them to low-cost hubs in Birmingham, Johannesburg and Louisville.

marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

To learn more about Paul Rawlison’s strategy, see ‘Waking the giant’ (£)

Legal Business

‘The giant is awakening’: Baker McKenzie adds $230m to revenue as partner profits surge 13%

‘The giant is awakening’: Baker McKenzie adds $230m to revenue as partner profits surge 13%

Baker McKenzie has posted one of its best financial performances in recent history as revenue hit $2.9bn and partner profits reached $1.44m in the year to 30 June 2018.

An upbeat chair Paul Rawlinson claimed his firm was winning more higher value work as revenue rose 10% in constant currency and 8% in dollar terms from last year’s $2.67bn. The result confirmed Bakers as the third highest billing firm in the world, behind Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins.

Rawlison said the firm was climbing up the value chain in the mandates it acted on, pointing to the 13% growth in profits outpacing the increase in revenue.

‘The giant is awakening,’ he added, referring to Legal Businessfeature on Bakers last year. ‘We are going up the market, there is no question about that.’

He saw the results as an endorsement of its strategy of focusing on the key money centres – London, New York and China – as well as integrating the global giant and pitching to clients around industry sectors.

EMEA had a particularly strong year and accounted for 39% of turnover. Americas were a close second at 35% despite a flat Latin American market due to the ups and downs in the local economies. Asia Pacific brought in the remaining 26% of revenue.

Rawlinson singled out the capital markets practice, which saw a significant increase in IPO activity, the international trade group, which was particularly busy advising on sanctions, as well as the employment and antitrust practices. However, he added: ‘You really have to be firing on all cylinders to make sure there is this steady growth across the firm.’

Bakers has been on an unusually high number of large mandates in recent months, such as Chinese internet giant Tencent’s €2.1bn acquisition of videogame publisher Ubisoft from Vivendi and Turkish freight shipping operator UN Ro-Ro’s €950m sale to DFDS. It also advised German company Knauf on its $6bn proposed takeover of USG Corporation as well as DK Telekommunikation and a Macquarie-managed consortium on the $6.7bn takeover of Danish telecoms business TDC.

The year also saw Bakers make a highly significant step towards its stategic goal of integrating along three profits centres in Europe, America and Asia by 2020 as it agreed a deal to unite the bulk of its EMEA business into a single pool. Although Germany and France stayed out of the grouping, Rawlinson said the ‘overwhelming majority’ of the partnership wanted a more integrated firm and promised there would be updates on that front within the next 12 months.

As well as opening its ninth US office in Los Angeles in March, the firm made considerable additions to its partnership over the year with 53 laterals and 64 promotions.

‘The investment in the key financial centres is starting to pick up with a lot of interesting candidates who are increasingly interested in our platform,’ Rawlinson said.

The double-digit revenue growth is particularly good news for a firm that has consistently failed to gain real momentum after the banking crisis.

The five-year performance now looks rosier, with the firm hiking revenue 20% since 2012-13. Profits per equity partner (PEP) still lags the Global 100 average of $1.76m, but this year’s double-digit rise is a good step ahead towards the unofficial target of $2m.

Rawlison admitted that compared to the other giants in the world’s top three the firm has a profitability challenge but concluded: ‘I am optimistic that we can keep this pace. We are beginning to show we can make strides in profitability.’

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Baker McKenzie makes up six in London amid scaled back global promotion round as the firm claims largest female partnership

Baker McKenzie makes up six in London amid scaled back global promotion round as the firm claims largest female partnership

Baker McKenzie has promoted six in the City as part of a scaled down global promotion round which saw 68 lawyers minted, 15% fewer than last year’s 80.

Together with 53 laterals during this financial year, the promotions mean partner numbers at the firm hit 1,600.

Of the new partners, 40% are women. With more than 400 women among its global partnership ranks, the firm claimed it had the largest female partnership of any law firm.

Global chair Paul Rawlinson (pictured) told Legal Business that for a firm of the size of Bakers the numbers were only marginally down on last year’s round. He added that what made the firm’s approach to promotions special was its distribution of partners across offices: ‘I don’t think any other firm has this approach of seeking to be a dominant player across Asia and the Americas in the same way that we do. It is a pretty strong makeup of partners across the world.’

The firm’s traditionally strong tax practice saw the largest intake at 14, but M&A was a close second with 13 getting the nod, in line with Rawlinson’s push to beef up the firm’s transactional ranks. Disputes saw the number of new partners halved, with eight minted compared to last year’s 16.

‘M&A, disputes and tax are our three core areas,’ said Rawlinson.

Despite global promotions being down this year, the number of lawyers promoted in the City was up by one on last year.

Richard Needham was promoted in the M&A team and Jeremy Levy in banking, while the tax group saw two minted – Jessica Eden and David Jamieson. London promotions also included Jessica Le Gros in IP and Jonathan Sharp in employment.

‘This a significant number of new promotions for London which, alongside our recent lateral hires, reflects that we are well and truly in growth mode,’ said London managing partner Alex Chadwick.

The firm’s London office also added a number of partners laterally this year, including former Clifford Chance corporate partner Kathy Honeywood.

The promotions in North America took effect on 1 January 2018 while the others will take effect on 1 July 2018

The full list of the newly elected partners is as follows:

Antitrust & Competition
Fang-Yi Jen (Taipei)
Joost Haans (Brussels)
Catherine Koh Stillman (New York)

Banking & Finance
Kullarat Phongsathaporn (Bangkok)
David Cooper (Sydney)
Jeremy Levy (London)
Juan Carlos Gonzalez Novo (Chicago)

Capital Markets
Ivy Tun Kei Wong (Hong Kong)
Kowit Adireksombat (Bangkok)
Kammalard Urapeepatanapong (Bangkok)
Steve J. Park (Houston)
Ora Wexler (Toronto)

Dispute Resolution
Tjen Wee Wong (Singapore)
Robert Lee (Taipei)
Luca Beffa (Geneva)
Dr. Nicolai Behr (Munich)
Anton Mikel (Riyadh)
Cristina Mejia (Bogota)
Jennifer B. Seale (Washington, DC)
Ahmed Shafey (Toronto)

Employment & Compensation
Pamela Tsai (Taipei)
Stephen Hardy (Sydney)
Kellie-Ann McDade (Melbourne)
Jonathan Sharp (London)
Margarita Fernández (Madrid)
Nadège Dallais (Paris)
Christopher Burkett (Toronto)

International Commercial & Trade
Kerry B. Contini (Washington, DC)
José Hoyos-Robles (Mexico City)
Richard L. White (Dallas)

Intellectual Property
Jessica Le Gros (London)
Matt Dushek (Washington, DC)
Benjamin (Ben) B. Kelly (Dallas)
Carlos Alberto Vela-Treviño (Mexico City)

IT & Communications
Dr. Michaela Nebel (Frankfurt)

Mergers & Acquisitions
Jeremy Ong (Hong Kong)
Stephanie Phua (Kuala Lumpur)
Ee Von Teo (Kuala Lumpur)
Olha Demianiuk (Kyiv)
Sergei Lomakin (Moscow)
Jingjin Guo (Geneva)
Dr. Björn Simon (Frankfurt)
Caner Elmas (Istanbul)
Duygu Gultekin (Istanbul)
Richard Needham (London)
Elodie Duchêne (Luxembourg)
Aurélie Govillé (Paris)
Christina M. Bullock (Chicago)

Private Equity
Omar J. Iqbal (Riyadh)

Projects
Kate Phillips (Melbourne)
Samir S. Desai (Tokyo)

Real Estate
Taijiro Suzuki (Tokyo)
Olivier Ducrey (Geneva)
Brian Zurawski (Chicago)

Tax
Michael Nixon (Singapore)
Jason Wen (Fenxun Beijing)
Simone Bridges (Sydney)
Kirill Vikulov (Moscow)
David Jamieson (London)
Jessica Eden (London)
Rodrigo Castillo Cottin (Bogota)
Paul F. DePasquale (New York)
Tatyana Johnson (New York)
Victor Alejandro Morales-Chavez (Mexico City)
Jonathan Welbel (Chicago)
Joshua Nixt (New York)
Andrew C. O’Brien-Penney (Chicago)
Ivan Tsios (Chicago)

For more on Paul Rawlinson’s strategy for Baker McKenzie see Waking the Giant

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘I like new challenges’: Bakers securitisation veteran exits for Ashurst

‘I like new challenges’: Bakers securitisation veteran exits for Ashurst

The rebuild at Ashurst following a complicated end to 2017 in which three key partners left in a fortnight has gained some traction with the hire of a senior City lateral from Baker McKenzie.

Bakers’ former global co-head of securitisation Jonathan Walsh will leave the firm today (31 May) after 13 years and take a place in Ashurst’s securitisation team from next Monday (4 June).

A City veteran, Walsh was previously head of international securities at legacy Norton Rose until 2005, and went on to co-lead Bakers’ securitisation operations until January, when he stepped down from the role now held by Philippe Steffens.

‘I like new challenges and Ashurst is a fantastic international firm with a great platform,’ Walsh told Legal Business, adding that the move gave him the opportunity to help build his new firm’s securities capability.

He also looked forward to being reunited with his former colleague and fellow securities lawyer Martin Kaiser, who joined Ashurst in Frankfurt from Bakers in August last year: ‘I consider him an excellent lawyer, a very good colleague and friend.’

‘Jonathan is the missing piece to complete our core securitisation team for Europe,’ Michael Logie, head of Ashurst’s global markets practice told Legal Business. He pointed to Kaiser in Germany and younger City partner Tom Picton, who joined from Clifford Chance last month. ‘We were looking for someone with a senior pedigree and a track record for building securitisation practices. Jonathan ticks all those boxes amazingly well.’

For Bakers, Walsh’s departure comes at a time when the firm is busy building up its City transactional capabilities, most recently with the appointment of former Clifford Chance partner Kathy Honeywood to its energy, mining and industrials practice. The firm appointed three partners in its structured capital markets and banking teams last month, including former White & Case partner Michael Doran.

Ashurst is beefing up its City ranks after being hit by three big losses in November last year, with corporate partners James Wood and Dominic Ross leaving for Sidley Austin and White & Case respectively, while disputes stalwart Ben Giaretta joined Mishcon de Reya.

But the firm began 2018 with some City appointments, including litigator Alison Hardy from Squire Patton Boggs.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk