Legal Business

The City and St Louis share the spoils of 17-strong BCLP global promotion round

The City and St Louis share the spoils of 17-strong BCLP global promotion round

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has promoted five partners in London, the same number as in St Louis, in its second promotion round since becoming a merged entity last year.

The firm promoted 17 globally, six fewer than last year, although London saw an increased investment on the three promoted in 2018.

The round was also strong for female representation, with women making up 60% of the new partner cohort. The promotions spanned London, St Louis, Kansas, Atlanta, Washington, Denver and Los Angeles.

The promotions in the City will be a boon to legacy BLP’s traditionally strong real estate practice, with all but one of the new partners a lawyer in the sector. The new City partners are: Ciarán Londra (real estate); Giles Pink (real estate); Matthew Pomfret (commercial real estate); Payam Yoseflavi (real estate finance); and Claire Morel de Westgaver (arbitration). Last year the City promotions spanned the corporate, contentious construction and asset finance practices.

St Louis – the firm’s largest US office – received an additional partner on last year, across a wider range of practice groups. Kansas and Atlanta saw two additional partners while Washington, Denver and Los Angeles received one apiece. The firm now counts 561 partners across the globe with 1,400 in total across 31 offices.

However, last week BCLP lost partners in the City, with DLA Piper recruiting Bob Maynard and Caroline Pope to its litigation and regulatory practice in London. Meanwhile over the summer, co-chair Lisa Mayhew was elected to serve another four years in the role, while Therese Pritchard was ineligible to serve another term and is to be succeeded by St Louis transactional partner Steven Baumer.

The promotions will be effective as of 1 January 2020.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Akin Gump hires Orrick private equity player as Kirkland revisits Linklaters for tax lateral

Revolving doors: Akin Gump hires Orrick private equity player as Kirkland revisits Linklaters for tax lateral

City and US rivals in London have been continuing to ramp up lateral recruitment with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld adding its third private equity partner in the space of a month, Kirkland & Ellis hiring a tax partner from Linklaters and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) strengthening its employment bench.

Akin Gump hired private equity partner Weyinmi Popo from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe only a month after adding Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey to the bench from Vinson & Elkins in late September.

Popo advises UK and international sponsor and investor clients as well as family offices on private equity, M&A, infrastructure and energy transactions, with an emphasis on Africa. He will start at his new firm later this month.

Akin Gump’s chairperson Kim Koopersmith (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘London is clearly a market we’re focused on for growth, and you’ve seen us welcome a lot of great talent there recently. Much of that growth has been around the private equity space, which complements our other strengths very well and where we’ve identified a number of opportunities. Weyinmi’s practice and skillset fits in perfectly with that strategy. That, coupled with his focus on Africa, where we are seeing tremendous client interest, will make him a great fit.’

Meanwhile, Kirkland has returned to Linklaters to hire tax partner Mavnick Nerwal. He follows in the footsteps of fellow tax partner Tim Lowe who made the move from the Magic Circle firm to the Chicago-bred powerhouse in 2016.

Nerwal has experience in advising financial sponsors, including private equity and investment funds, corporates and financial institutions.

Meanwhile, BCLP has hired Adam Lambert as partner in the employment and labor group. Lambert joined the London office from Kingsley Napley where he focused on employment disputes and global transactions, advising across sectors including asset management, professional services, publishing, manufacturing and hospitality.

Partner and co-leader of the employment and labor team Rebecca Harding-Hill, told Legal Business: ‘Adam particularly fits in with us because of his global reach. He’s got a broad client base which covers financial services, professional services, publishing and hospitality. We have a lot of clients in financial services, so it broadens that out.’

Elsewhere, Clyde & Co has appointed Stefanie Johnston as partner in its global marine and insurance team in Glasgow.

Johnston joins from Keoghs where she helped to establish the firm’s Scottish presence. She will establish and build the firm’s marine offering in Scotland and will work closely with marine colleagues in the UK and globally.

Managing partner at Clyde & Co in Scotland, David Tait told Legal Business: ‘Stephanie has been a marine practitioner for a number of years. She has had clients follow her from firm to firm and it is hoped that when she comes to work for us, that those clients will continue to follow her and that she will grow the practice and build on the many years of experience she has in marine law.

‘We’ve got a significant marine practice in London and if they have any clients that require assistance on Scottish matters, we’ve got Stephanie here who can help them with that,’ added Tait.

Finally, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton London corporate finance partner Andrew Shutter has left the firm after 22 years. Shutter joined the firm in 1997 and advised on a range of debt matters, including being an adviser for Greece’s public debt management agency regarding Greece’s debt negotiations in 2015.

Legal Business

Mayhew secures new four-year term at BCLP with Pritchard ineligible to run again

Mayhew secures new four-year term at BCLP with Pritchard ineligible to run again

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) co-chair Lisa Mayhew has been elected to serve another four years in the role. Meanwhile, current co-chair Therese Pritchard was ineligible to serve another term and is to be succeeded by St Louis transactional partner Steven Baumer.

The terms for Mayhew and Baumer begin 1 January 2020 and will run four years, with Pritchard set to return to her practice after not being eligible to seek another term. Both Mayhew and Pritchard had led their legacy firms going into the transatlantic merger to create BCLP, which was completed 3 April 2018.

However, terms of governance at the firm mean that upon reaching the age of 65, a partner is ineligible to run for senior management, meaning Pritchard was unable to seek an extension to her existing term.

Mayhew (pictured) was first elected managing partner of legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) in 2015, succeeding former managing partner and later senior partner Neville Eisenberg and beating the firm’s former corporate chief David Collins. The firm would not comment on whether Mayhew was contested by any other candidates  in the recent election.

Meanwhile, incoming co-chair Baumer first joined legacy Bryan Cave in 1996, before going on to spearhead the firm’s global transactional practice. Commenting on her re-election, Mayhew told Legal Business: ‘In voting for me and Steve, the partnership is supporting the global strategy at the firm. There is a tone of collaboration here which means we’re all in this boat together.’

While the merger saw the combined entity edge into the top global top 50 in terms of revenue, LLP accounts from January of this year showed that legacy BLP was enduring a financial malaise before the merger, being hit with a 21% drop in profit and a 3% decline in revenue in the last full financial year before the union.

For more on the leadership of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, read ‘Eyes on “the prize” – BCLP’s leaders on going all-in for transatlantic union’

Legal Business

Addleshaws enters continental Europe through BCLP Hamburg hires

Addleshaws enters continental Europe through BCLP Hamburg hires

Despite having launched five international offices in Asia and the Middle East since 2012, top-20 UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard had no presence in continental Europe until last month. That was when it announced the hire of five partners from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) to spearhead a launch in Hamburg.

The hires include the two founders of legacy Bryan Cave’s German offices in 2007, Eckart Budelmann and Michael Leue. Partners Martin Lüderitz, Maximilian Karacz and Hubertus Schröder joined the duo in the move from BCLP, alongside five other lawyers.

Legal Business

Pinsents, Bird & Bird, BCLP and Network Rail the big winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards

Pinsents, Bird & Bird, BCLP and Network Rail the big winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards

Pinsent Masons, Bird & Bird, Network Rail and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) were among the major winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards in front of more than 1,000 guests last night (28 March).

Hosted by comedian, writer and actress Meera Syal, the evening saw Pinsent Masons crowned Law Firm of the Year for a second time, with judges impressed by the firm’s performance in areas such as client satisfaction, CSR and innovation in addition to financial results.

Meanwhile, alongside BCLP and Heathrow Airport, Pinsents jointly won Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year as the trio worked together to address the challenge of Heathrow’s proposed expansion. BCLP also picked up another accolade, winning Private Client Team of the Year.

Bird & Bird also won two awards on the night, named TMT Team of the Year in the first award of the evening before being named Legal Technology Team of the Year later on.

Network Rail was the standout in-house performer, a joint winner in the Real Estate Team of the Year category alongside its external advisers Clifford Chance and Eversheds Sutherland for its work on Project Condor, while also being named In-House Team of the Year. Collaboration was evident among a growing number of nominees, with Simmons & Simmons and Travers Smith jointly awarded Commercial Litigation Team of the Year.

Elsewhere, Kirkland & Ellis continues its blistering recent performance, winning the prestigious Private Equity Team of the Year award for a successive year, as well as being Highly Commended in the Law Firm of the Year category. It was a strong year again for US firms in London, with Davis Polk & Wardwell winning Finance Team of the Year, Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom securing Competition Team of the Year, King & Spalding International Arbitration Team of the Year and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher named Corporate Team of the Year.

Individuals recognised on the night included Richard Miskella of Lewis Silkin, who won the Lawyer of the Year award for his work on  #MeToo-related investigations for The Old Vic and subsequent pro bono work in this area. Nick Thomas of Kennedys was named our Management Partner of the Year for his long and successful run as senior partner, while Frances Coats of The Ardonagh Group was named Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year.

The debut Chambers of the Year award went to 3 Verulam Buildings, after reversing its fortunes to produce a robust performance in recent years.

Thanks go to our external judging panel of prominent general counsel who selected the winners: Nigel Paterson, GC and company secretary, Dixons Carphone; Anna Cosgrave, head of legal, Graze; Ruwan De Soyza, GC, Worldpay; Rushad Abadan, GC, Standard Life Aberdeen; Charlotte Heiss, group chief legal officer and company secretary, RSA; Neil Murrin, GC and director – regulatory affairs, Trainline; Richard Price, GC and company secretary, Anglo-American; Angus McBride, GC, News UK; Geoffrey Timms, GC and company secretary, Legal & General; Kirsty Cooper, GC and company secretary, Aviva; Dan Guildford, GC, The Financial Times; Nayeem Syed, assistant GC, Refinitiv; Liz Tanner, director of legal services, SSE; Elisabeth Messud, group legal director, Kingfisher; Joanne Jolly, GC and company secretary – Insurance and Wealth, Lloyds Banking Group; and Jeremy Barton, GC, KPMG UK.

Our May edition will include a full report of the night. For more details on the winners and the awards in general click, here.


Legal Business Awards 2019 – The Winners

Bird & Bird – TMT Team of the Year

Davis Polk & Wardwell – Finance Team of the Year

King & Spalding – International Arbitration Team of the Year

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – Restructuring Team of the Year

Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom – Competition Team of the Year

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner/Heathrow Airport/Pinsent Masons – Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year

Simmons & Simmons/Travers Smith – Commercial Litigation Team of the Year

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner – Private Client Team of the Year

Hebert Smith Freehills – Insurance Team of the Year

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher – Corporate Team of the Year

Kirkland & Ellis – Private Equity Team of the Year

Clifford Chance/Eversheds Sutherland/Network Rail – Real Estate Team of the Year

Northridge Law – Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Richard Miskella – Lawyer of the Year

Hogan Lovells – CSR Programme of the Year

A&L Goodbody – International Firm of the Year

Frances Coats, The Ardonagh Group – Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year

Network Rail – In-House Team of the Year

Nick Thomas – Management Partner of the Year

White & Case – US Law Firm of the Year

Lucy Vernall, Funding Circle – GC of the Year

3 Verulam Buildings – Chambers of the Year

Bird & Bird – Technology Team of the Year

Ogier – Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year


Legal Business

Post-merger chemistry and an absence of crisis mark BCLP launch but firm is yet to settle into its stride

Post-merger chemistry and an absence of crisis mark BCLP launch but firm is yet to settle into its stride

Thomas Alan finds mixed omens in the wake of BCLP’s high-stakes union. A solid start cannot obscure that 2019 will be a crucial period for the Anglo-American challenger

When indications of a merger between legacy firms Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Bryan Cave first emerged in late 2017, there were mixed reactions about the potential union. As Legal Business noted last summer: ‘Confirmation earlier this year that BLP was uniting with a solid US operator, but one whose brand had limited potency in Europe, did not quicken the pulse.’

Legal Business

Double whammy for Ashurst as London head quits for BCLP and Macfarlanes hires former corporate head

Double whammy for Ashurst as London head quits for BCLP and Macfarlanes hires former corporate head

Ashurst London managing partner Simon Beddow and former corporate head Robert Ogilvy Watson have quit the firm to join Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) and Macfarlanes respectively.

A partner at the firm for 21 years, Beddow had led the firm’s City base since 2016 and was previously the firm’s corporate co-head. He will become BCLP’s deputy head of corporate.

BCLP’s co-chair Lisa Mayhew said: ‘At the time of our merger, we said that we would enhance our corporate team in London and hiring someone of Simon’s calibre clearly demonstrates this.  One of his priorities will be to consider which further additions we wish to make.’

Ashurst has appointed real estate finance partner Ruth Harris to replace Beddow as London managing partner, effective today (1 February).

Managing partner Paul Jenkins told Legal Business: ‘Simon wanted to continue in a management role and there wasn’t one available at Ashurst. We want people to be more transaction and client focused.’

He added: ‘I see it as a changing of the guard. We have some amazing corporate partners including Tom Mercer, Karen Davies and Jason Radford. The corporate practice has seen 17% revenue growth over the last year. It’s the strongest it’s been in many years. The departures are not going to impact that.’

Ogilvy Watson, whose 18 years as partner included a seven-year spell in the firm’s Hong Kong office from 2008, has acted on a number of public M&A transactions, including ITOCHU Corporation’s $10.4bn acquisition of a 20% stake in CITIC and Volcan Investments’ £778m offer for Vedanta Resources. He led Ashurst’s corporate practice until Jason Radford took over last year, and is a rare lateral for Macfarlanes, which is beefing up its public company M&A practice.

Macfarlanes senior partner Charles Martin told Legal Business: ‘We see public M&A as an important part of the practice and we see this as a quite interesting year for strategic M&A.’ He added: ‘When the opportunity to have Robert join us came along it seemed very timely.’

He added that the hiring process took ‘weeks rather than months’ and ‘as we got to know him, we thought he would be an outstanding addition to the team’.

Legal Business

LLP accounts show BLP flagging ahead of Bryan Cave merger as profit fell 21%

LLP accounts show BLP flagging ahead of Bryan Cave merger as profit fell 21%

Legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner was hit by a 21% drop in profit and 3% dip in revenue in its last full financial year prior to its merger with Bryan Cave, LLP accounts reveal.

Last February, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP)’s quest for a US tie-up received a shot in the arm when its transatlantic merger with Bryan Cave was approved by partners, with the deal going live in April 2018.

LLP accounts show operating profit at BLP fell from £72.5m in 2017 to £56.9m in 2018 as revenue dropped from £271.2m to £263.6m in the same period. Meanwhile, profit division among members showed a modest 1% drop from £163k to £161k against a backdrop of a 14% increase in the number of members from 152 to 174.

Total compensation paid to management fell by 18% from £13.1m in 2017 to £10.7m in 2018 with the highest paid fee-earner taking home £1.38m compared with £1.4m last year.

Since the union completed, BCLP has moved away from lockstep towards a more US-style remuneration structure.

Meanwhile the firm announced today (29 January) its first financial results as a merged entity. The overall figures for 2018  are only slightly more positive, with revenue rising a meagre 1% to $905m, while profit per equity partner rose 5%. Currently the firm has a combined cash balance of $100m.

Following the merger, both firms agreed to full financial integration from day one, with the firm suffering a hefty tax bill as a result of adopting the US calendar year-end to April and cash accounting. However the firm did raise funds from the sale of New Law outfit Lawyers On Demand to buyout house Bowmark Capital in May last year.

In an interview with Legal Business last year, firm co-chair Therese Pritchard (pictured) said the firm wanted to see revenue growth over the next two or three years. Meanwhile, the firm will be moving into its new London offices later this year, decamping from BLP’s established home at Adelaide House.

Legal Business

‘Not just a generic consultancy’: BCLP launches in-house innovation and technology arm

‘Not just a generic consultancy’:  BCLP launches in-house innovation and technology arm

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has continued its spate of innovation launches, combining parts of its transatlantic innovation teams to create an in-house consultancy, Cantilever.

Cantilever will aim to provide an operational and technology sounding board for clients, while also offering practical technology solutions across areas including contract, matter and litigation management.

‘We’re going to work with clients to tell them what technology solutions are out there and what works best, that’s the consultancy side,’ Bruce Braude, director of legal operations and solutions at BCLP told Legal Business. ‘But also we have our own technology with CrossLite, our data management and analytics tool, which was developed in the US but now as part of the merger [of Bryan Cave and Berwin Leighton Paisner] and the Cantilever launch will be offered to clients on the UK side of the business.’

Cantilever will be led by BCLP chief innovation officer Katie DeBord and the firm’s chief of legal operation solutions, Chris Emerson. Braude, meanwhile, will be part of a wider team that consists of 20 process engineers and data scientists, as well as other legal technologists.

The announcement follows a string of innovation launches from BCLP, the most recent of which was disputes evaluation service Clear/Cut, while in May the firm launched its homegrown legal tech start up Swiftagree.

BCLP aims to make the new consultancy and technology arm a revenue generator for the firm, with in-house legal teams increasingly looking to adopt technology and revise their legal processes.

‘There aren’t many similar things out there,’ Braude added. ‘Cantilever will have a deep understanding of in-house teams and extensive sector knowledge, it’s not just a generic consultancy, and we also have our own technology to bring to bear.’


Legal Business

Revolving doors: Freshfields insolvency veteran heads for the Bar as BCLP and 2Birds beef up global ranks

Revolving doors: Freshfields insolvency veteran heads for the Bar as BCLP and 2Birds beef up global ranks

It has been another busy week on the lateral market, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer seeing other departures and a raft of international firms growing their ranks in Europe and the US.

Freshfields’ restructuring and insolvency partner Nicholas Segal will leave the Magic Circle firm after 12 years to start a new career at Erskine Chambers in September after completing the formalities to join the Bar.

A Magic Circle veteran, Segal was at Allen & Overy until 2003, when he joined Davis Polk’s New York office and became dual qualified. After joining Freshfields in 2006, he acted for Northern Rock during its 2007 crisis and has sat as a judge of the Grand Court in Cayman since 2015.

Erskine’s head Michael Todd QC said: ‘Nick is a leading figure in the restructuring arena and his expertise will further strengthen our reputation with our commercial clients as a go-to set for company and insolvency matters.’

Freshfields also lost its Vienna head of arbitration Moritz Keller to Clifford Chance (CC) last week. He will join the Magic Circle rival’s Frankfurt office.

‘Moritz perfectly complements our strong German and international team with his expertise as a trusted arbitration and litigation specialist, adding value to our clients,’ said CC’s Germany managing partner Peter Dieners.

The exits came the week after Freshfields announced the departure of high-yield partner Ward McKimm for his former shop Shearman & Sterling. He returns to Shearman’s capital markets practice where he worked for 14 years, becoming partner in 2005 and co-head of its corporate group in 2010. McKimm later joined Kirkland & Ellis before moving to Freshfields in 2015.

Elsewhere, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) announced the appointment of Mukul Chawla QC to lead its UK corporate crime team in London, part of the firm’s global investigations practice.

Chawla comes from Foundry Chambers and specialises in fraud and white collar crime. In the past two years Chawla has served as the lead adviser to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on its largest investigation, a multi-jurisdictional multi-defendant case on suspected bribery by Unaoil and a range of other companies. He also conducted the first Libor rate manipulation prosecutions in the UK.

Nathan Willmott, co-head of BCLP’s global investigations practice, said that Chawla ‘has an unparalleled insight into the approach of the SFO and other prosecuting bodies’.

On the other side of the pond, Bird & Bird appointed Kai Westerwelle to its San Francisco outpost, the firm’s first office in the States. Westerwelle had been co-head of Taylor Wessing’s international US group and partner since 2003.

He will join the firm in September as the new California base opens, advising clients on international disputes, intellectual property and data privacy issues.

Meanwhile, US giants Kirkland and Latham continued their advance both sides of the Atlantic.

Corporate partner Dennis Williams is to join Kirkland’s New York office from DLA Piper. He focuses on healthcare regulatory, compliance and transactional matters.

Latham is continuing its expansion in Germany with the hire of partner Tim Wybitbul from Hogan Lovells. Wybitul will join the US firm’s Frankfurt litigation and trial department and also be a member of its data privacy and security practice.

‘Tim is a highly regarded practitioner, with vast experience advising clients on the full spectrum of privacy law matters, and he will add further depth to our German and European practice,’ said Germany managing partner Oliver Felsenstein.

Latham has been expanding aggressively in Germany this year, scooping a number of Magic Circle partners. In May it hired CC’s banking veteran Thomas Weitkamp in Munich, while in March it brought in Freshfields’ corporate partner Tobias Larisch.