Legal Business

The eagle strikes: Cadwalader taps Bird & Bird for disputes head Baker

The eagle strikes: Cadwalader taps Bird & Bird for disputes head Baker

New York-headquartered Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has hired Bird & Bird dispute resolution co-head Steven Baker to its London office.

Baker joins Cadwalader’s City practice expanding the firm’s litigation and international arbitration capacity after four years at Bird & Bird. Baker was previously head of commercial dispute resolution at Olswang until 2011, spending almost a decade with the firm.

In The Legal 500, Baker is recommended for cross-border fraud cases, banking litigation, commercial litigation and international arbitration. Baker had been acting with Brick Court’s Tim Lord QC for claimants Property Alliance Group in the libor rigging litigation against Royal Bank of Scotland, winning the £30m dispute from litigation boutique Cooke, Young & Keiden in February this year.

Baker’s exit comes shortly after the departure of Bird & Bird’s head of transformational projects Dominic Cook, who left the firm earlier this year after a leadership challenge to chief executive David Kerr in March.

The latest partner hire for Cadwalader comes after the firm added former King & Wood Mallesons’ Europe head of finance Jeremy Cross in July. The recent recruits represent a fresh push by Cadwalader into the London market. Following a quiet period, the firm grew its City office 17% last year, upping head count to 56 lawyers.

Cadwalader has recently seen a dip in global revenues, down 4% in the Global 100 rankings to $463.5m for 2015/16. The firm’s profit per equity partner also fell, down 7% to $2.06m, having fallen 15% to $2.21m in 2014/15 from more than $2.6m the year before.

US giant Latham & Watkins has also moved to boost its City litigation practice with new partners in recent months, hiring Stuart Alford QC from the Serious Fraud Office in July, while it recruited Debevoise & Plimpton’s rising arbitration star Sophie Lamb in May.

At the start of this year Cooley also increased its London litigation capacity, a year on from its UK launch, hiring Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Louise Delahunty, a specialist in global investigations.


Legal Business

Another one bites the dust: KWM’s former European head of finance leaves for Cadwalader

Another one bites the dust: KWM’s former European head of finance leaves for Cadwalader

The partner exits at King & Wood Mallesons‘ (KWM) City office keep coming, with former Europe head of finance, Jeremy Cross, set to join Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

Cross (pictured), who counts Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group as clients, is set to join Cadwalader’s City office in the coming weeks. The move comes as part of a broader push by Cadwalader in London, with headcount at its City office growing 17% to 56 lawyers last year after a long period of stasis.

Cross, who served as Europe head of finance until the recent restructuring of the firm’s practice groups in London, down from 17 to three practices, leaves KWM after 13 years at the firm. He joined legacy firm SJ Berwin, which combined with KWM in 2013, from Osborne Clarke in 2003 where he was also a partner. He was made head of finance at SJ Berwin in 2008.

Cross is the latest in a long line of partners to leave KWM’s European and Middle East practice, with the firm’s finance group markedly diminished. Cross’s departure comes just days funds finance specialist Robert Andrews left for Ashurst, with leveraged finance specialist Simon Fulbrook having quit for Goodwin Procter last year and Chris Fanner having moved to Gateley just three years after his high-profile arrival from Herbert Smith Freehills. Cross is a broad hand, acting on acquisition, real estate and funds finance.

KWM’s European practice has had a turbulent start to the year, with managing partner William Boss resigning in January just nine months into the role and a partnership restructuring taking place in March that axed 15% of the firm’s partners in Europe and the Middle East. The firm has also overhauled its practice structure, cutting 17 practice teams into three overarching streams: corporate finance and funds; dispute resolution and regulation; and real estate.

Separate from the restructuring, KWM in April lost a six-partner private equity team in Paris to Goodwin Procter, with the group through to have walked out with £8m worth of billings.



Legal Business

US financials round up: White & Case revenues increase, K&L figures are flat, while Cadwalader partner profits drop

US financials round up: White & Case revenues increase, K&L figures are flat, while Cadwalader partner profits drop

US financial results for 2014 continue to stream in with White & Case becoming the latest firm to reveal an increase in revenue while both K&L Gates and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft bucked the positive trend having turned in lacklustre performances.

White & Case’s revenues increase was not as dramatic as some results this season but the firm recorded a 4% bump to $1.5bn in 2014 from $1.4bn in 2013. Revenue per lawyer at the firm also grew 5% from $760,000 to $800,000 while average profits per equity partner rose more confidently at 7% to $2m from $1.9m in 2013, giving a 36% increase over three years.

London executive partner Oliver Brettle said the firm is proud of its performance, especially over the last three years. ‘While we do not publically announce individual office or regional results, I will say that the London office once again made an important contribution, which had a very positive impact on the overall results,’ Brettle said.

K&L Gates‘ figures show that performance was generally flat for 2014 with revenues declining modestly by 1.2%, and revenues per lawyer and net income per partner also being essentially flat year over year. Turnover fell from $1,158.9m in 2013 to $1,145.4m in 2014 while revenue per lawyer remained at $587,000. The firm attributed the flat figures to currency fluctuations with the US dollar strengthening in the second half of 2014.

The firm’s net income available for all equity partners as a percentage of revenues decreased from 27.6% in 2013 to 25.6% in 2014. The firm said this was due to the slight decline in revenues in 2014 combined with higher expenses for the year.

However, figures for its London office were more positive, with revenues growing 11% to £44.96m in 2014 from £40.5m in 2013 – an increase of some 60% since 2009. Tony Griffiths, administrative partner at K&L Gates’ London office said: ‘Against the backdrop of a challenging geopolitical environment, it is hugely encouraging to report a fifth consecutive year of revenue growth for the London office. Integral to our strategy has been to provide multi-disciplinary advice and solutions for our clients, avoiding rigid departmental structures.’

Griffiths added: ‘Our focus through the previous five years and going forward has been on boardroom risk solutions, advice to alternative capital providers, and international energy, infrastructure and resources. Each of these areas involves all of our London lawyers, and has been particularly important in driving the growth in our revenues.’

Meanwhile, Cadwalader figures took a more severe hit with partner profits dropping 15.3% to $2.21m from $2.61m in 2013 as gross revenue marginally fell to $481.5m compared to 2013’s level of $481.7m. On the other hand, revenue per lawyer decreased by 3.2% to $1.07m from $1.1m.

The fall in Cadwalder’s numbers follows the appointment of managing partner Patrick Quinn at the end of January after head Jim Woolery – who was poised to become chair of the firm that same month after nearly two years as chairman – announced he is leaving the firm to help start a new investment venture.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, on the other hand, saw positive growth with net income climbing 12.8% to $356m from $315.5m in 2013, and gross revenues increase 4.8% to $868m from $828.5m. Revenues per lawyer increased more moderately by 2.9% to $1.055m from $1.025m, as did the firm’s partner profits, which rose 2.7% to $1.885m from $1.835m. These results come after the firm pulled off one of the largest ever London acquisitions after taking nearly 30 partners from the now defunct Bingham McCutchen.

For more analysis of the surging US market see: The blessed – unheralded, Wall Street’s elite comes roaring back

Legal Business

Asia-Pacific: Cadwalader raids Latham’s Hong Kong office for seven lawyer team

Asia-Pacific: Cadwalader raids Latham’s Hong Kong office for seven lawyer team

Michael Liu, who was co-head of Latham & Watkins‘ Greater China practice and was formerly managing partner of its Hong Kong office, has led a seven lawyer move over to US rival Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

Liu is joined by partner corporate partner Jane Ng and the switch sees senior associate Stephen Chan made up to partner. The team originally joined Latham from Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy in 2008, where Liu was head of Asia, and the exits leave Latham with just 14 partners in Hong Kong.

Counsel Simon Berry, Olivia Wong, Terris Tang and Eva Tam also make the switch, with the hires expanding Cadwalader’s Hong Kong office from 14 to 20 lawyers.

The team’s experience over the past three decades in Hong Kong and China spans public takeovers, private M&A, joint ventures, IPOs, regulatory and compliance matters under the Hong Kong Listing Rules and securities legislation.

‘Drawing on more than 200 years of history, Cadwalader’s position as one of the most pre-eminent Wall Street firms is what attracted us in the first place,’ explained Liu. ‘Our team has been together for over twenty years and we share the firm’s commitment to building its Greater China practice on the important foundations of quality clients and quality lawyers.’

Greg Petrick, co-chair of Cadwalader’s financial restructuring group and head of international practice development, said: ‘We are fully committed to enhancing our capabilities for clients from our Hong Kong and China offices.’

Legal Business

Cadwalader grows London team as Ashurst capital markets partner returns to the firm

Cadwalader grows London team as Ashurst capital markets partner returns to the firm

US firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has made a key hire to its global capital markets practice with Ashurst partner David Quirolo, as the New York-headquartered firm continues its efforts to rebuild its London finance team.

Quirolo is listed as a leading individual in securitisation in the Legal 500 and focuses primarily on collateralised loan obligations (CLOs) and other securitisation and repackaging transactions involving various asset types in both the US and Europe. He also advises arrangers and collateral managers, issuers, originators and investors in a variety of structured finance transactions. Prior to joining Ashurst in 2004, he spent eight years in the New York and London offices of Cadwalader.

Cadwalader has been driven in its efforts to rebuild its structured finance group, after seven partners left to join Paul Hastings back in 2009. It recruited Latham & Watkins partner Holly Neavill and Richards Kibbe & Orbe partner Louisa Watt to its restructuring team in May 2013, while former Linklaters partner Yushan Ng, a high profile restructuring specialist, departed from the magic circle firm for Cadwalader in 2012.

Other hires brought into the London team in the last 18 months includes former Mayer Brown finance and banking practice head Bruce Bloomingdale who joined the 435-lawyer firm last September alongside Chicago banking and finance partner Jeremiah Wagner, who had been on secondment to Mayer Brown’s London office.

On Quirolo’s appointment, London managing partner Gregory Petrick said: ‘David’s return to Cadwalader is an important further expansion of the firm’s global market leading structured finance practice. We continue to execute on our strategy of growing our London office by recruiting top tier talent and practicing in areas of the Firm’s core strategic strengths. We are very pleased to have David back with us.’

‘Our strategy is to attract market-leading practitioners, like David, who can offer our clients legal solutions that are informed by an in-depth market perspective,” added Stu Goldstein, co-chair of the global capital markets practice group.

For more on structured debt markets, click here to see Legal Business’ analysis.

Legal Business

Recruitment drive for Cadwalader in London reaps double Mayer Brown hire

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s efforts to rebuild its London finance team were today rewarded with the hire of two leading Mayer Brown structured finance partners to boost its City offering.

Former Mayer Brown finance and banking practice head Bruce Bloomingdale joins the 435-lawyer firm today (18 September) alongside Chicago banking and finance partner Jeremiah Wagner, who has been on secondment to Mayer Brown’s London office.

Bloomingdale qualified in the US and has experience of working in both London and New York, advising financial institutions and corporates on cross-border securitisations, leveraged finance and asset-backed lending. He headed Mayer Brown’s finance practice in London between 2008 and 2010, before being succeeded by current chief Dominic Griffiths.

The recruitment is a significant development in Cadwalader’s drive to rebuild its structured finance group after seven of its partners left to join Paul Hastings back in 2009. Including the recent hires, Cadwalder’s London headcount has now hit 12.

Partner and co-chair of Cadwalader’s capital markets practice, Patrick Quinn said: ‘The addition of Bruce and Jeremiah and their asset backed expertise to our UK structured finance team builds on the strength we enjoy in commercial mortgage backed securities, CDOs, CLOs and other structured and securitized product and enhances our ability to support clients in the fast re-emerging European structured finance and credit markets.’

For Mayer Brown, meanwhile, the departures come after the top 25 global 100 firm earlier this month lost finance partner Angela Hayes, who joined King & Spalding to launch its London financial services regulatory practice.

Griffiths commented: ‘Bloomingdale and I have a long history of working together. Wagner was on secondment to the London office from Chicago until the end of the year. It’s disappointing they have left but we have plans to continue building our structured finance team.’

The 1536-lawyer firm has 48 lawyers in its finance and banking practice at present and Griffiths confirmed the firm has plans to grow its structured finance group in London. ‘It has been our intention for some time to add more lawyers to support client demand in this area,’ he added.

Legal Business

Cadwalader focuses on Europe with London restructuring hires

US firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is focusing its restructuring practice on Europe with the hire of partners Holly Neavill and Louisa Watt, who have joined the firm’s London office.

Neavill was previously a partner at Latham & Watkins London office, although she began her career in the US. She has worked on some high profile restructurings and distressed M&A deals, including advising the committee of bondholders in the restructuring of the publicly-listed Italian directories business SEAT Pagine Gialle last year.

Watt joins the firm from Richards Kibbe & Orbe where she was a partner and a member of the firm’s executive committee. Her experience includes the transfer of distressed debt and claims in the secondary market within Europe, Asia and the United States, and she is an active participant in the Loan Market Association. She is known for setting the standard trading documentation for Icelandic and MF Global claims back in 2011.

‘The European market continues to present its challenges, with creditors looking for practical and innovative solutions for cross-border restructuring. Holly and Louisa have proven track records,’ said Gregory Petrick, managing partner of the firm’s London office and co-chair of the financial restructuring department.

‘This is an exciting time of growth for our restructuring practice, and these are the right attorneys. Adding Holly and Louisa to our team of Yushan Ng and Richard Nevins catapults Cadwalader’s London restructuring team to the top of the market,’ he added.

Coming in 81st place in last year’s LB100, Cadwalader – with an annual turnover last year of $448m and figures from The American Lawyer indicating that this year’s revenue is around $466.5m –  has been investing in its London restructuring team for some time, adding Ng and special counsel Karen McMaster from Linklaters earlier this year.