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

Clyde & Co further reshuffles leadership with internal CEO appointment

Clyde & Co further reshuffles leadership with internal CEO appointment

Clyde & Co has completed its management turnover by replacing long-standing chief executive Peter Hasson with chief operating officer Matthew Kelsall.

Kelsall’s (pictured) appointment is effective from 1 January 2020 and comes after the firm elected Peter Hirst its new senior partner, replacing Simon Konsta from November 1. Hirst and the Clydes’ management board led the chief executive recruitment process.

Hasson in July signaled his intention to step down, having served as the firm’s first chief executive from 2005, just a month after Konsta announced he would also give up his leadership role halfway into his five-year term. The firm reported in June its 21st consecutive year of revenue growth to £611m in the year to 30 April, up 11% on £551.3m last year.

Kelsall joined Clydes in 2007 and was previously chief operating officer in North America and was based out of the firm’s New York office. He also served as chief operating officer of the Middle East and North Africa as well as Asia Pacific.

He commented: ‘We have a huge opportunity to further strengthen the market-leading offerings we have built around the world and I look forward to working with the senior partner, the management board and our top class management team to achieve our ambitious goals.’

Hirst added: ‘Matthew’s knowledge and understanding of the organisation, the global legal market and the day-to-day operations of a large and fast-growing global law firm, all make him the outstanding candidate for the CEO position.’

In the past three years, Clydes has grown turnover by 36%, or £160m, fueled by acquisitions and foreign expansion: it has opened offices in Chicago, Washington, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland, Muscat and Bristol in the last two years.

The firm has, however, had an eventful few months, most notably when it emerged at least five partners from its global marine group were leaving to set up a boutique firm. In July, it suspended two lawyers, including a partner, after alleged breaches of accounting rules.

Hasson commented: ‘I have every confidence that together, Peter and Matthew can take our firm to the next level and I look forward to working with them during the leadership transition and beyond.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

A busy week for lateral hires saw Dentons, Akin Gump and Squire Patton Boggs each make City hires as DLA Piper turned to Aviva to expand its pensions team.

Dentons said today (30 September) it had hired M&A and private equity partner Paul Doris from the London office of US firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He is the firm’s third corporate lateral hire in the last 18 months and advises financial sponsors, particularly in energy and infrastructure and in markets including Spain and Latin America.

Dentons’ UK corporate head David Collins (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘Paul’s skillset, sector focus and geographic coverage are all very much aligned to our strategy of building out a diversified corporate transactional practice in the UK which connects with our colleagues across the UK and the Dentons global platform.’

He added: ‘After what felt like a slightly extended summer break and pause in activity after a very busy first half of the year, we are back to high levels of activity across the team.’

Doris follows Dentons announcing last week it had hired restructuring and insolvency partner Richard Pallot-Cook in London. He re-joins from Simmons & Simmons and was previously a partner at Dentons.

Akin Gump, meanwhile, added two partners to its private equity practice, with Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey joining the firm’s London office from Vinson & Elkins.

Partner in charge of Akin Gump’s London office, Sebastian Rice, told Legal Business: ‘We were very impressed with the work they’ve done, culturally they’re a great fit and we hope they will be a strong addition to our corporate team in terms of the clients they advise and the type of work they do.’

Akin Gump also hired finance partner Michael Gustafson to its London office from Pricoa Private Capital, where he was deputy chief legal officer. Gustafson was previously a partner at Bingham McCutchen before its London office joined Akin Gump in 2014.

‘The team who joined from Bingham McCutchen regarded Gustafson incredibly highly and he does very similar work to what we do. He’s coming back and we’re really excited to have him back,’ Rice added.

Squire Patton Boggs went both ways in London with the hire of banking partner Ian Yeo from Herbert Smith Freehills. The firm also lost employment partner Natalie Bellwood, however, to B2B IT services provider DXC Technology, where she becomes global head of employment.

Elsewhere, DLA hired Amrit McLean from Aviva, where she was propositions and sales director, as a partner to launch the firm’s pensions de-risking service. McLean has 13 years’ experience in pensions de-risking and pensions bulk annuity work.

UK head of pensions at DLA Piper Ben Miller told Legal Business: ‘There’s an awful lot of insurance that is being issued. There is a real need within the market for a really strong and comprehensive team led by somebody who has that sector experience and that’s what we’re able to do here.’

Finally, Osborne Clarke made a lateral hire from Thrings, bringing in Steve Schofield to its UK real estate practice, while in Poland, DWF appointed partner Paweł Stykowski as head of insurance in the firm’s Warsaw office. He joins from Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland where he headed the financial services and compliance practice.

Legal Business

Another team transfers: Clyde & Co Aberdeen conveyancing practice moves to Ledingham Chalmers

Another team transfers: Clyde & Co Aberdeen conveyancing practice moves to Ledingham Chalmers

Clyde & Co  will be transferring its Simpson & Marwick Aberdeen estate agency team of 12 to Ledingham Chalmers  in the latest in a recent spate of departures from the firm.

The agreement will see the move of property partner David Geddie and senior associate Lynne Stewart, who will operate under the Ledingham Chalmers Estate Agency name. The team will practise from both Simpson & Marwick’s current premises in Aberdeen and Ledingham Chalmers’ headquarters in the city.

Partner and head of residential property at Ledingham Chalmers, Mike Cunningham, commented: ‘This deal presents an important evolution of our firm at a pivotal moment for the north-east [of Scotland]. We’re now seeing an improving picture in terms of activity and investment. For example, the city’s bypass opened recently; the P&J Live event arena opened recently too for Offshore Europe, its first conference; and construction is underway at Aberdeen Harbour Board’s £350m South Harbour development.

‘This deal isn’t about increasing size for the sake of it, it’s about bringing together two strong practices delivering unrivalled knowledge and expertise to clients and creating a stronger, sustainable market position in a region that’s experiencing something of a renaissance. That’s our motivation,’ Cunningham added.

Geddie commented: ‘This is a client-focused move. I have known and respected the Ledingham Chalmers’ team for many years. We’re enthusiastic about what it means to come together and create something new that offers such an impressive service to clients ranging from first time buyers to those looking at the very top end of the market.’

Clydes residential property division will continue to operate under the Simpson & Marwick brand in Edinburgh and East Lothian and its Aberdeen office with continue to house its global insurance practice, led by Harry Boyle and Mark Donaldson. Ledingham Chalmers has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Stirling and Inverness and will now have 198 people, including 33 partners.

Clydes merged with Simpson & Marwick in 2015, which had a significant property team. It also had a private client team, which was transferred to Scottish firm Gillespie Macandrew last month as the firm chose to focus more on its core sectors of insurance, energy, trade & commodities, transport and infrastructure.

In recent weeks, Clydes has seen significant number of departures with six London-based shipping partners from the firm’s global marine group resigning, as well as eight partners leaving the San Francisco office. Both groups left the firm in favour of setting up their own boutique practices.

Legal Business

Case study: Clyde & Co

Case study: Clyde & Co

A model of consistency in the Legal Business 100, 2018/19 was Clyde & Co’s 21st consecutive year of growth – albeit with a merger or two thrown in. This time around it grew 11%, adding £59.7m to its top line to reach £611m.

In just three years, the firm has grown by 36%, or £160m in total. ‘If you went back eight years, we were around £250m turnover. We are now a £600m+ business,’ says senior partner Simon Konsta.

Legal Business

Another team walks at Clydes as eight partners depart in San Francisco

Another team walks at Clydes as eight partners depart in San Francisco

Eight partners will be leaving Clyde & Co’s  San Francisco office in favour of setting up their own firm in the US.

As reported in RollOnFriday, the partner group led by Joan D’Ambrosio and Bill Casey, focuses on insurance coverage and monitoring work. The team includes Christina Terplan, Julie Hawkinson, Jamie Narbaitz, Christina Marshall, Eric Moon and David Jordan who will also be leaving the firm.

D’Ambrosio’s team is focused on tech errors and omissions and cyber coverage and monitoring work, while Bill Casey’s group focuses on coverage and monitoring for architects, engineers and lawyers.

The departure of the group, which joined the firm in 2008 from Duane Morris, means that the firm’s San Francisco office will have close to 100 people and 13 partners in total.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We wish the team well as they set up an independent law firm and are working amicably and constructively with them to achieve as smooth a transition as possible for all parties.’

Of its ‘leading US insurance coverage practice’, the spokesperson added that the team was  ‘one of the largest in the country, with 70 partners, 250 legal professional and 450 people across ten offices. The US practice has experienced compound annual growth of over 20% in the past ten years and is now the firm’s largest region outside the UK, accounting for 23% of firm wide revenue.’

Earlier this week, Clydes confirmed the resignation of six shipping partners from its global marine group in London. That team will also be leaving to establish its own boutique firm, Preston Turnbull. Ed Mills-Webb resigned with immediate effect, while Andrew Preston, co-chair of the firm’s Latin American strategy Elizabeth Turnbull, Fanos Theophani and Rob Collins will also be leaving.

Legal Business

Clyde & Co shipping team sets sail to establish boutique firm

Clyde & Co shipping team sets sail to establish boutique firm

Clyde & Co has lost at least five partners from its global marine group, with the shipping team leaving to set up a boutique firm.

Andrew Preston is set to leave after joining the firm in 1994 and becoming a partner in 2000, as well as Elizabeth Turnbull, co-chair of the firm’s Latin American strategy committee who joined Clydes in 2009.

Fanos Theophani and Rob Collins will also be leaving for the new firm, which will be named Preston Turnbull, after two of the partners.

Rob Collins told Legal Business: ‘It will be a marine trade, commercial litigation boutique firm and a lot of detail is still up in the air as far as that’s concerned.’

Meanwhile, the firm have also confirmed that Ed Mills-Webb has resigned with immediate effect.

In July Clydes confirmed that it has suspended two lawyers including a partner after alleged breaches of accounting rules.

The firm referred the two lawyers to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) in relation to alleged breaches of obligations in the SRA handbook, including its Code of Conduct and the Accounts Rules.

A spokesperson for Clydes said: ‘We continue to assist the SRA fully with their investigations. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.’

It has been an eventful few months at Clydes, which is set to go through a management shake-up when senior partner Simon Konsta steps down from his role in October just over half way into his five-year term.

Konsta will make way for arbitration co-chair Peter Hirst amid a 21st consecutive year of revenue growth to £611m in the year to 30 April, up 11% on £551.3m last year.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Back to school for new City Clydes, Kennedys and Pinsents laterals as European hires continue apace

Revolving doors: Back to school for new City Clydes, Kennedys and Pinsents laterals as European hires continue apace

City firms have been gearing up for what looks to be a busy September as Clyde & Co, Kennedys and Pinsent Masons have added to their London benches and others continue with European investment drives.

Clyde & Co has appointed Stephen Jurgenson as partner in the firm’s global projects and construction group.

Jurgenson was previously a partner at Winston & Strawn in London and advises on project development and financing, banking and institutional finance, corporate lending and M&A in the utilities, renewable energy, oil and gas, natural resources, real estate and transport sectors.

Clydes partner and member of the global management board Liz Jenkins told Legal Business: ‘We needed to increase our project finance capabilities. We are particularly strong in disputes but we needed a better offering on the front end and Stephen absolutely ticked that box.

‘He will be working alongside our partners and teams in Africa and doing quite a bit of work looking into Latin America as well, which is a very interesting growth area. It’s an exciting time for the team,’ Jenkins added.

Meanwhile Clydes’ head of pensions Mark Howard has left after almost eight years to join workplace pension’s platform Smart Pension as general counsel. Clydes confirmed that partner Terry Saeedi would be taking over as head of the pensions team.

Elsewhere the ever-expansive insurance firm Kennedys has made four partner hires in its professional liability teams across three UK offices, including London partner Paul Castellani from RPC.

In Birmingham, partners Paul Chaplin and Steve Oates joined from DWF. Chaplin was head of professional indemnity at DWF in Birmingham while Oates is also qualified in the Republic of Ireland. Helen Ager has also been hired as head of the professional liability team in Taunton and joins from DAC Beachcroft.

Head of professional liability Jeremy Riley told Legal Business: ‘They all bring new client relationships to us and new specialisms, so it’s grabbing that market share through these hires. What’s been refreshing is that people are knocking on our door as opposed to us approaching people externally.’

Elsewhere in London, Pinsent Masons has hired Fieldfisher’s co-head of life sciences Nicole Jadeja.

Clare Tunstall, head of life sciences at Pinsents, told Legal Business: ‘We were interested in Nicole as somebody who is clearly a preeminent adviser in patent litigation supporting target clients. She’s a likeminded individual with the right skillset, doing really interesting work for exactly the sort of clients we act for.’

Further afield in Paris, Ashurst has hired Allen & Overy counsel Tom Longmuir as partner in its project finance team and Fieldfisher has appointed Emmanuel Paillard from Gowling WLG as partner and head of a new public law team.

Co-head of Ashurst’s global projects Joss Dare told Legal Business: ‘We’re making a consistent push at the moment to grow our international project finance capabilities in strategic locations, and one of those is Paris. We’re looking to capitalise on the opportunities with francophone clients and French banks in particular, who are operating out of Paris into francophone Africa.’

In Frankfurt, Morgan Lewis hired Sabine Konrad to its international disputes team from McDermott Will & Emery.

Konrad told Legal Business: ‘Morgan Lewis has the exact geographical spread that I need for an international arbitration practice, especially with the focus on the Middle East.’

Managing partner in Frankfurt Joerg Siegels told Legal Business: ‘It’s a once in a lifetime chance to find someone like Sabine, with her reputation, recognition, demand and connections into the market. Sabine, from an arbitration perspective, is an excellent fit and addition to the practice.

‘On the other hand it is a new field. It doesn’t mean we give up on our transactional focus. From a strategic point of view, although it’s a new field in terms of practice area, it helps us as a Frankfurt office to connect further with our colleagues all over the world,’ Siegels added.

Legal Business

Two Clydes lawyers suspended for alleged financial breaches

Two Clydes lawyers suspended for alleged financial breaches

Clyde & Co has suspended two lawyers, including a partner, while alleged breaches of accounting rules are investigated.

The firm said today it had recently referred two lawyers to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) regarding alleged breaches of obligations in the SRA handbook, including its Code of Conduct and the Accounts Rules.

The former includes provisions on the fundamental ethics and professional standards expected from lawyers and law firms, particularly in relation to clients, their money and assets as well as the handling of the business in areas such as governance, equality and regulatory compliance, while the accounts rules cover the protection of client money.

A firm spokesperson said: ‘The solicitors have been suspended pending an internal investigation. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.’

The firm has previously been penalised by the SRA in this area. Back in 2017, three Clydes partners were each handed £10,000 penalties and the firm fined £50,000 for breaching accounting and money laundering rules.

In that case, corporate partners Christopher Duffy and Simon Gamblin, as well as projects partner Nick Purnell, admitted they allowed a client bank account to be used as a banking facility, acting against SRA accounting rules and in breach of obligations under money laundering regulations. Clydes was also judged to have failed to follow rules on dealing with dormant client balances.

The fine was at the time said to be one of the largest handed out by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal against a law firm. Clydes responded in 2017 by saying it had worked with the SRA to strengthen its approach to risk management.

Legal Business

Clydes senior partner Konsta to step down as firm grows revenue 11% in 2018/19

Clydes senior partner Konsta to step down as firm grows revenue 11% in 2018/19

Clyde & Co senior partner Simon Konsta (pictured) is to step down from his role in October just over half way into his five-year term.

The firm announced today (10 June) that Konsta will hand over to arbitration co-chair Peter Hirst, as it reported its 21st consecutive year of revenue growth to £611m in the year to 30 April, up 11% on £551.3m last year.

The firm will not disclose profit figures until next month, although Konsta said they too have increased on last year.

Konsta, who had been elected to the role in October 2016 following an uncontested election, told Legal Business: ‘My decision is, in my mind at least, relatively straightforward: I have been in a leadership role for the best part of 11 years now.’

He pointed to the firm building a £600m+ business with offices all over the world and to the fact that there was ‘so much more to be done to unlock the value within that infrastructure’. ‘As senior partner, you have a huge amount on your plate – whether it’s board meetings, travel, remuneration [review], year closing. The challenge to myself was: professionally and personally, how can I operate most effectively for myself and for Clyde?’

He concluded that the best way forward for him was to now focus on the firm’s insurance practice and professional liability defence capability: ‘There is something to drive home now and that’s where I want to focus – drive home our effectiveness in those areas rather than the broader church.’

Following Konsta’s decision to step down, Hirst was elected to the role after a vote by the global partnership, although Konsta would not say whether others stood in the election.

Konsta was first elected senior partner of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in 2008 and led the firm into its merger with Clyde & Co in 2011. He then settled for a place on Clydes’ senior management board after Clydes’ former senior partner Michael Payton took up the position at the merged entity. He was also global head of the firm’s signature insurance practice group since 2013. His election to senior partner followed his predecessor James Burns’ own resignation in September 2016.

During his three years as senior partner, Clydes grew revenue 36%, adding £160m to its top line. It opened offices in Chicago and Washington DC, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland, Orange County, Muscat and Bristol. This year it launched in Hamburg and Dublin.

On this year’s financials, Konsta said: ‘For the first time we have 50% of our revenue coming from outside the UK, which has been an objective for some time; 23% of our revenue is coming from the Americas. Given our focus on growing in that region, that’s very gratifying.’