Legal Business

More cuts in the City as Ince & Co slashes more than 30 roles

More cuts in the City as Ince & Co slashes more than 30 roles

Shipping specialist Ince & Co has announced 32 redundancies in its London office in the latest wave of cuts by law firms in the City.

Ince is letting 25 business services staff and seven fee earners go, with three further roles still under consultation, including a managing associate whom Ince aims to relocate to one of its international offices.

Following the redundancies, the firm is looking to sublet 22% of its 35,000sq ft floor space in Aldgate Tower.

London office head Andrew Jameson said: ‘We recognise that that our recent restructure has been unsettling for all our people and want to thank them for their professionalism throughout the process, which was carried out in a fair and transparent manner to ensure that we have the right people, in the right place, doing the right jobs.’

Ince warned last month that between 32 and 36 roles were likely to be cut, mostly among its business services staff.

After three years of decline, in 2016/17 the firm saw revenue grow 16% to £88.5m after opening two new offices in Marseille and Cologne. In recent years it has taken several measures to improve its performance, such as restructuring its partnership and creating a bonus remuneration pool which saw the top of the equity jump from £430,000 to £550,000. The firm moved into its current premises at Aldgate Tower in 2016 and invested in new technologies to promote agile working.

Ince is also pushing into the Asia-Pacific market. Last autumn senior partner Jan Heuvels moved from London to Hong Kong in a move which the firm said was due to the region being prosperous for its transport, trade, energy and infrastructure and insurance clients. HR director Jameson was appointed to the newly drafted role of head of the London office following Heuvels’ move.

Earlier this year the firm’s chairman Paul Herring relocated to Piraeus to lead Ince’s Greek office.

Other UK firms have made similar moves to shed their City headcounts amid increasing pressure to maximise on efficiency. Last month Hogan Lovells cut 54 business services roles, moving most of them to low-cost hubs in Birmingham, Johannesburg and Louisville.  In May, Ashurst announced a review that could result in the loss of 80% of its London secretarial team. Pinsent Masons warned in September that as many as 100 legal personal assistants were at risk of redundancy.

Elsewhere, CMS confirmed yesterday it is almost halving the lawyer headcount in its Reading office. The firm has cut seven of the 16 legal roles in its Berkshire base, acquired through the merger with Olswang and Nabarro last year.

Part of the firm’s real estate asset management service group, most of the associates were relocated to the firm’s Bristol and Sheffield hubs or assigned alternative roles, while one junior fee-earner was made redundant. The legacy Olswang’s former office now houses one partner and eight fee-earners.

‘We felt that it made sense strategically to have real estate asset management concentrated in these busy hubs [Bristol and Sheffield],’ said a spokesperson for the firm. ‘We remain committed to our Reading office and this decision does not impact the rest of the team based there. We have a number of partners regularly working from the Reading office who support a number of clients in the region and it remains a very important hub for the firm.’

Legal Business

Women deal stars: perspectives – Penelope Warne, CMS

Women deal stars: perspectives – Penelope Warne, CMS

‘Compared to ten years ago, in some ways it’s easier for women and in some it’s more difficult. It is easier because there is a lot of support for gender equality and initiatives to support women. For example, the 30% Club to support them particularly at senior level and at board positions.

Attitudes have changed, we have a lot of policies now around helping many women but also men who want to work in a more agile fashion. This helps women have their career and also a family – but they are also popular with men.

Culture is key. If you set a culture that encourages agile working and communicate it clearly within the firm that does make a difference.

What makes things more difficult compared to ten years ago is that everything moves at a much faster pace. There is more complexity in deals, a global aspect and a lot of pressure. This puts a lot more pressure on men and women.

We have a work allocation system in our firm which means lawyers don’t get overloaded or under-loaded, so everyone is busy but not in an impossible situation.

We have unconscious bias training, very enhanced maternity and paternity leave – not only in terms of pay but also in not having any clawback if someone decides not to return after maternity leave. Thirty per cent of the board are women and 30% of the partners are women. This creates a momentum of its own and a more balanced environment in the firm.

Some of the deals are still very male-dominated because some other institutions have not progressed as quickly as we have. Sometimes the cultural environment has not been put at the top of the agenda in the way we have.

Ultimately it comes down to having supportive teams at the firm. It makes it a lot easier for women to be able to drive forward their careers.

My experience of very successful women is they all have strong relationships with their clients. They work the same hours as men but in a more agile and flexible way. If your internal culture allows that to happen that makes all the difference.’

Penelope Warne is senior partner of CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and cited in ‘Alphas’ Legal Business’ current cover feature on the City’s outstanding women lawyers (£)

Interview by Marco Cillario.

Legal Business

Clyde & Co, CMS and DAC Beachcroft pick up partners from an ailing Sedgwick

Clyde & Co, CMS and DAC Beachcroft pick up partners from an ailing Sedgwick

As US firm Sedgwick heads towards closure in the New Year, UK-based outfits Clyde & Co,  CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and DAC Beachcroft have profited by picking up a number of partners.

DAC has hired a team comprising two partners and four associates from Sedgwick that will join its London office in January. This includes Mark Kendall, who led Sedgwick’s London international property and casualty team since 2010 and has also headed the firm’s Latin American group since 2014. Kendall’s practice has a strong focus on product recall and liability in sectors including food and pharmaceuticals. DAC confirmed that Kendall ‘shares a number of key clients’ with the firm.

Disputes partner Duncan Strachan will also be joining DAC in the New Year with a practice that centres on litigation defence in Latin American jurisdictions in addition to the UK and Europe. Alongside Strachan and Kendall, four associates and a non-fee earner will be making the switch to DAC.

Helen Faulkner, DAC’s head of insurance, told Legal Business: ‘While there aren’t many insurer clients that we don’t work with, Mark’s team gives us additional traction with some clients. We needed to build our bench strength in London. Mark and Duncan’s collaborative nature fits well with our culture.’

CMS has also tapped Sedgwick’s London office recruiting partner Tristan Hall. Specialising in financial claims and cyber risks, he will quit the US firm after seven years.

Office managing partner Edward Smerdon is now the only London partner whose destination remains unknown.

Meanwhile Clydes is looking to make a major US play, hiring two partners from Sedgwick to its San Francisco office, while discussions to bring in around 20 additional partners are ongoing.

Aside from San Francisco, Clydes is also in discussions with various other Sedgwick partners across the US. The firm will be seeking to build on the opening of its ninth US office in Los Angeles in July.

A spokesperson at the firm said: ‘We are sorry to hear the news of Sedgwick’s closure. We know many of its lawyers and hold them in high regard. In line with our own growth potential in the US, we are in advanced discussions with a number of its insurance partners, predominantly in California, about the possibility of them joining us. It would not be appropriate to comment further while discussions are ongoing.’

Legal Business

‘Real estate up the agenda’: CMS brings across Paris team from Herbert Smith

‘Real estate up the agenda’: CMS brings across Paris team from Herbert Smith

CMS is continuing its global expansion with news that its French member firm has hired a two-partner real estate team from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) in Paris.

With the acquisition of Nabarro and Olswang in the UK having moved real estate up the agenda at CMS, 12 lawyers will join CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre at the start of 2018.

Well-cited Paris head of real estate Pierre Popesco and urban planning and public law expert Florence Chérel will leave HSF after 12 years. Counsel Benjamin Bill will also join CMS as a partner. The office has also recruited counsel Jean-Marc Peyron and eight other lawyers.

‘The UK merger on 1 May provided an input to the international expansion and opportunities for the real estate practice,’ Ciaran Carvalho, head of the CMS UK real estate team, told Legal Business. ‘Real estate has moved up the agenda with Nabarro coming in, and Olswang added a lot of capability. Nabarro didn’t have international breadth but a big client list, and this can provide a platform for the future expansion of CMS.’

Popesco and Chérel both joined HSF in 2005 and started their careers at Lefèvre Pelletier & associés. Popesco also headed the legal department at Espace Promotion, a subsidiary of Unibail, specialising in shopping centres development before joining HSF. His clients included Amundi Immobilier and Apsys, which he advised on a €1bn and a $1bn deals respectively. He also acted for Eiffage Immobilier, Allianz Real Estate and China Huayou.

Chérel made partner in 2009 and has advised companies including UBS Real Estate, Bouygues Immobilier and Carlyle.

CMS real estate practice now counts more than 800 lawyers, over 40 of them in France, while CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre has 420 fee earners including 108 partners.

HSF confirmed that Popesco and Chérel had retired from the partnership in a statement, which added: ‘Last year, we recruited David Lacaze to drive forward the growth of our Paris real estate practice. He and his team are delivering on this strategy further strengthening our client relationships.’

The team hire is the latest chapter in CMS’ recent international expansion story.  Last week, the firm signed a partnership with Saudi practice Feras Al Shawaf to expand its network in the Middle East and North Africa region.

And earlier this year, CMS expanded in Latin America adding three new member firms from Chile, Peru and Colombia to its network.

Legal Business

CMS signs up Saudi partners as White & Case brings in heavyweight Swedish duo

CMS signs up Saudi partners as White & Case brings in heavyweight Swedish duo

They are already two of the most globalised law firms in the business, but CMS and White & Case have announced fresh international investment this week with CMS securing a new partner in the Middle East as the US-bred giant makes significant hires in Sweden.

Four months after completing the largest legal merger in UK history, CMS is continuing its expansion after signing a partnership with Riyadh practice Feras Al Shawaf.

The move expands CMS’s network in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; managed by the Dubai central hub, the firm has more than 100 lawyers and offices in Algeria, Iran, Morocco, Oman, Turkey and association agreements in Lebanon and Iraq.

‘MENA is a dynamic growth region that is gaining importance for our clients and Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the region,’ said Duncan Weston, CMS executive partner for global development.

CMS executive chairman Cornelius Brandi told Legal Business: ‘It is a structured co-operation, we will exchange information as far as we can and collaborate very closely. We have worked with Feras Al Shawaf for four or five years, discussions for a formal partnership started around the beginning of this year.’

Established in 1999 and formed of three partners, seven associates and a senior counsel, Feras Al Shawaf has relationships with a number of local government bodies, including the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Capital Market Authority. The firm previously had a partnership with Trowers & Hamlins, which terminated after the departure of the City firm’s last associate in Riyadh in September 2011.

For CMS, the Saudi deal follows up on its expansion in Latin America earlier this year, when the firm added three new member firms from Chile, Peru and Colombia to its network.

Meanwhile, White & Case’s Stockholm branch has recruited Jan Jensen, the chair of Nordic leader Hannes Snellman, to head its private equity practice in the region. Jensen is joined by Hannes Snellman partner Shoan Panahi and associate Patrik Erblad.

For the Euro Elite firm, the departures are the second blow in the last few weeks, with Eversheds Sutherland acquiring the Finnish-based firm’s entire operation in Russia at the beginning of the month, including a team of 22 lawyers. Contacted by Legal Business, Hannes Snellman senior partner Johan Aalto confirmed that the lawyers would leave the firm later this year but declined to comment further.

Legal Business

‘Short-term pain, long-term gain’: Q&A with CMS UK managing partner Stephen Millar

‘Short-term pain, long-term gain’: Q&A with CMS UK managing partner Stephen Millar

On 1 May 2017, the largest legal merger in UK history went live as CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang combined to form the 2,000-lawyer CMS UK. Managing partner Stephen Millar tells Marco Cillario about hurdles and opportunities of the tie-up.

LB: What have been the biggest challenges of combining and integrating three firms?

Stephen Millar, CMS UK managing partner: Looking at previous mergers, we knew this was about going through short-term pain for medium and long-term gain. Integration is a huge challenge when you have thousands of people and complex systems in place.

In the first ten weeks after the merger, lawyers were getting to know each other and going through a huge amount of change. We had to keep the organisation focused on the long-term vision while going through the day-to-day challenges. Things are not perfect yet, but we are in a much more integrated place.

The cultures of the three firms were not identical but similar. Partners want to be in business with each other. This is one of our strongest foundations for success.

LB: How will the merger help meet clients’ expectations?

SM: Clients say with a number of mergers they are not sure what the strategic rationale is, but with ours they got it immediately. They have access to an international platform and specialisms coming together from different firms – such as energy and financial services from CMS, technology from Olswang, real estate from Nabarro. We are seeing significant new work coming in.

LB: What are the core benchmarks for the merger over the next 18 months? How will you know if it’s going in the right direction?

SM: Clients are our priority, and there are different ways to measure our success with them: mainly winning new work and new panel appointments across different sectors.

Economic measures are crude but important. In these early months we are performing ahead of expectations. We want to promote more people to partner and make people feel they have a strong career path here. To do that, we have to win more work from clients.

LB: What are the main challenges that UK law firms face over the next few years and how is CMS UK equipped to address them?

SM: It is a very competitive market, that’s why we merged: so we have competitive advantage.

Brexit means more regulatory advice is required, companies need support to reorganise, sterling has devalued so companies are making greater investments into the UK. The London legal market is going to thrive in the future notwithstanding Brexit, and as we get more connected with other parts of the world new opportunities will arise.

You started as CMS’ UK managing partner in May 2016. How do you see your leadership style and how did it fit with the merger?

SM: I love looking at the big picture while taking care of the details and know I need to be schizophrenic about that. What I enjoy the most in my job is advancing the business.

What else are you hoping to achieve before the end of your mandate in 2020?

SM: One of the core points I stood on when elected was increasing our presence in London. That’s been achieved. Another aim is to expand into the US: that’s a long-term strategic objective and it’s a work in progress…

Legal Business

CMS launches Monaco office with local merger to service international investors

CMS launches Monaco office with local merger to service international investors

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang has continued to expand by opening its Monaco office through a combination with Pasquier Ciulla & Marquet Avocats (PCM), the firm’s first global practice launch since the UK tripartite merger went live on 1 May.

CMS’ new Monaco office, which will trade as CMS Pasquier Ciulla & Marquet, will focus on private clients, banking, M&A, employment and real estate, traditional areas of focus for PCM.

PCM’s three partners and 14 lawyers join CMS as the first Monaco full-service outfit to merger with an international firm.

CMS executive chairman Cornelius Brandi said the Monaco opening will give CMS the possibility to support both global clients trying to do business in the city-state and Monaco-based global investors.

Olivier Marquet, a partner who joined from PCM partner, said that the Monaco had ‘taken steps to enhance its attractiveness to foreign investors’. He agreed that the new firm becoming part of CMS’ global network meant it would also be able to offer local expertise to serve those international-oriented clients, given that Monaco was the base for ‘a high number of investors’ who operate internationally.

CMS’s move follows the launch of Norton Rose Fullbright’s Monaco-based operations in November 2016 and gives the firm 71 offices in 40 countries and more than 1,000 partners.

This January, three Latin American firms – CMS Carey & Allende in Chile, CMS Grau in Peru and CMS Rodríguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados in Colombia – were brought into the CMS group, expanding the firm’s presence in that region.   

Legal Business

Financials 2017: Tough markets see CMS growth stall as group revenues dip below €1bn

Financials 2017: Tough markets see CMS growth stall as group revenues dip below €1bn

A year of turbulence and tough markets in Europe has apparently taken its toll on the region’s legal market with CMS seeing growth stall with group revenues hitting €999m for 2016.

The revenue figures include CMS’ ten member firms that are combined together under a European Economic Interest Grouping. The firm said that without currency fluctuations it would have posted like-for-like revenues of €1.05bn, constituting a 4.1% increase in combined income. However, on face value it represents a minor dip on the previously reported revenues of €1.01bn for 2015.

The results mark the end of a period of substantive growth for CMS, which posted an 8% turnover increase in 2015. The combined revenue will place the firm just outside the top 25 law firms in the world based on turnover.

The network, which launched in 1999, over the year also saw office launches in Tehran and Hong Kong, filling out a 70-office network across 39 countries. CMS also earlier this year expanded its practices in Latin America with the addition of three local firms to its network in Chile, Peru and Colombia.

The results, however, do not include the headline-grabbing union of CMS’s UK member Cameron McKenna with Nabarro and Olswang. The three UK firms combined as a single partnership from 1 May 2017 in the largest-ever legal union by lawyer numbers in the UK.

The CMS grouping comprised 3,000 lawyers ahead of the latest UK merger, including major European firms such as Germany’s Hasche Sigle and Bureau Francis Lefebvre, though the grouping has made increasingly prominent use of the CMS branding in recent years reflecting a drive to integrate.

Stephen Millar (pictured), UK managing partner of CMS, attributed the results to a ‘very busy’ transactional market ‘despite the current volatility’. Millar also insisted that the global market ‘remains in good health and continues to show resilience’.

A key transactional mandate that CMS acted on was the £13.6bn sale of National Grid’s gas distribution business, where CMS advised a consortium of infrastructure investors.

For in-depth analysis on the merger of CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang click here.

Legal Business

Emerging empires – Bakers, CMS and DLA Piper rise up the ranks as global giants march on

Emerging empires – Bakers, CMS and DLA Piper rise up the ranks as global giants march on

Ella Marshall and Jonathan Armstrong assess the latest EMEA rankings from The Legal 500

The market continues to evolve in Europe’s key heartlands, as a band of expansive globalised firms spread out their tentacles, while another grouping of more transactionally-driven players strip down their businesses with an eye on profitability. Following the recent publication of The Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) 2017 edition, we look at the winners and losers among major international law firms this year.

Legal Business

CMS network promotes 48 to partner, with Nabarro and Olswang making up two each

CMS network promotes 48 to partner, with Nabarro and Olswang making up two each

Ahead of the triple merger on 1 May, the CMS global network including Nabarro and Olswang have announced their partner promotions for 2017, with females making up 27% of the worldwide total.

The 44 partners made up by the global CMS network mark a significant increase on last year, when 31 lawyers were promoted globally. In that round, women made up 39% of the total new partners, and therefore that figure has slipped since last year. However in terms of UK-based promotions, women make up 40% of new partners.

In this year’s round, associates have been made up in a variety of practices spanning CMS’ 26 worldwide offices. In the UK, David Bridge and Olswang’s Luke Pardey have been promoted in the firm’s dispute resolution and arbitration practice, with Caroline Kurup being made up in employment and pensions. CMS’ real estate practice has been expanded with fellow UK lawyers David Crossley (Nabarro), Amy Norton and Kirsten Partridge, with Olswang’s Helen Wallis being made up in IP. Nabarro’s Jack Shepherd has been promoted in the firm’s corporate practice, while Paul Silver and Duncan Turner have been made up in TMT.

CMS Cameron McKenna senior partner Penelope Warne (pictured) commented: ‘Providing opportunities for progression for all our employees is a key priority for our business. The broad range of countries and practice and sector groups in which the promotions have taken place is testament to the strength and confidence we have in our global business.’

Earlier this year it emerged that 300 support staff roles were set to be cut, ahead of the CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang three-way merger. The decision came after a consultation which ran from 16 January to 3 March, with 650 of 950 support staff members being offered roles in the combined firm.

Read more: ‘Sale of the century – Has Camerons picked up a bargain with Olswang and Nabarro?’

CMS partner promotions in full:

Kerstin Block, banking, Germany
Andrea Zubović-Devedžić, banking, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ulrich Becker, corporate, Germany
Tobias Grau, corporate, Germany
Daniel Jenny, corporate, Switzerland
Christoph Lächler, corporate, Germany
Falk Lichtenstein, corporate, China
Jochen Lux, corporate, Germany
Daniela Murer, corporate, Italy
Jack Shepherd, corporate, United Kingdom
Herman van Aerts, corporate, Netherlands
Michael Wangemann, corporate, Germany

Marquard Christen, competition, Switzerland

Francesca Sutti, competition, Italy
Dieter Zandler, competition, Austria
Florian Block, compliance, Germany
David Bridge, dispute resolution, London
Horia Draghici, dispute resolution, Romania
Pierre Ducret, dispute resolution, Switzerland
Luke Pardey, dispute resolution, London
Jorge Sánchez, dispute resolution, Spain
Sophie Berg, employment and pensions, Belgium
Caroline Kurup, employment and pensions, London
Sofia Mateus, employment and pensions, Portugal
César Navarro, employment and pensions, Spain
Đorđe Popović, energy, Serbia
Randall Walker, energy, UAE
Thomas Böhm, insurance, Austria
Paola Nunziata, IP, Italy
Helen Wallis, IP, London
David Crossley, real estate, London
Johanna Hofmann, real estate, Germany
Christiane Kappes, real estate, Germany
Amy Norton, real estate, Edinburgh
Álvaro Otero, real estate, Spain
Kirsten Partridge, real estate, Glasgow
Thorsten Schätzlein, real estate, Germany
Jozsef Varady, real estate, Hungary
Herman Boersen, tax, Netherlands
Stephane Bouvier, tax, France
Mark Cagienard, tax, Switzerland
Pierre Carcelero, tax, France
Dimitar Hadjiveltchev, tax, France
Diego de Miguel, tax, Spain
Johann Roc’h, tax, France
Christophe Vézinhet, tax, France
Paul Silver, TMT, London
Duncan Turner, TMT, Edinburgh