Legal Business

US firms continue City growth as White & Case and Cooley see double-digit revenue spike

US firms continue City growth as White & Case and Cooley see double-digit revenue spike

White & Case’s City office posted revenue of $328m for 2017, a 13% increase on last year’s $290m figure, while Cooley has reached $57.5m in its third year in London. Globally, Sidley Austin has also posted significant revenue and profit growth for 2017.

2017 global revenues for White & Case also saw a substantial boost, standing at $1.8bn, a 10% increase from $1.63bn last year. Profits per equity partner also leapt 10.2% to $2.26m, a 10% rise on $2.05m last year. The number of total equity partners grew by 7% to 319 from 299 the previous year.

London executive partner Oliver Brettle told Legal Business: ‘These results show significant percentage increases, building on already excellent figures. We’ve successfully achieved quality, strong, sustainable growth in 2017 across the board for the firm’s key practice areas, reflecting our investment across those practices.’

‘The results point to the increasing attractiveness of the firm to clients who want to place significant transactions and matters with White & Case’, Brettle added.

Brettle said that among the London office’s standout matters was the £1bn Alfa Financial Software IPO from May 2017, the $10bn refinancing of Wind Tre in November and the $2.73bn Nacala Corridor project in Africa, which was led out of London.

In January last year, White & Case also advised Harbour Energy, the energy investment vehicle managed by EIG Global Energy Partners, on a deal to lead the $3bn acquisition by Chrysaor of a portfolio of oil and gas assets in the North Sea from Shell UK.

Meanwhile 2017 saw three high-profile London hires for the firm in the form of Clifford Chance’s M&A partner Patrick Sarch, capital markets partner Chris McGarry from Ropes & Gray and antitrust partner Marc Israel from Mcafarlanes.

The lateral hiring spree in the City has continued in 2018, including disputes partner Hannah Field-Lowes, who joined on 1 February from Weil, Gotshal & Manges where she was co-head of international dispute resolution. Daniel Turgel joined the firm’s global M&A practice in January from Linklaters and corporate partner Dominic Ross is due shortly to join from Ashurst.

Meanwhile, Cooley’s London outpost recorded an eye-catching 22% revenue growth to $57.5m in its third year of life as the firm’s global turnover passed the $1bn mark.

The Palo Alto-bred firm saw profits per equity partner jump 6% to $2.08m in 2017, while global revenue grew 10% to $1.07bn from $974m  and revenue per lawyer hit $1.2m.

Its London outpost grew revenue by almost a quarter on last year’s $47m despite a relatively quiet 2017 on the lateral market, with the firm adding only one London partner.

‘It was a very busy year, we had some very nice matters both in the transactional and litigation space that kept the office really busy, particularly in the second half of the year,’ London managing partner Justin Stock told Legal Business.

The firm’s capital markets practice was particularly active and the firm claims it did more than 50% of UK companies’ listings on Nasdaq in 2017.

US clients generated about 25% of the firm’s London revenue and Stock said the office had made a contribution to a number of US mandates: ‘It is an advantage to have both the UK and US expertise.’

The firm’s UK and US teams worked together on the $1.1bn acquisition of Apollo Education Group by investors including The Vistria Group, which closed in February last year. Stock said its office had also made a contribution on the Snapchat IPO .

The firm’s only European base, Cooley made a dramatic entrance in London in 2015 with a team of 55 lawyers including 20 partners from Edwards Wildman and Morrison & Foerster.

It has since grown its City headcount to 28 partners and 52 other lawyers through a number of headline hires from global rivals. Stock said he aimed at bringing the headcount to over 100 lawyers in 2018 and to 150 in the next three years.

Cooley recently recruited cross-border deals specialist Michal Berkner from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Hogan Lovells head of international products Rod Freeman.

It previously recruited Mayer Brown senior finance partner John Clark and prominent Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Louise Delahunty .

Elsewhere, Sidley Austin has grown both global revenue and PEP for the seventh consecutive year. Global fee income at the US giant rose to $2.04bn, a 6% increase on last year’s $1.93bn.

PEP was up 6% to $2.26m and headcount rose 2% to 1,873 lawyers in a year marked by headline deals such as the recruitment of seven partners from Kirkland & Ellis in Munich last February.

Legal Business

Snap Inc general counsel Handman to step down from role after three years

Snap Inc general counsel Handman to step down from role after three years

Snap Inc general counsel (GC) Chris Handman has stepped down from his position to spend more time with his family, after three years at the US company.

California-headquarted parent company Snap Inc owns social media camera application Snapchat, which allows users send instant image messages, and was co-founded by chief executive Evan Spiegel in 2011.

Handman joined Snap Inc as GC in May 2014, after 14 years as a litigation partner at Hogan Lovells’ Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation group in its Washington DC office.

Despite standing down from the GC role, Handman will remain working at the company as an adviser.

Snap Inc’s deputy GC and chief compliance officer Dominic Perella will serve as the company’s GC on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found.

Perella has been deputy GC since March 2015, and before then he also worked in Hogan Lovells’ US litigation department for eight years.

In a statement, Snap Inc said: ‘We are grateful for all of Chris’s hard work and contributions to Snap. He has built an incredible legal team, played an integral role in taking the company public, and has been a valued member of Snap’s leadership. We wish him all the best; he will always be an important part of the Snap family.’

Handman oversaw the company’s March 2017 initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange.

The float valued the company, at $28bn. US firm Cooley advised Snap Inc on the IPO, led by corporate and securities partner Eric Jensen.

Snap Inc’s San Francisco in-house team was led by Handman and associate general counsel Atul Porwal.

IPO documents revealed that Handman’s base salary for 2016 was $475,000.

Legal Business

Q&A: Cooley’s Justin Stock talks launching in London and his ambition to match US success

Q&A: Cooley’s Justin Stock talks launching in London and his ambition to match US success

Two years after Cooley‘s launch in the City with a dramatic flurry of hires, the office has hit turnover of $47m and grown rapidly. Matthew Field talks to Cooley London managing partner Justin Stock about the firm’s next move.

You’re two years in to London, how has the performance been?

It’s been great and the numbers are even a little higher than we had budgeted for. The first two years have been a lot about getting the pieces in place and bedding down the team. We had to spend time integrating and getting everyone to know each other.

What’s the future for Cooley London?

Year three will bring further growth with a focus on corporate. This is going to be about powering our core strengths across tech and life sciences, and handling complex litigation. We are at 80 lawyers and are absolutely not finished growing.

How did you come to join from Morrison & Foerster?

When David Bresnick and I originally went to chat to Cooley, it was a bit of a reconnaissance mission. We all work in the technology space and had heard a rumour Cooley was coming. We wanted to find out more.

What drew me to the firm was the opportunity to be part of an exciting vision with a firm that has the guts to do something material. They weren’t going to dip their toe in London, they were going to make a significant commitment. Joe Conroy, Cooley’s chief executive officer, was a big part of my decision. I liked his approach and his vision and determination to make it work.

What have been the key matters for London?

Working with Deliveroo on its $275m financing from General Catalyst was a great transaction; Microsoft’s deal for Swiftkey was another super deal; and both were in our core space. I also helped advise Apollo Global Management in relation to the $1.1bn float of Athene on the New York Stock Exchange.

What was your background before joining Cooley?

I practiced at a firm in Johannesburg called Werksmans, making partner there in 2000. I was married in 2001 and moved here with my wife six months later. Before then we had never discussed leaving South Africa. I joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

What was your next move?

O’Melveny & Myers were doing very well in the private equity space in the US and were building up a PE-focused practice, which presented an opportunity for me in London. After they had a significant team move in New York, I was concerned that London growth would be put on the back burner. I was ambitious and did not want to wait, so moved to MoFo, which was building up their team in London. Perhaps that growth-and-build vision is a bit of a theme for me.

What is the secret to success for Cooley?

We want to be in the top firms in London; one of the elite UK firms. We have achieved that in America. What I want to replicate here is something I’ve seen but we’re still working on it. Many of our clients in the States genuinely love the firm and value the lawyers, that’s what we want to achieve here, to be seen as a true business partner of our clients. If they see you like that you have them for life.

Legal Business

Cooley to gain $11.5m worth of shares following Snap float

Cooley to gain $11.5m worth of shares following Snap float

Palo Alto trailblazer Cooley is the holder of shares worth more than $11.5m following the float of Snap on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.

Initial public offering (IPO) documents stated the firm’s partners and associates own, through the firm’s investment vehicle GC&H Investments, 239,800 shares of Class A stock in the tech company and 239,800 Class B stock.

After Snap’s float gave a closing price of $24 a share, Cooley’s stock is valued at $11.5m. The float of 200 million shares on Thursday gave SNAP an overall valuation of $28bn.

Tech-focused firms in the Silicon Valley market like Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Cooley have been known for taking equity in deference of fees in fast growth start-ups.

Snap was founded in 2011 by chief executive Evan Spiegel, who developed the picture messaging app Snapchat.

Cooley advised Snap on the IPO, while Boston firm Goodwin Procter won the mandate to advise the underwriters.

Cooley corporate and securities partner Eric Jensen led the advice for Snap. Cooley global co-head of capital markets David Peinsipp and partner Seth Gottlieb also advised on the deal.

Goodwin’s team was led by partners Richard Kline, An-Yen Hu and Anthony McCusker.

Snap’s San Francisco in-house team was led by general counsel Chris Handman and associate general counsel Atul Porwal. Handman, who was previously a litigation partner at Hogan Lovells until 2014, was revealed to receive $475,000 as his 2016 base salary in the IPO documents.

Snap also uses US law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson for legal advice, where Evan Spiegel’s father, John Spiegel, is a partner, although not the company’s legal adviser. The tech company paid Munger $305,000 in 2014, $50,000 in 2015 and $294,000 in 2016 respectively.

The float represents the biggest tech IPO since Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, which raised $25bn in 2014. While legal fees have not yet been revealed for Snap, Alibaba’s IPO netted advisers Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell $15.8m.

Legal Business

US firms sustain City growth as White & Case posts 4% London revenue bump and Cooley turnover hits $47m

US firms sustain City growth as White & Case posts 4% London revenue bump and Cooley turnover hits $47m

White & Case‘s London office saw a 4% increase in revenue sitting at around $290m while Cooley reached $47m two years after opening in the City.

White & Case posted a 7% increase in global revenue for 2016 reaching $1.63bn, up on last year’s 1% increase in revenue of $1.52bn. Profits per equity partner also jumped by 2% to $2.05m up on last year’s $2.02m. Revenue per lawyer saw a 5% increase to $833,000 after 2015’s dip of less than 1%

London executive partner Oliver Brettle (pictured) said it had been a strong year globally for M&A, antitrust, disputes, financial restructuring and insolvency, and international arbitration.

‘It was a pretty strong set of results across the board,’ Brettle told Legal Business. ‘We’ve managed to achieve the growth in profitability and revenue at a time when we’ve been making pretty substantial investments. Looking at the London results, to achieve results like that, an actual growth in revenue in dollar terms given a lot of our revenue in London is in pounds and euros, are results we can be quite pleased with.’

Headcount at the US firm is up 2% from 2015 with a total of 1,957 lawyers. New York has seen a 19% increase in lawyers since July 2015 while London saw an increase of 12%. White & Case has been bulking up its City practice with plans to have more than 500 lawyers in London in four years as part of its 2020 strategy.

Key additions to the firm’s City office include former Clifford Chance corporate partner Patrick Sarch and Macfarlanes competition and EU head Marc Israel who both joined on January 1. The firm also promoted eight in London last month.

Meanwhile, Cooley saw a 7% revenue increase for 2016 to $974m. In 2015 the firm saw a 14% rise to $912m. Profits per partner were up by 4% to $1.96m while revenue per lawyer remained stagnant at $1.14m.

The US firm’s London office hit $47m in 2016, exceeding 2015’s ballpark predictions for turnover which were upwards of $40m. The City outpost took on four partners during the year including senior finance partner John Clark from Mayer Brown.

Cooley London managing partner Justin Stock said the financials were ‘good results for tumultuous times’. He added: ‘We have had standout deals in life sciences and tech M&A. We are growing more this year, there is no magic number but we definitely want to grow more on the corporate side.’

Cooley also landed the largest transaction in its history advising biopharmaceutical company Medivation on its agreement to sell to Pfizer for approximately $14bn.


Legal Business

Cooley continues City expansion with Mayer Brown finance partner Clark

Cooley continues City expansion with Mayer Brown finance partner Clark

US firm Cooley continues to recruit major lateral hires into its year-old London office as it has announced today (11 February) the appointment of senior finance partner John Clark (pictured) from Mayer Brown.

Clark represents lenders, borrowers, trustees and debt investors in connection with cross-border and domestic financing transactions, acquisitions and restructurings. He advises clients that operate in a range of sectors including aviation, finance, manufacturing and real estate.

Recognised as a leading lawyer by the Legal 500 for acquisition finance and bank lending, Clark previously represented Budapest Airport on the refinancing of €1.3bn of loans with a bank syndicate in 2014. Clark’s bank clients include Wells Fargo, which he advised on a €1bn financing for Hewlett-Packard subsidiaries.

His departure follows that of Mayer Brown’s co-head of restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency Ashley Katz, who joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in January to launch a restructuring practice.

Cooley London managing partner Justin Stock said: ‘John’s deep knowledge in handling complex debt and leveraged finance transactions will prove incredibly valuable for our client base. It’s great to get him on board.’

Last month Cooley invested in its disputes offering with the hire of Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Louise Delahunty.

The news follows the firm’s 2015 financial results posted this morning, showing revenue has risen 14% to $912m, while profit per equity partner increased by 9% to $1.9m, off the back of the firm’s London office launch in January last year.

Legal Business

US financials: London launch sees firmwide Cooley revenues rise 14%

US financials: London launch sees firmwide Cooley revenues rise 14%

Cooley‘s financials for 2015 show revenue has risen 14% to $912m, while profit per equity partner increased by 9% to $1.9m, off the back of the firm’s London office launch in January last year.

Revenue per lawyer rose by 7.5% to $1.14m while the firm’s headcount is also up, with a 6.1% increase in lawyers to 801. The firm made 30 lateral hires in 2015, including 19 partners for its London launch. The firm has not yet disclosed the financials for its new City office. 

The result is another strong financial year for the Palo Alto-headquartered firm which saw its revenue surge 19% in 2014 to $802m – thanks in part to its takeover of Washington DC firm Dow Lohnes– and profits per partner rising 11% to $1.74m.

Although relatively late to the game, Cooley made a dramatic entrance to the London market in January 2015 with teams from Edwards Wildman and Morrison & Foerster, creating a 55-lawyer office and taking on the 23,000 sq ft offices Edwards Wildman was occupying at 69 Old Broad Street.

With a mandate to generate London revenues upwards of $40m, the firm made multiple hires in the last twelve months and kicked off 2016 by adding prominent Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Louise Delahunty.

Major mandates for the firm last year included advising Auspex Pharmaceuticals’ $3.5bn sale to Teva and Horizon Pharma’s $ acquisition of Hyperion Therapeutics; as well as acting for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on the fund formation of Zuckerberg Education Ventures. Disputes wise, it secured multiple privacy class action wins for Facebook last year including more than 10 patent litigation wins.

This week US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld posted revenues up by 7% to $930m in 2015, with London contributing $91m following the acquisition of Bingham McCutchen’s London office at the end of 2014. The City revenue figure is up more than two and half times what the firm posted the year prior.


Legal Business

‘Criminal capability’: Cooley makes key appointment with Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Delahunty

‘Criminal capability’: Cooley makes key appointment with Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Delahunty

Cooley has kicked off 2016 with further hires to its now year-old London office, adding prominent Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Louise Delahunty (pictured).

Recommended by the Legal 500, Delahunty is a specialist in global investigations. She served as European counsel at Sullivan and prior to that, was a partner at Simmons & Simmons and a member of its crime, fraud & investigations group. She has advised on investigations overseen by multiple regulatory bodies including the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority, the US Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

With Delahunty’s arrival the firm’s London office now houses 25 partners and over 70 fee earners, including 12 partners and 29 fee earners in the litigation practice.

Cooley litigation head Laurence Harris tells Legal Business: ‘One of the reasons Louise has joined is that while we’re always doing quite a bit of investigatory work, we don’t have the criminal capability which she will bring.’

The firm’s global litigation chair Michael Attanasio added: ‘Louise has deep experience representing global companies and individuals in a wide variety of white collar matters involving allegations of fraud, corruption and economic sanctions. Her track record of success will be a great asset in further expanding our global litigation capabilities.’

With a mandate to generate London revenues upwards of $40m, Cooley’s well-documented foray into the City started at the beginning of 2015 with the hire of teams from Edwards Wildman and Morrison & Foerster to create a 55 lawyer office. Since then the firm has made several strategic hires, including Reed Smith life sciences partner duo John Wilkinson and Nicola Maguire, and longstanding Olswang corporate partner Stephen Rosen in March.



Legal Business

Cooley continues London expansion with launch of City patent practice

Cooley continues London expansion with launch of City patent practice

With a mandate to generate London revenues of upwards of $40m, Cooley is making good on its City ambitions and hired a trio of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo lawyers to bulk out its London offering and launch a patent practice.

The trio, David Wraige, Jacqueline Ireland and Daniel Sellwood, are the latest addition to the West Coast firm’s London presence, having launched in the City with a 55-strong lawyer office taken from Edwards Wildman Palmer and Morrison & Foerster in January and which has since been added to by Olswang’s longstanding corporate partner Stephen Rosen and a life sciences team from Reed Smith.

Wraige is a European patent attorney who advises clients in the UK and US on patent drafting, prosecution and EPO oppositions, while Ireland, a fellow European patent attorney, handles issues within the biochemistry and molecular genetics industry. Sellwood meanwhile, is a UK‐qualified patent attorney and specialised in European patent prosecution, drafting applications, opposition, portfolio management and foreign prosecution work.

The firm has previously dipped into Mintz Levin’s intellectual property (IP) offering, including its former co-chair of IP, Ivor Elrifi in New York, and Boston partner Heidi Erlacher in April 2014.

Cooley’s UK managing partner Justin Stock said: ‘The momentum in London keeps growing. Launching a patent practice with such talented practitioners was a natural next step for Cooley, which is so dominant in tech and life sciences. Nothing demonstrates this more than our very recent work on Europe’s largest private life sciences financing for a British-based company seeking to find a cure for cancer.’

‘The arrival of this high quality patent team gives Cooley’s clients a balance of core IP strengths in both the UK and the US,’ added Elrifi who previously led the group at Mintz Levin. ‘David, Jacqueline and Daniel are superb practitioners whom I’ve known for several years – our transatlantic team is looking forward to building great things together.’

For more on the new US firms looking to make it in the City see: The Third Wave – high stakes City deals for Akin and Cooley highlight changing tactics

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: US firms kick-on with big hires as Clydes invests Stateside

Revolving Doors: US firms kick-on with big hires as Clydes invests Stateside

As firms move to finalise their lateral hires before the holiday season starts, a string of US hires were wrapped up last week as Cooley brought in Reed Smith’s global head of corporate and securities in a four-partner hire to grow on both sides of the States, while Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton launched an antitrust practice in the City. Meanwhile, UK firm Clyde & Co went in the other direction to grow its US offering.

Cooley launched one of the most ambitious hires in the legal sector last week, as it welcomed a four-partner team from Reed Smith led by that firm’s global head of corporate and securities and chair of its US capital markets group, Yvan-Claude Pierre.

New York-based Pierre, who alone has been involved in more than 250 capital markets offerings and 150 M&A transactions, and corporate and capital market partners Daniel Goldberg and William Haddad made the switch in Manhattan while Reed Smith’s M&A partner Garth Osterman also joined Cooley, arriving at the firm’s San Francisco office. Cooley also made a capital markets hire from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom with partner Joshua Kaufman joining the firm’s ranks.

The hires follow a rapid expansion of the firm’s corporate and finance teams, with the four-partner arrival bringing to 25 the number of corporate partners who have joined Cooley since 2013. Pierre said: ‘Companies around the world are taking note of Cooley’s incredible momentum as it continues to deliver record-breaking results in tech, life sciences and all things innovation.’

While Cooley’s aggressive opening in London has helped to push its brand into Europe and generate momentum, US rival Sheppard Mullin has employed a low key strategy in the City. Nonetheless, its hire of competition partner Oliver Heinisch last week proved to be something of a coup, with the London lawyer leaving Simmons & Simmons to launch the firm’s antitrust practice in the City.

Well known for his work with Samsung, Heinisch said he was ‘impressed with Sheppard Mullin’s successful national and international growth and expansion in recent years’. Heinisch advises on EU, UK and German competition law with a focus on international cartel and abuse of dominance.

Meanwhile, Clydes expansion in the other direction, as it seeks to bulk out its US practice, continued with the addition of professional liability partner Scott Bertschi in Atlanta. With over two decades of experience, Bertschi arrives from Arnall Golden Gregory with a large number of insurance clients, which he defends in litigation over their coverage to pay-out insurance.

With the firm able to offer Bertschi access to its leading insurance practice servicing the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, the professional liability partner said ‘the firm’s international network uniquely positions me to leverage that expertise in service to my clients’.

He added: ‘I am excited to be joining Clyde & Co at a time of so much change in the legal, regulatory and technology landscapes. Clyde & Co has helped develop many new types of specialty policies now being used across the industry.’

His arrival follows that of insurance partners Vikram Sidhu, Bob Mangino and Owen Carragher in New York over the past 18 months.