Legal Business

‘A global solution’: Pinsents hires six partners for Frankfurt launch as DLA expands in Dublin

‘A global solution’: Pinsents hires six partners for Frankfurt launch as DLA expands in Dublin

Pinsent Masons has hired six partners from a range of firms for a new Frankfurt office, the firm’s third opening in Germany since 2012.

Frankfurt follows moves into Munich and Düsseldorf for Pinsents in 2012 and 2016 respectively. The new office will focus on the technology, energy and real estate sectors initially with an eye to developing in financial services.

A founding team of six partners has been hired from multiple firms for the launch. Volker Balda joins from KPMG Law, where he was M&A head for Germany and co-head of the global corporate law practice, M&A partners Markus Friedel and Sven Shculte-Hillen join from Dechert, M&A partner Ronald Meissner joins from Oppenhoff & Partners, real estate partner Tobias Nuss joins from Beiten Burkhardt, and intellectual property partner Nils Rauer was hired from Hogan Lovells.

Pinsents’ Germany head Rainer Kreifels commented: ‘Establishing a presence in Frankfurt has been part of our vision for Germany from the outset. The new office in addition to our Munich and Düsseldorf locations will increase the strength and depth of our offering for clients locally and internationally.’

The firm has grown to 38 partners and more than 100 lawyers in Germany over the last six years, including five lateral hires in the past 12 months. Key mandates have included advising German tech company About You on a $300m funding deal and completing three Frankfurt Stock Exchange initial public offerings.

Last year, Fieldfisher and Covington & Burling also opened offices in Frankfurt.

Elsewhere, DLA Piper has hired four partners from different firms to join its Dublin office, which recently launched with the hire of David Carthy from William Fry.

Conor Houlihan joins from Dillon Eustace to lead DLA’s finance and projects practice in Ireland, Éanna Mellett joins as a corporate partner from Matheson, while former A&L Goodbody partners Mark Rasdale and Ciara McLoughlin join the intellectual property and technology and employment practices respectively.

Carthy, DLA’s Ireland managing partner, told Legal Business the firm intended to build a substantial practice in Ireland. He joined DLA in July to help refine the strategy and said the Irish market was ‘ripe for change’.

‘Clients are looking for a global solution and want more choice. DLA works differently from a lot of the Irish players. Clients are increasingly asking, “Can you help me in different jurisdictions?”’

Carthy expected to make further hires and saw the practice growing to at least 100 lawyers over the next couple of years. Financial services, technology and life sciences are a particular focus for the office, with Dublin seen as a key global hub in those sectors.

Carthy added: ‘The Irish economy is doing very well at the moment. Obviously Brexit has added major uncertainty, but there’s still plenty of activity.’

DLA was the fifth firm to open in Dublin after the Brexit vote, following in the footsteps of Lewis Silkin, Simmons & Simmons, Covington & Burling and Pinsents.

hamish.mcnicol@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Levine goes unopposed to win second DLA managing partner term

Levine goes unopposed to win second DLA managing partner term

DLA Piper international managing partner Simon Levine has been re-elected for another four years following an uncontested election.

Levine’s reappointment was confirmed today (8 October) after nominations for any challengers closed on Friday (5 October).

A contested election would have seen hustings begin this week before the managing partner was confirmed a month later.

The firm’s board had said it was pleased Levine (pictured) sought a second term. Earlier this year, eight partners had competed in DLA’s first contested senior partner election in a decade, sparked by Juan Picón’s shock departure for Latham & Watkins less than two years into his term. Firm stalwart Andrew Darwin was ultimately elected senior partner.

On his re-election, Levine commented: ‘DLA Piper is a fantastic firm with ambitious plans for the future. I look forward to continuing to work with Andrew and US leadership to achieve our goals and provide our clients with a high quality service that enables them to deliver, accelerate and grow.’

Darwin commented: ‘The board is pleased that Simon has been re-appointed for a further four years after a successful first term. On a personal level, I am also delighted that we will continue to work together in what has already become an effective team.’

Levine assumed the top job in 2015 from the man who led the firm’s rapid globalisation over 18 years, Sir Nigel Knowles. DLA was transformed into one of the world’s largest law firms under Knowles’ watch and his standing down was referred to as the firm’s ‘Sir Alex Ferguson moment’.

In April this year, DLA bounced back from the previous year’s global turnover drop with double-digit percentage growth in net profit. The firm’s global revenue rose to $2.63bn in 2017, up 7% on last year, while the firm added £75.5m to its international LLP’s top line on the back of exchange rate movement – accounting for 69% of the international revenue improvement for the year ending 30 April 2017.

DLA’s recent history has seen some other high-profile exits following Picón’s departure. Three significant contributors in real estate left this year for McDermott Will & Emery, followed by Anu Balasubramanian, a young private equity partner making a strong impression, to Paul Hastings.

Conversely, the firm recently bolstered its corporate practice with the hires of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer veteran Martin Nelson-Jones to its corporate practice and former Serious Fraud Office (SFO) division head Patrick Rappo from Steptoe & Johnson.

hamish.mcnicol@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Levine bids for second managing partner term as DLA kicks off election

Levine bids for second managing partner term as DLA kicks off election

DLA Piper’s partnership is headed to the polls again for its managing partner election, less than a year after eight partners competed in the firm’s first contested senior partner election in a decade.

Incumbent managing partner and co-chief executive of the global giant, Simon Levine, is standing for re-election. Nominations for candidates close Friday 5 October but if nobody else stands, Levine will be re-elected on 8 October.

If other candidates come forward, hustings will begin on 8 October, with the results of confirmed a month later. The managing partner term will run for four years from the start of next year.

Senior partner Andrew Darwin, who was elected to the position following a contested process in February , commented: ‘The board is pleased that Simon Levine intends to stand for re-election and, having worked closely with him during his first term, is very supportive of Simon continuing for a further four years, while respecting the right for other partners to put themselves up for election.’

Levine (pictured) assumed the top job in 2015 from the man who led the firm’s rapid globalisation over 18 years, Sir Nigel Knowles. DLA was transformed into one of the world’s largest law firms under Knowles watch and his standing down was referred to as the firm’s ‘Sir Alex Ferguson moment’.

In April this year, DLA bounced back from the previous year’s global turnover drop with double-digit percentage growth in net profit. The firm’s global revenue rose to $2.63bn in 2017, up 7% on last year, while the firm added £75.5m to its international LLP’s top line on the back of exchange rate movement – accounting for 69% of the international revenue improvement for the year ending 30 April 2017.

The managing partner election comes following a high-profile senior partner race at DLA earlier this year, sparked by Juan Picón’s shock departure for Latham & Watkins less than two years into his term. Eight partners contested that election, with London trio Darwin, international corporate head Bob Bishop and corporate partner Jon Hayes making the final three.

DLA’s recent history has seen some other high-profile exits following Picón’s departure. Three significant contributors in real estate left this year for McDermott Will & Emery, followed by Anu Balasubramanian, a young private equity partner making a strong impression, to Paul Hastings.

Conversely, the firm recently bolstered its corporate practice with the hires of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer veteran Martin Nelson-Jones to its corporate practice and former Serious Fraud Office (SFO) division head Patrick Rappo from Steptoe & Johnson.

hamish.mcnicol@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Legal 500 Data: The data behind the story

Legal 500 Data: The data behind the story

DLA Piper top-tier global rankings from The Legal 500

DLA Piper has topped this year’s Legal Business 100 with revenue of £1,799.5m, an increase of 7% from last year. See our full coverage of the Legal Business 100.

Legal Business

DLA adds ‘practical’ regulatory expertise with hire of former high-ranking SFO lawyer

DLA adds ‘practical’ regulatory expertise with hire of former high-ranking SFO lawyer

DLA Piper has hired a former Serious Fraud Office (SFO) division head in response to multinational clients increasingly demanding ‘expertise on the ground’ with regulators.

DLA announced today (28 August) it had hired corporate crime and regulatory investigations lawyer Patrick Rappo from the London arm of US firm Steptoe & Johnson, which he joined in 2013. Prior to that, Rappo spent five years at the SFO, where he became joint head of bribery and corruption.

Rappo helped introduce deferred prosecution agreements in the UK while at the SFO, and in private practice has advised both corporates and clients on investigations and responding to government enforcement action, including from the US Department of Justice, SFO, and World Bank.

DLA head of financial services and regulatory investigations Tony Katz told Legal Business there was a growing trend for multinational corporations looking for lawyers which have expertise working with regulators. He said the firm had hired partners in the US who have acted in law enforcement agencies and regulators there, which had proved successful.

‘If we’ve got people who’ve worked at the international regulators and enforcement agencies then clearly they’ve got a very good understanding of how to deal on a practical level with those agencies,’ he commented. ‘They are also very well-versed in dealing on a cross-border basis because many of those investigations run by the SFO have an international element and work very closely with international agencies.’

Katz added that DLA’s corporate criminal investigations group, which would increase to five partners and 15 lawyers in the UK with Rappo’s hire, would benefit from Rappo providing ‘expertise on the ground’ to the firm’s international clients which had a presence here.

‘We see this as a priority area for the firm. The UK, even with the addition of Patrick, can still benefit from significant additional resources.’

Rappo commented: ‘DLA Piper’s global presence and impressive roster of clients provides a very exciting opportunity. The firm has been a leader in the corporate crime and regulatory investigations space for many years and I look forward to working with our very experienced international team to further strengthen the offering for our clients.’

Rappo’s hire is announced on the same day former FBI deputy general counsel (GC) Lisa Osofsky begins her term as the new SFO boss. Osofsky, whose appointment was finally announced in June, replaces former SFO director David Green QC, who is expected to shortly join Slaughter and May.

hamish.mcnicol@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Into the mainstream: another big New Law exit sees EY acquire Riverview Law

Into the mainstream: another big New Law exit sees EY acquire Riverview Law

Mere months after New Law pioneer Lawyers On Demand (LOD) secured private equity backers to position itself as a global player, fellow alternative legal services business darling, Riverview Law, has been acquired by Big Four accountancy firm EY.

The financial details of the deal, announced today (7 August), were not disclosed, but Riverview’s turnover is believed to have risen to more than £10m since it launched in 2012, meaning the acquisition is expected to carry a hefty price tag.

For EY, the purchase is touted as a means by which the accounting firm will look to enhance and scale its EY Law managed services offering. EY global head of alliances for tax, Chris Price, will become chief executive of the rebranded EY Riverview Law once the acquisition has been completed later this month. He will be working closely with the existing Riverview leadership as EY looks to service clients across the globe.

The acquisition also sees global law giant DLA Piper offload its stake in Riverview, with the firm previously owning 21% investment in the parent company, LawVest. That stake reduced to 14% after Riverview demerged with Kim Technologies, its highly-rated AI platform, in September 2017.

Riverview’s long-standing relationship with Kim was established when the New Law provider invested in the company in 2014. DLA has maintained a small minority stake in the technology platform following Riverview’s sale.

After launching in 2012, Riverview’s turnover has risen from about £200,000 to what analysts estimate is more than £10m. Riverview invested millions into Kim before the AI platform became separately funded as a global software business.

Speaking to Legal Business earlier this year, Riverview chief executive Karl Chapman (pictured) commented on law firms’ adoption of legal tech: ‘It is fascinating, there is a complacency driven by the profitability and margins that law firms make. It will take three to four years for that to really come home to roost and there will be some big winners in that changed environment.’

‘Corporate legal departments are moving at a much faster pace, they are adopting technology much quicker, and law firms will be required to catch up because the customer will require them to catch up,’ he said.

Cornelius Grossman, EY global law leader, commented: ‘Legal managed services is one of the fastest growing segments of the legal market. This acquisition underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services; it will provide a springboard for current EY legal managed services offerings and bolster the capabilities that we can help deliver for EY clients.’

DLA’s decision to maintain an investment in Kim contrasts with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP), which sold its entire 62% investment in Lawyers On Demand (LOD) to buyout house Bowmark Capital in May.

Chapman added: ‘Put simply, we are excited by the next stage in our journey. We believe that the combination of the Riverview Law operating model, operating platform and people, alongside the EY brand, EY clients, existing legal services offering and global scale is a winning formula for the legal market.’

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk

For more on EY and the Big Four’s push into the legal services market, read  ‘Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Four? – Inside the accountants’ assault on law’ (£)

Legal Business

Comment: Deal View – DLA moves house in London but can it break free?

Comment: Deal View – DLA moves house in London but can it break free?

Shifting to an agile-working office is a peculiar experience. Two camps quickly emerge: those excited by change and colleagues happy with decades-old paper in a pile on their desk. It is unsettling, yet can galvanise a workforce.

DLA Piper is similarly moving into a bespoke, semi-open-plan office this year – its single-largest capital investment ever. The flagship London HQ unites 360 lawyers from two separate offices, a grand total of 633 steps down the road. A new environment will be embraced by many, but for some the gloss quickly wears off.

It makes for one comparison with the newer generation of leaders at the firm. Critics argue DLA has wrongly tilted its ambition in recent years to becoming a Magic Circle wannabe driven from London, without a clear point of difference and at the expense of productive regional operations. Worse, growing its City corporate and private equity teams has proven difficult. The greater problem is that it has often looked caught between the two approaches.

But then questions about competition between London – its largest office – and its other branches are hardly new. DLA’s strategy is to be a global, full-service firm, with London a vital, but not dominant, cog. Tom Heylen, London managing partner since late 2016, wants growth that compliments the wider firm: ‘We are set up to serve global clients, so London being strong and able to provide the firm as a whole with access to the specialists we have here benefits everyone.’

DLA is cagey on financials but adamant that its 120-partner City arm had a strong 2017, after a sedate few years. Twelve partners have been promoted since 2017, alongside 11 lateral hires: a real estate team of six King & Wood Mallesons partners the highlight. Conversely, three significant contributors in real estate left this year for McDermott Will & Emery. The recent resignation of Anu Balasubramanian, a young private equity partner making a strong impression, is likewise unwelcome.

Highlight deals in the City include advising Agility Trains on the £5.7bn project financing for the government’s high-speed train Intercity Express Programme and the management of Holland & Barrett on its £1.8bn sale to L1 Retail. European private equity head Tim Wright is well regarded, while ex-Linklaters corporate partner Jon Hayes and international corporate head Bob Bishop are regularly cited as strong performers (the firm has to manage the awkward politics that the latter two stood unsuccessfully this year as senior partner).

Heylen emphasises the ‘globalisation of deals’ and running more international client relationships from London because clients expect depth there. It is also focusing on disruptive companies, like key client WeWork.

The London arm has a reputation for silos, but there is a push to sort out a genuine cross-group working. Cynics, however, respond that the culture has become too balance-sheet focused and claim influential partners are still out for themselves.

It is also hard to escape Juan Picón’s abrupt resignation as senior partner in November, which sent a tremor through its European network. Andrew Darwin’s subsequent election is a nod to stability. Darwin spoke to 500 partners and more than 90% voted in the firm’s first contested election in a decade. He comments: ‘The departure of my predecessor caused a lot of soul-searching about what we are as a firm, and prompted a proper discussion about how we can integrate more and embed our culture and values.’

It is difficult to look past the conclusion that DLA’s struggle in London post-financial crisis is bound up in a lack of clarity about its identity and precisely where the Square Mile fits in. A new HQ provides room for expansion, but if one of law’s original disruptors is ready to invest heavily in London it should say so and back it up. The limits of its City achievements look largely of its own making.

hamish.mcnicol@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: A&O makes New York push as DLA and Dentons add to European rosters

Revolving doors: A&O makes New York push as DLA and Dentons add to European rosters

It has been lively couple of weeks for lateral hires, with Allen & Overy (A&O) making a significant play in New York as a host of firms recruited across the continent.

Hot on the heels of rehiring financial services regulation head Bob Penn in June, A&O has hired M&A partner Stephen Besen in New York from Shearman & Sterling.

Besen has 35 years of experience advising clients on mergers, tender offers, joint ventures, restructuring and private equity transactions. He also has pedigree in cross-border transactions, in areas including China, India, Latin America and the Middle East.

Richard Browne, A&O’s global co-head of corporate, commented: ‘His depth of experience and insight is a great fit for our international practice and a significant addition for our clients.’

Hogan Lovells made the sole UK hire last week, bringing in Nicola Fulford as a partner in the firm’s London-based privacy and cybersecurity practice.

Fulford, who arrives from Kemp Little, has in-house experience from working at UBS, as well as secondments at Google and IBM.

Eduardo Ustaran, co-director of Hogan Lovells’ privacy and cybersecurity practice, told Legal Business that his division now numbers around 100 lawyers globally. He commented: ‘We were looking for a true expert in the field and someone who had been involved in working with tech companies. Nicola has these qualities and will be a great cultural fit for us.’

DLA Piper was particularly active in Europe, firstly hiring partner Pierre Berger and his seven-strong team of lawyers from Baker McKenzie in Antwerp. Berger and his team have expertise in sectors spanning financial services and insurance.

DLA also strengthened its benches in Germany, hiring corporate partner Roland Maass from Latham & Watkins to its Frankfurt office. Maass had been with the US heavyweight since 2006, with his practice predominantly focused on capital markets transactions. Outside of Europe, DLA hired corporate partner Yang Ge from Shearman & Sterling to its Beijing hub.

Also in Germany, Dentons boosted its real estate practice with the hire of René Dubois from European outfit Noerr. The arrival of Dubois, who will be based in Munich, means Dentons can now offer real estate advice from all three of its German offices: Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.

Staying with Dentons, the firm also strengthened its Moscow base with the double partner hires of Vladimir Sokov and Sergey Klimenko from Russian firm Pepeliaev Group. Sokov is a corporate and M&A specialist while Klimenko will join Dentons as head of its Russian life sciences practice.

Finally, in France, King & Spalding has appointed a pair of partners to its Paris office. Laurent Bensaid, a corporate partner, has joined from Parisian outfit Hoche Avocats where he was co-head of the firm’s M&A department. Also arriving was Laurent Jaeger, an arbitration partner who joined from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Baker Botts takes Kirkland capital markets partner in Houston as Cooley adds tax partner and DLA makes litigation play in LA

Revolving Doors: Baker Botts takes Kirkland capital markets partner in Houston as Cooley adds tax partner and DLA makes litigation play in LA

City laterals stayed quiet last week continuing a recent hiatus while the US was the centre of attention internationally with DLA Piper, Baker Botts and Cooley all making hires across the Atlantic.

US laterals defined last week’s international recruitment round, with Baker Botts leading the way with a strategic hire from American powerhouse Kirkland & Ellis. Capital markets partner Justin Hoffman joined the firm in its Houston office, after spending two years as a partner at Kirkland.

Hoffman’s practice focuses on debt and equity capital market transactions, as well as corporate governance and compliance. Speaking to Legal Business, Hoffman explained the rationale for his move.

‘Baker Botts is a very established name in Houston. It has a very broad corporate practice, representing both issuers and underwriters. My practice is a perfect fit here.’

Moving to the West Coast, in Los Angeles Cooley further expanded its global tax practice with the hire of Alexander Lee from McDermott Will & Emery. Lee had previously spearheaded McDermott’s tax practice as a partner and focuses his practice on national and global transactional tax matters as well as private mergers and acquisitions.

‘Alexander’s deep knowledge of international transactional tax work further strengthens Cooley’s offerings for established industry giants and disruptive startups alike,’ said Mike Lincoln, chair of Cooley’s global business department. ‘Alexander has the wealth of experience needed to meet increasingly complex tax demands on large, cross-border deals.’

Rounding off the US moves, DLA also made a play in Los Angeles, announcing the hire of Levi Heath from Barnes & Thornburg where he had worked since 2011. As a partner at Barnes, Heath focused on civil and commercial litigation, including toxic tort and product liability defence. Heath will now boost the litigation capabilities of DLA on the West Coast where the firm has made a series of hires after completing a merger with Los Angeles-based boutique Liner last October.

Dentons meanwhile added to its Scottish bench with a hire in Glasgow, as Roddy Harrison joins the firm’s private client and charities team in the UK tax department. Harrison arrives at Dentons from BTO Solicitors where he headed the private client practice and was a partner for over 15 years. He has experience advising private clients and high net worth individuals on personal and business matters, including capital taxes planning and estate planning.

thomas.alan@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

DLA joins Brexit march to Dublin after finding the right kind of leader

DLA joins Brexit march to Dublin after finding the right kind of leader

William Fry’s David Carthy will join the firm to head new office

The decision of DLA Piper to join a handful of other City and international firms that have opened a Dublin office in the last year was partly to do with the UK’s move to leave the EU, and partly not.