Legal Business

Cadwalader loses another as Greenberg builds London restructuring bench

Cadwalader notches another loss from its London office as real estate finance partner moves to Greenberg Traurig.

Greenberg Traurig announced today (17 June) that Cadwalader real estate finance partner Duncan Hubbard is joining the firm as a shareholder in its finance and restructuring practice, less than a week after the firm lost five partners to King & Spalding.

Hubbard will be joined by associate William Lo, who will move to Greenberg as an of counsel. Both lawyers joined Cadwalader from Norton Rose in February 2019.

Hubbard brings with him more than two decades of experience. He has acted on some of the largest UK and international property finance transactions, from single assets such as The Gherkin to cross-jurisdictional funds with investment and development portfolios around the world, ranging from logistics in South Korea to healthcare in London.

Greenberg chairman Richard Rosenbaum said in a statement: ‘Duncan brings a wealth of experience, as we further execute our strategic development across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. He will also further support our top-tier global real estate, finance, M&A and funds capabilities.

Greenberg has built its real estate practice over the past two years with its hires of Sierra Taylor from Paul Hastings in April 2023 and Daniyal Ansari from BCLP in March 2022 as shareholders.

The departure comes hot on the heels of Cadwalader’s loss last week of five partners and one special counsel, including Legal 500 fund finance leading individual Samantha Hutchinson and next-generation partner Nathan Parker.

The move leaves Cadwalader with just 19 partners in London, according to the firm’s website. Hubbard was instrumental to the firm’s Legal 500 tier six-ranked property finance team. The firm’s website now lists just one London-based lawyer in the real estate team: associate Shelby Gemmell.

‘My move to Greenberg Traurig has been driven in large part by the firm’s collaborative European and global footprint and its long-term commitment to and brand in the industries I focus on,’ said Hubbard.

‘Working with a talented team across jurisdictions in related practices, and drawing on their localised sector knowledge, will enable me to provide my cross-border client base with a truly seamless service. This is an exceptional opportunity to join and help build a market-leading offering in London.’

Legal Business

‘Activity was phenomenal after a slow start’: Greenberg sustains global growth for tenth consecutive year

Greenberg Traurig has announced a 6% increase in revenue, reaching $2.3bn, while PEP rose 4%, climbing from $2.32m to $2.4m.

While slightly slower than last year’s 9% revenue increase, this growth still marks Greenberg’s tenth consecutive year of record revenue.

Richard Rosenbaum, executive chairman of Greenberg Traurig told Legal Business: ‘I really expected a difficult year due to interest rates, several wars, and other geopolitical problems. But we did well, we came out of the pandemic and we hung in there.’

Rosenbaum highlighted key practice areas driving this growth: ‘Corporate and funds picked up quite a bit. By the end of the year, we performed similarly in those practice areas as we had done the year before, which I never would have expected. Litigation, which makes up around 30% of our firm, picked up right from the beginning of the year. Restructuring, bankruptcy, and any kind of governmental work, all those areas picked up quite a bit.’

He continued: ‘Real estate continued to lag to some degree, but it did come back, although not to the same extent as other practice areas. Activity was phenomenal after a slow start.’

In the past financial year, Greenberg has opened several new offices. In January, it established a presence in San Diego, relocating four of its shareholders (the firm’s term for partner) as part of a larger team move. In March, the firm expanded into Saudi Arabia through an affiliation with Khalid Al-Thebity Law Firm. The following month, it opened an office in Singapore, focusing on energy infrastructure and M&A-related finance, and in September became licensed in the United Arab Emirates.

Rosenbaum commented: ‘In the midst of that kind of year, we saw our opportunity. In Singapore, we still need to add a disputes practice and so on. Singapore is in its very early stage.’

Back in London, Greenberg expanded its team by bringing onboard 15 lawyers, among them Luke Lado, who joined the firm’s banking and finance practice as a shareholder in November.

‘London has become a good microcosm of what the whole firm really does have. Remember, we started in London exactly 15 years ago with basically three lawyers,’ added Rosenbaum.

In the latest financial year, the firm has also announced the promotion of 60 lawyers to shareholders and of counsel across 20 offices. In London, this promotion includes Ashia Adams and Elizabeth Fox, who are now shareholders in the real estate and litigation practices respectively.

Legal Business

Global London Case Study: Greenberg Traurig

London headcount: 116 lawyers, 42 partners
Lawyer headcount change since 2016: +147%
London managing partner: Fiona Adams, co-chair of the global corporate practice
Office specialities: M&A, real estate, investment funds, litigation, finance

Legal Business

Greenberg strengthens City restructuring practice in preparation for economic downturn

Greenberg Traurig has continued its London recruitment push, this time hiring from Baker McKenzie to strengthen its City restructuring practice as firms look to hedge against increasing economic uncertainty. Bakers’ co-head of global restructuring and insolvency Ian Jack has left the firm for Greenberg after more than two decades, bringing with him extensive experience in restructuring as well as banking and financial transactions.

The hire comes as many in the industry anticipate a demand for restructuring and insolvency lawyers amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus. Greenberg executive Chairman Richard Rosenbaum commented: ‘I have been around a long time, but all countries, businesses and law firms are no doubt facing an unprecedented period of disruption, change and challenges. We just concluded our strongest year on record by any measure, and began 2020 in the same manner, but we all know we are facing new challenges given the coronavirus, oil price wars, stock market gyrations, and the uncertainties stemming from all of those circumstances.’

During his time at Bakers, Jack spearheaded advising Deloitte on the £700m sale of the Gherkin building to Safra Group as well as advising on the steering committee of creditors in the restructuring of $16.7bn of financial indebtedness of the leading Kazakh bank. He also advised clients in connection with the €1.6bn project financing for the construction and operation of a tolled section of the Berlin to Moscow highway.

The move continues a purple patch of hires for Greenberg, after the firm made a double play last month, with former Mishcon de Reya partners Mohammed Khamisa QC and Masoud Zabeti both joining the firm’s London bench. Greenberg’s City office now has more than 85 lawyers, with growth in contentious practices high on the agenda for 2020.

Legal Business

More Mishcon losses as Greenberg makes dual disputes hire in London

Greenberg Traurig has hired a pair of disputes partners from Mishcon de Reya, in an uncommon departure for the litigation and private client specialists and a significant addition for the US outfit.

Partners Mohammed Khamisa QC and Masoud Zabeti are poised to join the London office of Greenberg. Zabeti is currently the head of the finance and banking disputes group at Mishcon, having first joined the firm over a decade ago. His practice focuses on advising hedge funds, asset managers and private equity houses on various disputes.

Khamisa, meanwhile, has been a partner in Mishcon’s banking and finance group since 2015, having formerly been joint head of chambers at Old Bailey Chambers. He was made Queen’s Counsel in 2006 and has experience in white collar crime having been on the Serious Fraud Office’s Panel of Leading Counsel.

Greenberg’s executive chairman Richard Rosenbaum commented: ‘Our strategy has long been to build and change from strength, always being ready for what was coming next. In our major financial centres, and in Europe generally, balancing our strong and growing transactional practices with strong capabilities in dispute and restructuring practices is fully consistent with our core philosophy.’

A statement from Mishcon’s head of dispute resolution Kas Nouroozi (pictured) read: ‘While the timing of their departure is yet to be agreed we thank both Masoud and Mohammed for their contribution over a number of years to the firm.’

For Mishcon, the exits make for more unwelcome news following the firm’s withdrawal from Manhattan after ten years in the City. The retreat was actioned in January after three partners decamped to the New York office of King & Wood Mallesons, with disputes partners Mark Raskin, Robert Whiteman and Vincent Filardo all leaving alongside six senior counsel and one paralegal.

Legal Business

‘Independent thinker’ Greenberg Traurig picks Milan as latest step of unusual European footprint

Greenberg Traurig’s executive chair Richard Rosenbaum has pointed to his firm’s track record for independent thinking as it enters Italy through a merger in Milan.

In July, the northern Italian city will become the location of the Miami-bred firm’s 40th office, after Greenberg absorbs its local ally of 14 years, Santa Maria Studio Legale. Two Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer veterans will also join the firm’s first Italian base: local real estate head Marzio Longo and finance partner Corrado Angelelli, giving it a starting team of around 50 lawyers.

Legal Business

International round-up: Greenberg Traurig enters Italy through Milan merger as Latham goes big in Japan

Greenberg Traurig is to open its fifth European office via the acquisition of a Milan boutique and the hire of two veterans from the Italian branch of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

The US firm announced yesterday (16 May) that as of July the northern Italian city will become the location of its 40th office worldwide while its European lawyer headcount will hit 300.

It has merged with its 30-lawyer Italian ally of 14 years, Santa Maria Studio Legale and hired Freshfields Italy real estate head Marzio Longo and finance partner Corrado Angelelli. Luigi Santa Maria and Mario Santa Maria will serve as co-managing partners of the office, which will be known as Greenberg Traurig Santa Maria. Santa Maria Studio Legale was founded more than 50 years ago and operates in competition, litigation, M&A and finance. It signed an alliance with Greenberg in 2005.

Greenberg’s Milan launch follows London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Warsaw. Its relatively conservative European expansion has been unusual path US firms, usually more focused on the continent’s larger financial centres of Paris and Frankfurt.

Italy has traditionally been a complicated market for UK and US players, with their models hard to combine with a market largely dominated by a small group of veterans more inclined to run their own independent firms than take orders from abroad. However, relatively recent entrants including Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, White & Case and Dentons have built successful niches in the market.

‘This is a unique opportunity given our close relationship with Studio Santa Maria and its highly regarded place in the Italian market,’ said Greenberg executive chairman Richard Rosenbaum. ‘For more than 50 years, we have guarded our unified, collaborative, and non-bureaucratic culture as we have grown, maintaining our core values of excellence and sincere respect and trust of the individuals on the ground in all our locations. This unique combination has resulted in a broad and deep platform while retaining the feeling of empowerment and ability to change.’

Meanwhile, Latham has doubled the partner headcount of its Tokyo office. The firm has added corporate partners Ivan Smallwood, Noah Carr, and Stuart Beraha from the Japanese arm of Morrison & Foerster.

‘The Japanese market, with its sophisticated global needs, continues to be very important to our platform,’ said Latham chair and managing partner Rich Trobman. ‘Ivan, Noah, and Stuart are a cohesive team who will add momentum to an already powerful practice, serving leading multinationals to fast-growth startups across the Pacific Rim and around the world, spanning diverse industries from financial services to technology.’

Japanese M&A deals surged last year. Japanese companies were involved in 430 deals for a total value of $214bn in 2018, more than double the total for 2017 and the highest since records began in 1980, according to Mergermarket.

Legal Business

Life during law: Paul Maher

I grew up in North West London. My parents came from working-class, Irish Catholic backgrounds from Liverpool. Nobody had been to university. My mum left school at 14 but she was always keen on education.

I did law at Bristol University. It was in the pre-Thatcher days and I was lucky enough to be sent to university by the ‘Socialist Republic of Brent’. They paid for everything.

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Ashurst and Greenberg Traurig strengthen City benches as Pinsents sees moves both ways

A bumper week for City and international lateral hires followed the Easter break last week with Ashurst and Greenberg Traurig among those to make strategic additions in London, strengthening their real estate and white-collar practices respectively.

Ashurst announced the hire of Alison Hardy from Squire Patton Boggs where she was national head of its property litigation team. James Levy, head of Ashurst’s London disputes practice, said: ‘Alison is a highly regarded and experienced real estate litigator. We have every confidence that she will deliver great results for clients and play a key role in further developing our capability in high value disputes.’

Similarly, US firm Greenberg Traurig made a significant lateral move in the City as it secured the services of white-collar defence and investigations specialist Barry Vitou from Pinsent Masons, who will now lead its London practice.

Vitou holds expertise working on corruption, money laundering and the UK Bribery Act. Greenberg vice chair Paul Maher said: ‘We are always exploring ways to enhance what we can offer clients. This is one of the things we will achieve with the expected addition of Barry Vitou.’

Pinsents, for its part, strengthened its restructuring team with the addition of Samantha Palmer as partner. Palmer joins from Ashfords where she was a board member and head of professional and financial risks. She also has previous experience with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), where she headed up the financial stability programme.

Pinsents said: ‘Samantha’s arrival enhances our ability to provide a market-leading offering in terms of the restructuring of professional practices, advising lenders to professional practices, business-structure work for investors into the legal sector and pure regulatory advice for law firms themselves.’

Elsewhere in London, experienced private client specialist Jonathan Kropman will be leaving post-merger Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) to join Trowers & Hamlins to lead its private wealth team. Kropman had led legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner’s private client group for 13 years.

BCLP however was at the forefront of European activity this last week, deepening its German footprint with the hire of Bernd Geier to lead the firm’s financial regulation practise in Frankfurt.

Geier leaves Dentons, where he occupied a similar role leading its financial regulation and funds practice. Roland Fabian, managing partner for BCLP Germany, said in a statement: ‘Through this expansion of our regulatory expertise, we will be able to offer clients comprehensive advice on their increasingly complex regulatory matters, particularly in the context of the impending Brexit.’

Despite the loss, Dentons also made moves in Europe as partner Giangiacomo Olivi joins the firm’s Milan office. Arriving from DLA Piper, Olivi will now spearhead Dentons’ data privacy team.

Further afield, Clyde & Co appointed Cameron Thomson as a partner in its Sydney office, with the real estate expert leaving Norton Rose Fulbright. In a statement Clydes said: ‘Cameron’s capabilities, along with the firm’s extensive footprint in the region, made establishing a dedicated non-contentious real estate practice in Australia the next logical step’

Stephenson Harwood was also among those that saw activity in Asia-Pacific, with the arrival of partner Allen Shyu from Troutman Sanders to its Beijing office, after the US firm announced the closure of its office earlier this year. Shyu, who joined Troutman from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Hong Kong office, will lead on involved in capital markets deals, M&A and private equity matters.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is also committed to international hires in Hong Kong by securing two partners from US counterpart Weil, Gotshal & Manges. John Fadely and Albert Cho are poised to join Gibson’s investment funds group after their respective stints at Weil, which lasted eight and four years respectively. Gibson chairman and managing partner Ken Doran said: ‘We are focused on building a premier corporate practise in Asia that complements our private equity and M&A practices in the US, Europe and the Middle East.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Greenberg hires to support new KWM team as A&O and Fieldfisher add to their benches

Greenberg Taurig has made another lateral play in the City to build on its real estate funds hires from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) as Weightmans, Paul Hastings, Mayer Brown, Allen & Overy (A&O) and Fieldfisher have all made new appointments.

Greenberg has hired rising star Dani Martin from Reed Smith as a partner to work alongside its new recruits from KWM’s European practice. Martin will work alongside funds heavyweight Steve Cowins and five other partners who moved to Greenberg as a team. Martin worked in the real estate team at Reed Smith and was promoted to partner in 2013. Her key clients include M7 Real Estate Limited, Starwood Capital, Trinity Investment Management, Goldman Sachs, Oaktree Capital. Last week Greenberg confirmed new clients for the firm include CBRE, Westfield and British Airways’ Pension Fund, following the team’s hire. 

Meanwhile Paul Hastings has also benefited from downfall of KWM’s European arm, with the hire of Jean-Louis Martin to its Paris real estate team.

Martin, who moves with associates Arielle Messawer, David Bensimon and Quentin Jobard, was head of real estate at KWM in Paris.

Paul Hastings chair Seth Zachary said: ‘His reputation with clients in the real estate and private equity funds sectors mirrors our own strengths in our European and global offices.’

Fieldfisher has appointed Thomas Lenné as a partner in its Brussels office. Lenné joins from Baker & McKenzie, bringing 11 years of experience in the private equity, construction, aviation, banking energy and TMT sectors.

A&O has announced the appointment of David Shen to its international Intellectual Property (IP) practice. He joins from AstraZeneca where he has held the role of general counsel for China. Shen, who will join A&O’s China practice, has a comprehensive background in patent litigation and regulatory and compliance issues related to the life sciences sector.

Weightmans has hired Helen Brown as partner for the firm’s local government team in Leeds, joining from Langleys. Brown was Langley’s deputy head of insurance law and head of the public sector unit.

Mitchell Holzrichter has re-joined Mayer Brown, being appointed as a partner in the government practice and global infrastructure group in Chicago. Holzrichter’s reunion with the firm comes after a tenure as deputy chief of staff for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner’s office. He had worked at Mayer Brown in the past, from 2008 to early 2015.

In in-house news, Airbnb has hired Fiona Dormandy as general counsel (GC) for the EMEA region. Dormandy who departed Betfair in March 2016, replaces former GC Aoife McArdle, who is director of business.