Legal Business

HFW, Fieldfisher post double-digit revenue hikes as results season gets off to strong start

HFW has posted double-digit growth to break through the £250m revenue mark for the first time, with all key metrics rising as the firm sticks to its sector-focused strategy.

The firm boosted revenue by more than 11% during 2023-24 to hit £251m –  only a touch slower than the 13% growth that took it to £225.3m last year.

Net profit was up almost 17% to £75.4m, with PEP up more than 8% and PPL up over 6% to £855,000 and £139,000 respectively. RPL was also up, hitting £462,000.

The results underline a strong five-year performance, with revenue up more than 40% on 2019 and PEP up 78% over the same period.

The firm attributed the performance to its concentrated focus on its key areas of shipping, aviation, commodities, construction, energy, and insurance.

‘We’re pleased with the continued progress of the firm, particularly in the last couple of years’, managing partner Jeremy Shebson (pictured above) told LB. ‘We’re especially proud of the fact that we’re making positive inroads in our key sectors.’

Shebson was reluctant to set hard targets for revenue – though he did express an ambition to post ‘revenues with a three in front before too long’. He continued: ‘The first psychological barrier we had to break through to give the firm confidence in itself was to get over £200m in revenue. We did that a few years ago, and we’re very happy now to be over £250m.’

Almost 60% of the firm’s total revenue was generated outside of the UK, with over half of the firm’s offices achieving double-digit percentage increases in revenue in the last financial year. Australia notched the biggest rise, with turnover up by a third to cap off a ten-year streak of growth in the country. Middle East revenue, meanwhile, grew by 23%.

‘We see major opportunities for continued growth in continental Europe and the Middle East’, said senior partner Giles Kavanagh. ‘We have strong offices in both regions and we’re seeking to further join things up as a real regional offering to clients.’

China, too, is an area of focus for HFW: the firm opened an office in Shenzhen in July, becoming one of few firms to actively increase its presence in the country at a time when many US firms are pulling out. Kavanagh commented: ‘We celebrated 45 years in Hong Kong last year. Geopolitics are what they are, and things change over time, but we have strong embedded relationships in China. We see opportunities there – as others are retreating, we’re consolidating our position.’

Meanwhile, contentious work again made up around 70% of the firm’s total turnover, with the firm pointing to its January hire of an eight-lawyer team in Melbourne led by litigation funding specialist Maurice Thompson, as well as its April hire of Eversheds Sutherland international arbitration partners Julien Fouret and Gaëlle Le Quillec in Paris as key signs of growth in this area. These hires were among 23 partners brought into the firm over the last year, including four in London and seven in Australia.

HFW is bullish on expansion, if reluctant to express an explicit desire to merge. ‘We remain open to opportunity’, said Kavanagh, and both he and Shebson stressed the importance of culture – to individual and team hires as much as to any larger combinations.

In a statement, Shebson added a clear statement of intent: ‘Our intention now is to ramp things up and aggressively target partners, teams, and even bolt-on acquisitions that align with our strategy and culture. If you have a leading practice in one of our core sectors, anywhere in the world, and want to join a true partnership that operates as one firm globally, come and talk to us.’

Elsewhere, Fieldfisher has also posted a double-digit revenue hike to £359m  for the 11 months from 30 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 – a 10% increase on the corresponding 11-month period for the previous year.

The firm truncated its financial year to align with changes to HMRC’s basis period that require all self-employed individuals and partnerships be taxed on the basis of the tax year rather than that of their own financial year-end.

PEP rose £966,000, up 4% from the previous financial year.

Geographically, the firm saw a 14% revenue growth in its London office, a 14% rise in Manchester, and a 16% revenue increase in Birmingham. In Europe, significant developments included a 20% growth in the German office, now the firm’s fastest-growing international operation with offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Munich.

Fieldfisher’s European strategy also saw the relaunch of its Italian operation in April. Fieldfisher Italy has expanded to 32 professionals in its Milan and Bologna offices, reinforcing the firm’s investments in key locations.

In terms of practice areas, regulatory experienced the largest revenue increase at 36%. Key achievements include representing Euronet in a competition law claim against Mastercard and Visa, and providing regulatory and compliance support to Peloton. Dispute resolution saw a 17% increase in revenue, while the personal injury and medical negligence team achieved a 15% revenue increase. Additionally, financial markets and products grew by 14% and corporate by 10%.

Managing Partner Robert Shooter commented on the results: This has been a year of significant progress, with our strategy focused on European expansion, collaboration and ESG gaining a real momentum. All our teams delivered outstanding results, despite challenging market conditions. We also continued to expand and strengthen our international footprint, increasing our presence in key markets.’

Key hires over the year included the addition of an eight-strong litigation team from Constantine Cannon, led by partners Richard Pike and Stephen Critchley.

Meanwhile, the firm’s alternative legal services offering continued to grow, with Fieldfisher Condor achieving a 17% revenue increase and Fieldfisher X generating £3m in revenue.

Legal Business

Financials 2022/23: HFW posts best-ever results

HFW has posted its best-ever financial results for the financial year 2022/23. After a slight dip of 1% to £198.7m in 2022, revenue climbed by more than 13% to £225.3m. Profit per equity partner and revenue per lawyer were up too: PEP rose by more than 17% to £786,000, while RPL hit £455,000.

In London revenue increased by 16%, accounting for about 40% of the firm’s total revenue. The most impressive increases around the world, meanwhile, were in the Middle East (32%) and Australia (24%).

Last year aside, these figures continue a strong upward trajectory for HFW, which has seen the firm grow its RPL almost 25% in four years, and its revenue more than 60% since 2015.

In conversation with Legal Business, the firm explained its success as the result of a strategy focused on broadening its international coverage and extending its offering in its core sectors of aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, and shipping.

‘We’ve built up a good network’, said managing partner Jeremy Shebson (pictured). ‘We were building foundations, and now we’re looking to build on top of them.’

Senior partner Giles Kavanagh concurred. ‘We have a network of 20 offices around the world. The focus now is to build on the network, not to extend it further.’

That said, Kavanagh noted that the firm was not opposed to expanding into new areas ‘where there are good opportunities’. On this front, HFW recently received permission from China’s ministry of justice to open a representative office in Shenzhen. ‘It’s a very big commercial area’, explained Shebson. ‘The numbers are eye-watering, and the opportunities are considerable.’

In addition to the firm’s sector-focused international strategy, Shebson noted the importance of HFW’s strength in contentious work as a factor behind its continued growth in what he called a ‘difficult economic environment’. Results for 2023 showed the proportion of revenue generated by contentious matters held steady at around 70%.

Moving forwards, HFW intends to double down on its existing strengths. In Kavanagh’s words: ‘We are looking to attract laterals, teams, smaller law firms, and even something more ambitious than that.’

This approach has paid dividends over the last year: the firm reports ten lateral partner hires in 2022, and a further six in the first two months of this year.

As for that something more ambitious, Kavanagh was candid. ‘We’re open to discussions, not just with bolt-ons, but with larger-scale firms.’

Legal Business

Leadership round-up: Shebson wins second term at HFW as Norton Rose Fulbright names new global chair

HFW has re-elected managing partner Jeremy Shebson for a second four-year term, effective 1 April 2023.

Shebson, who was originally elected in 2019 to replace the veteran Marcus Bowman, will continue to work alongside HFW’s senior partner Giles Kavanagh, who succeeded veteran Richard Crump this year.

Shebson (pictured), who ran unopposed, said: ‘This is an exciting time for HFW – having invested significantly in expanding internationally and broadening our practices, we now have outstanding lawyers and business services professionals across five continents, and we are seeing that clients increasingly value the fact that, as a sector-focused law firm, we understand their business and their industry, as well as the law.

‘We are now seeking to really ramp things up across our sectors, services, and global network, and will continue to actively target partners, teams and bolt-ons that align with our strategy and that can deliver sustainable, profitable growth.’

During the year, HFW launched a new office in the British Virgin Islands via the acquisition of a disputes business and welcomed 17 new partners and directors across the firm.

In the firm’s last set of financial results, where revenue and PEP dipped 1% each, Shebson revealed he wanted to ‘spread our revenue out internationally’. According to HFW, total international revenue has increased by 75% since 2015.

Kavanagh added: ‘In his first term Jeremy has driven profitability, professionalism, and a collegiate culture at all levels and locations in the firm. His achievements enable us now to embark upon a period of sustained and significant growth. I am looking forward to continuing to work with him to drive the firm forward.’

Elsewhere, Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has appointed Australian chair Scott Atkins as its new global chair, effective 1 January 2023.

NRF’s global chair is appointed on an annual basis, and as such Atkins will be replacing the incumbent Farmida Bi, who will stay on as the firm’s EMEA chair.

Atkins will retain his Australian chair role, as well as his responsibilities as global co-head of NRF’s restructuring division and head of risk advisory for Australia.

Gerry Pecht, NRF’s chief executive, commented: ‘Scott is a true firm citizen who never stops prioritising what is best for our clients and our people. His impressive history of leadership roles and experience advising business and governments on international matters will be a tremendous support to our global leadership team.’

Atkins concluded: ‘I am honored and humbled to serve in this global role. My focus will be to support the firm’s leadership to implement our strategy; support our clients as they pursue new frontiers, such as the burgeoning commercial space industry; and above all, to continue to deliver our exceptional standards of client service. Norton Rose Fulbright has tremendous potential leading into 2023, and I look forward to helping the firm seize market opportunities for the benefit of our clients.’

Legal Business

HFW bids for dominance in UAE shipping sector with double Clyde partner hire

In a significant move for the Middle Eastern shipping market, sector specialist HFW has hired partners Robert Lawrence and Ian Chung from rival Clyde & Co in Dubai to strengthen its grip in the region.

Lawrence and Chung are doyens of the shipping sector in the United Arab Emirates, ranked as ‘leading individuals’ in The Legal 500’s Dubai shipping category. Significantly, the pair constituted a large chunk of Clyde’s shipping practice in the region, leaving them with partner David Leckie (who relocated from London to Dubai in May) and legal director Len Soudagar.

As such, HFW has significantly weakened a tier one-ranked rival and consolidated its position at the top of the UAE market.

HFW now has five of the 11 lawyers rated as leading individuals by The Legal 500, with the others being UAE managing partner Yaman Al Hawamdeh and partners Richard Strub and Tien Tai.

Lawrence and Chung have over 30 years’ combined experience in the Middle East. Lawrence is a disputes lawyer with a particular focus on the marine and offshore industries, while Chung is a transactional lawyer specialising in the marine and transportation sectors.

For Chung, it is a return to HFW, having been a partner at the firm until 2017 when he left for Clyde.

Al Hawamdeh (pictured) spoke to Legal Business of HFW’s lofty ambitions in the UAE: ‘By welcoming two of the region’s top maritime and offshore experts to our already preeminent team, HFW is now the clear market-leader for all types of shipping matters, including disputes and transactions.

‘This is just the start of our plans to significantly expand our offering in the Middle East – not just in shipping, but across all of our sectors, including aviation, commodities, construction, energy, and insurance. We are actively seeking partners and teams practicing in those sectors, with a view to establishing HFW as the number one sector-focused law firm in the Middle East.’

Lawrence added: ‘As a shipping disputes lawyer, there is simply no finer place to practise than HFW. The size, expertise and client base of the firm’s global shipping group is unrivalled – it really is the gold standard for advice to the industry. HFW has also consistently demonstrated its long-term commitment to the Middle East – which is incredibly important to local clients – as well as a willingness to invest in bold moves.’

Legal Business

HFW records slipping profits and revenue as it grapples with Covid recovery

HFW attributed a 1% dip in revenue from £200m to £198.7m to a ‘prudent’ reduction in lawyer headcount during the pandemic, while profit per equity partner (PEP) also slipped.

PEP was down 2% from last year’s record high of £683,000 to £669,000, which the firm chalked up to the drying up of pandemic-era cost savings: ‘HFW saw exceptional cost savings during the pandemic. These cost savings diminished during FY22 as countries across the firm’s global network began to return to normality.’ Equity partner levels are understood to have remained broadly flat on last year.

HFW said that in addition to pandemic-enforced lawyer headcount cuts (the firm said average lawyer headcount was down 2% from 2021), ‘a strengthening of the British Pound’ impacted the firm’s revenue by 3%. The firm claims that without this, revenue would have increased 2% to £204.9m – 60% of HFW’s total turnover is generated outside the UK, up from 35% a decade ago.

Managing partner Jeremy Shebson [pictured] told Legal Business: ‘It was a concerted aim of the partnership to spread our revenue out internationally. Giles [Kavanagh, senior partner] and I were part of a sector in aerospace that became a key player in growing the international side of the firm. Likewise, our other key sectors require us to be global in nature.

‘Nevertheless, it is quite important to us that we see ourselves as one firm. And it was very important to [former senior partner] Richard Crump, who oversaw a shift in international billings from 30% of the firm to 60% in a decade.’

Shebson added: ‘In 2021 we really did experience exceptional savings, and managed the business very carefully. Since then our people have started moving around the network much more, and we’ve revamped our IT system, while also starting to make other investments.’

Despite this year’s muted results, HFW is broadly on an upward trajectory: both revenue and PEP have grown by more than 40% since 2015.

Fortunes were better at Clyde & Co where revenues grew 3% from £639.6m to £650m on a constant currency basis, and 2% in pounds sterling.

Profit increased by 4% from £153.3m to £159m, although PEP was marginally down from £715,000 to £708,000. Clyde pointed to an inflated number of equity partners in the last year to explain the PEP drop, as partnership numbers swelled thanks to 21 lateral hires and 23 internal promotions.

Partner numbers will be further expanded in the next financial year, as Clyde’s merger with insurance firm BLM went live in July. The combination is set to produce a £740m firm, with 2,600 lawyers and 480 partners worldwide.

Clyde has been particularly expansive in recent times – last year the firm opened offices in Chile, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver in the US as well as an office in Canada via a tie-up with SHK Law Corporation. This has translated into a global shift in revenue sources: last year over half (56%) of the firm’s revenue was generated outside the UK, with North America now contributing 22% of firm-wide turnover.

The long-term view for the firm is favourable: in the last decade, revenues at Clyde have more than doubled, while PEP has gone up 29% despite a 90% boost in partner headcount.

Clyde chief executive Matthew Kelsall said: ‘We are a firm that is ambitious and bold in our approach to growth, which the merger with BLM underlines. Looking forward we are focussed on further strategic expansion, investment in technology and our people, as well as a renewed focus on legal delivery and innovation.’

Legal Business

HFW ushers in new era as Crump ends 15-year senior partner reign

HFW has announced that global aviation head Giles Kavanagh has been elected as its new senior partner, ending stalwart Richard Crump’s 15-year tenure.

Kavanagh (pictured), who already has significant experience from being a member of HFW’s management board, will officially take over on 1 April 2022. It will mark the end of Crump’s fifth consecutive term as senior partner.

Kavanagh has significant pedigree at the firm, joining in 2011 when HFW hired the entire aviation practice of Barlow, Lyde & Gilbert (now Clyde &Co), a practice he led. He then headed HFW’s aerospace practice, which since 2011 has increased revenues by 250% and grown from 27 lawyers in four countries to 80 lawyers in ten countries.

As senior partner, Kavanagh will be tasked with working in tandem with managing partner Jeremy Shebson to expand the 1,000-lawyer firm across America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. He will also continue to be HFW’s point man for its sustainability strategy, having been appointed as the firm’s sustainability partner in April 2021.

Kavanagh said: ‘We are all grateful for Richard’s significant contribution as senior partner over the past 15 years. During that time, HFW has changed significantly, branching out from our roots as a shipping firm to establish a multi-sector focus that sets us apart in a crowded legal market, and building an international network that enables us to help our clients in key markets around the world. This included bringing the aerospace team to the firm, which I have been proud to lead and develop.

‘I am looking forward to working with Jeremy and the board to continue to strengthen and grow our business – across all of our sectors, services and offices – and to make sure that we continue to meet the changing needs of our clients in order to provide them with the best possible service.

‘The legal market is more competitive than ever, but I passionately believe that, working with our clients and the talent we’re fortunate to have at the firm, we can together build a bold, bright future for HFW.’

Shebson, who was elected alongside Crump in 2019, also hailed his influence on the firm: ‘On behalf of the board, the partnership and everyone at HFW, I’d like to thank Richard for his immense contribution to the firm as senior partner over the past 15 years.’

On Kavanagh, Shebson said: ‘I’ve known Giles for a long time, and I know he will prioritise communication and teamwork. Giles is extremely capable and will put our people and our clients first. He will want to develop the significant opportunities we have at HFW. I look forward to working with him.’

In 2018, Crump sat down with Legal Business and detailed his love of cars, Chelsea FC and Gordon’s gin (£)

Legal Business

Financials 2020/21: HFW breaks £200m revenue barrier as profits soar by 30%

HFW has continued to perform resiliently in the face of the pandemic, today (9 August) posting a 3% rise in revenue to £200m and a striking 30% increase in profit per equity partner to £683,000.

There were healthy increases across the board: net profit shot up more than 26% to £59.7m, profit per lawyer was up by 30% to £123,000 and revenue per lawyer grew 6% to £413,000.

The firm attributed the positive results to a spike in client demand across its specialist sectors, namely: aerospace, commodities, construction, energy and resources, insurance and shipping.

Asked by Legal Business if the firm’s profit hike was a reflection of reduced costs as a result of the pandemic, HFW managing partner Jeremy Shebson said: ‘We certainly saw an overall reduction in costs last year – particularly in relation to international travel, practice development and overheads – which obviously had a positive impact on our profit. But we’ve also seen the benefits of an increased focus on resource management and making sure that we are operating efficiently and effectively as a global firm.’

HFW has established an effective hedge that makes it resistant to global uncertainty –  revenue is heavily diversified, with over 60% of the firm’s income generated from outside the UK. There were some eye-catching international performances too – HFW’s Kuwait office grew 40%, Abu Dhabi was up 38%, Geneva was up 24% and Shanghai expanded by 18%. London, meanwhile, saw revenue increase by 7%.

The firm also benefited from its contentious practice bias, with 70% of the business underpinned by disputes matters.

Richard Crump, HFW senior partner (pictured), concluded: ‘Becoming a £200m business is a major milestone in our continued growth as a firm, and to have recorded what is our best ever year under such extraordinarily challenging circumstances is a real testament to the talent and dedication of the people we are fortunate to have at all levels across HFW.’

In other results, at the end of July fellow insurance specialist Clyde & Co unveiled a similarly solid set of financials. Revenue at the firm grew 2% to £639.6m, while both overall profits and PEP grew by roughly 8% each to £153.5m and £715,000 respectively.

Legal Business

HFW bounces back with profit and turnover growth in a strong 2019/20

HFW produced a strong showing over the last financial year, its latest financial results reveal, with profits rebounding and revenues up after a muted performance in 2018/19.

Profits were up to £47.3m this year after dipping 9% to £43.3m the previous year, while profit per equity partner recovered 11% to £526,000 following a 11% deficit in the 2018/19 results. Revenue, meanwhile, also grew: up 9% to £195.2m, while revenue per lawyer rose 7% to £389,000. 

The engine rooms of the firm’s growth were its global construction group, which increased revenues almost 20%; its aerospace group, which increased output 13%; and its shipping group, which contributed with a 12% rise in output. The recovery from last year’s showing means the firm has grown revenue by over 40% in the last five years, while approximately two-thirds of the firm’s turnover is now generated outside the UK. The firm’s Abu Dhabi, Brussels, Geneva, Houston, Kuwait City, Piraeus, Riyadh and Singapore offices were among those to up revenues by over 15%.

The firm will hope the latest results are a sign of return on investment, with HFW expanding considerably in recent years. Since 2016, the firm has added 11 international offices and since 2018 the firm has hired 20 partners globally, with London, Paris and Hong Kong among the recent beneficiaries.

Despite the standout year, managing partner Jeremy Shebson (pictured) is cautious of what lies ahead: ‘Things have obviously changed significantly over the past six months. We have been very proud at how quickly and well the firm adapted to the challenges of Covid-19, but we are anticipating a more challenging period.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Simmons and CMS make City banking and pensions hires as Gibson Dunn bolsters its Paris bench

In another muted patch for City laterals, Simmons & Simmons and CMS were the only firms to hire in London last week as Gibson Dunn & Crutcher recruited to its employment bench and HFW hired in Hong Kong.

Simmons has added to its international banking practice with the hire of Kirsty Barnes, Gowling WLG’s head of banking and finance in the UK.

With 20 years’ experience in the financial markets sectors Barnes has experience in leveraged and acquisition finance, real estate finance and corporate lending transactions.

Head of Simmons’ banking group Peter Manning told Legal Business: ‘Kirsty has done work for Barclays, Lloyds and RBS. She does work for a couple of private equity style funds and has done some leveraged finance work. All of those were really important for us. We thought she would be a good personality and cultural fit for us.

‘She’s very keen to move the practice forward and shares our vision on what that means. We remain committed to doing work for the traditional clearing banks as well as credit funds and the alternative lenders. We’re very much committed to changing the way we deliver our services,’ Manning added.

Meanwhile, CMS has hired pensions partner Tim Green from DWF where he was the national head of its pensions teams.

Green advises trustees, sponsors, government bodies and providers in all aspects of pensions law with particular expertise in retail, energy, nuclear, transport, public and charitable sectors.

Head of pensions at CMS Mark Grant told Legal Business: ‘Tim’s got a great track record of building a practice. We’re in growth mode and this is part of our national growth story. We’ve grown by 30% in pensions in the last two years and this is a continuation of that.’

Elsewhere, Gibson Dunn has hired Ashurst’s Paris former employment head Nataline Fleury to back its European strategy.

Fleury has a particular focus on employment law issues affecting restructuring transactions, acquisitions and disposals. Fleury will be joined by associates Claire-Marie Hincelin and Charline Cosmao, also from Ashurst.

Chairman and managing partner Ken Doran commented: ‘Nataline has strong credentials and is very well regarded in the legal and business communities.  We know her well as we have partnered with her on several client matters over the past year.  She is the perfect person to lead our effort to add a labour and employment capability to our thriving Paris office.’

Finally, HFW has hired senior corporate finance partner Wing Cheung in Hong Kong. He has defected from Locke Lord where he was the Hong Kong managing partner.

Cheung specialises in capital markets, M&A, private equity and other transactional work. He advises clients on corporate and commercial matters, including initial public offerings and M&A and has experience in regulatory enforcement and compliance.

Cheung’s hire is part of HFW’s expansion of its global corporate and finance practices. Earlier this year the firm launched a transactional practice in China and made hires including lateral hires in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hong Kong office head Patrick Yeung said: ‘This is a major boost to our transactional offering in Greater China and the wider region. Wing brings a wealth of experience of high-end corporate finance, and has an outstanding reputation for his technical expertise and exceptional client service.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Former Quinn white collar head sets up City boutique as Shearman and HFW make Paris corporate plays

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s former white-collar crime and corporate investigations head in London Robert Amaee has launched a boutique – Amaee Law – in what has been a muted week for City laterals.

Elsewhere, firms have bolstered their European offices with Shearman & Sterling and HFW hiring corporate partners in Paris and Watson Farley & Williams adding to its employment bench in Munich.

Amaee’s firm specialises in financial crime, government enforcement, international investigations and compliance. It advises on UK financial crime law for companies, senior executives and high net worth individuals on fraud, bribery and money laundering as well as on internal investigations.

Amaee also previously served as head of anti-corruption, proceeds of crime and international assistance at the Serious Fraud Office.

Meanwhile, Shearman has hired M&A partner Thomas Philippe to its corporate team in Paris. Philippe, who joins from US rival Mayer Brown, specialises in private equity, advising financial sponsors on their investments and leveraged buyouts.

Philippe told Legal Business: ‘The firm has already created strong capabilities in private equity in other offices like London, Italy, German, the US and the Middle East. The idea was to complement this with a private equity specialist in Paris to be able to develop the network. I’ll be able to bring my expertise and client portfolio to boost and enhance the Paris activity and the relationship with the other private equity professionals across the network.

Philippe pointed to a growing private equity market in Paris and the emergence of new players as key trends. ‘There are a lot of deals on the Paris market and the higher the value is, the more competition there is. You don’t have that many attractive targets for large value deals, so that makes the competition more intense than the small-cap market,’ he added.

Also in Paris, HFW grew its global transactional offering with the hire of former Paul Hastings corporate partner Aline Poncelet. With 25 years’ experience, Poncelet advises on French corporate, M&A and capital markets, share issues, takeover bids, financial services and corporate governance. She acts for listed and private corporations, insurance companies, financial institutions, fintech and investment funds. She will work closely with HFW’s Paris finance team, including partners Diane de Mouy, Jean-Marc Zampa and Richard Jadot.

HFW said that the hire of Poncelet, the second transactional partner acquisition in the last two weeks after aviation finance lawyer Asheesh Das from Elix Aviation Capital, is part of a broader push in its corporate and finance practices.

HFW Paris office head Guillaume Brajeux told Legal Business: ‘Aline’s extensive experience advising and representing clients in complex M&A and corporate matters is a perfect complement to our existing practices. The strengthening of our transactional offer has been a priority for our Paris office, and Aline’s arrival is an important contribution to its development.’

In Munich, Watson Farley & Williams appointed employment partner Philipp Byers from Lutz Abel where he was head of the employment law practice group, advising on workplace privacy and employment law compliance issues. He brings with him two associates.

Byers said: ‘With its highly-regarded German employment law team and international focus, WFW represents a superb platform from which I can both improve the service I offer my existing clients and expand my practice. I greatly look forward to working closely with all my new colleagues, especially employment partners Nikolaus Krienke and Andreas Wiegreffe.’