Legal Business

‘Greater than the sum of its parts’: Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth agree merger

‘Greater than the sum of its parts’: Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth agree merger

US players Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon have given the green light to a merger that will create a 1,000 lawyer firm with 15 American offices.

Announced yesterday (21 Feb) the partnerships of both firms have approved the combination, with the merged entity Hunton Andrews Kurth coming into operation on 2 April.

It is a logical union for two firms boasting enviable energy practices, although the new firm will also have strengths in capital markets, financial services and commercial litigation.

Hunton Andrews Kurth will comprise 300 lawyers across four Texas offices, 200 lawyers in Richmond and 150 lawyers each in New York and Washington. Both New York firm Hunton & Williams and Texas-based Andrews Kurth Kenyon have London offices, consisting of eight and five partners respectively.

According to figures from The American Lawyer, the merger will create a firm with revenues clearing $750m. Based on last year’s Global 100 survey conducted by Legal Business, that revenue figure would place Hunton Andrews Kurth at 54 in the ranking, ahead of Slaughter and May.

Hunton & Williams has the edge over Andrews Kurth in terms of financial muscle and headcount, posting 2016/17 revenues of $541m and possessing 661 lawyers. Revenue for 2016/17 at Andrews Kurth fell considerably shy of that figure at $289m with lawyer headcount also lower at 327.

Hunton & Williams’ managing partner Wally Martinez said the new firm would be a ‘powerhouse’ in Texas and highlighted how the firms’ practices complimented each other.

Robert Jewell, managing partner of Andrews Kurth Kenyon added: ‘Hunton Andrews Kurth brings together the history, reputation, experience and resources of the legacy firms to create a law firm that is greater than the sum of its parts.’

Martinez will act as managing partner of the merged firm with Jewell serving as managing partner emeritus. The executive committee of the combined outfit will consist of five Andrews Kurth Kenyon partners and nine Hunton & Williams partners.

The combination marks the first major merger between two US firms for over a year. Litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan confirmed it was in merger talks with Washington DC disputes shop Williams & Connolly last summer, but a deal failed to materialise.

The last significant US-only tie-up was between Kaye Scholer and Arnold & Porter, announced in November 2016. The new $1bn firm was originally named Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, but has since dropped Kaye Scholer from the branding.

Legal Business

American dream: Addleshaws eyes US play with Hunton & Williams merger talks


After failing to secure further consolidation in the UK recently, Addleshaw Goddard has turned to the US for a potential merger partner to achieve its aim of becoming a £250m-lawyer firm, and is believed to be in talks with Virginia-based Hunton & Williams.

According to the latest AmLaw 100, Hunton & Williams has 696 lawyers and 167 equity partners across 19 offices in the US, Europe and Asia. In 2015 it posted gross revenue of $528m, a 7% drop on 2014.

By contrast Addleshaw Goddard posted double digit revenue growth of 12%, up from £171m in 2013/14 to £193m for the financial year 2014/15. The turnover rise took revenue to its highest level since 2007/08 and just shy in nominal terms of the £195m it achieved then.

The firm, which recently elected a new senior partner Charles Penney, had until February this year been in talks with Maclay Murray & Spens to create a national practice with combined revenues of around £230m.

The firm has been clear that it wants to make £250m in fee income by the financial year 2017/18, which a takeover would help achieve.

In a statement that mirrors the one made when news broke of the merger talks with Maclays, Addleshaw Goddard said: ‘We’ve said before that we will never comment on speculation about mergers and that remains our position so we have nothing to say. Increasing our scale and coverage is something we constantly consider, and we’re always talking to individuals, teams and firms on a regular basis about a lot of things.’

For more on Addleshaws’ strategy and its impact see: ‘Last orders – Addleshaws gets behind its new leader, but can it regain its form?’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Clydes and Hunton & Williams make local hires while Squire Patton Boggs brings a team into its Paris office


Last week saw Clyde & Co expand its employment and personal injury practices with hires from DWF and Hill Dickinson, while Hunton & Williams grew its City energy and infrastructure practice. In Paris, Squire Patton Boggs expanded its international disputes practice with a double partner hire as well as a team of associates.

In the insurance space, Clyde & Co expanded its employment and personal injury team in Manchester. The firm recruited personal injury partner Jason Bleasdale from Hill Dickinson where he led the casualty litigation and disease claims team, in a bid to broaden the firm’s offering to personal injury clients. Bleasdale brings with him over 20 years’ experience in defending employer’s liability and disease claims, and is ranked as a leading individual in The Legal 500 for his expertise in industrial disease, professional disciplinary, and regulatory and environmental cases.

Bleasdale trained at Hill Dickinson, qualifying in 1993, becoming partner in 1998 and an equity member 2001. He said: ‘Disease is increasingly complex area of law so legal teams in this area and related fields need to have real depth and technical experience to meet clients’ needs.’

Clydes also hired Mark Hammerton, who joins from DWF, to develop its north-west practice and work closely with the firm’s City partners to advise large national and regional employers. Hammerton leaves DWF’s employment practice after nearly three years having previously been a partner at Eversheds. He specialises in TUPE, HR aspects of outsourcing/insourcing and M&A.

In London, Hunton & Williams has grown its energy and infrastructure practice with the hire of finance partner Stuart Hills from Fasken Martineau. Hills will focus on banking and finance, primarily project finance and acquisition finance, across Africa and Eastern Europe.

He has worked at Fasken Martineau for the past five years, before which he was partner at US firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges from 2008 to 2010, and O’Melveny & Myers from 2004 to 2008. Prior to this, he worked at Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for eleven years after qualifying in 1995. Hills has advised oil and gas, mining and metal, and publicly listed companies across issues covering acquisitions, developments, company sales and financing projects.

Hills joins fellow project finance partner Andrew Thomas – also from Fasken Martineau – who joined Hunton & Williams in October 2014. He said: ‘I am really pleased to join such a successful and well-respected team at Hunton & Williams. The energy and infrastructure sector in Africa and Eastern Europe is growing rapidly providing lots of opportunities.’

London energy partner, Ryan Ketchum, added: ‘As foreign-sourced private sector investments into Africa approach the $100bn per year mark, an ever-increasing number of companies are recognising the significance of the investment opportunities in these markets. Stuart’s extensive experience in debt and equity finance in West Africa and other emerging markets makes him a perfect fit for the team.’

Over in Paris, Squire Patton Boggs expanded its international disputes practice with a double partner hire. Partners Carole Sportes and Valérie Ravit join the firm along with three associates.

Litigator Sportes has particular expertise in insurance, product liability – particularly pharmaceuticals – and transport including aviation. She returns to Squire Patton Boggs’ Paris office where she was formerly an associate. Ravit has experience in insurance, re-insurance, industrial risks and environmental litigation. She also has advised in international arbitration, particularly in the field of re-insurance.

The arrival of Sportes and Ravit takes the total number of lawyers based in the Paris office to 40, 12 of which are partners. In the past year, Squire Patton Boggs has added 30 lawyers to its international disputes practice, following Ben Holland, who joined from Covington & Burling in October 2014.

Christopher Wilde, office managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs in Paris, said: ‘We are excited to see Carole return and to welcome Valérie and these highly-experienced associates to the firm. Their arrival significantly boosts our depth of resource and know-how from a dispute resolution perspective in Paris and also offers significant synergies across the firm globally, in key industry sectors such as insurance, pharmaceuticals and aviation.’

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Linklaters makes a strategic hire in Europe, Hunton & Williams expands in the City while the LSB appoints a new chief


Last week saw Linklaters make a key hire from DLA Piper in Frankfurt as it sought to expand its cross-border litigation offering, Bird & Bird increase its offering in Sweden while Hunton & Williams did the same in the City developing its energy and natural resources team. Also in the UK, the Legal Services Board (LSB) appointed a new head, Richard Moriarty.

Linklaters hired DLA Piper’s German patent litigation chief Julia Schönbohm as partner in its dispute resolution division in Frankfurt. She established DLA’s German patent litigation practice having joined the firm in January 2008, and been counsel at Clifford Chance for five years before that.

She has experience in cross-border patent infringement matters, technology matters, and trademark and competition law transactions. Rupert Bellinghausen, head of Linklaters German dispute resolution practice, said: ‘As we are expanding, our objective is to represent our clients in any significant cross-border court, arbitration and mediation proceeding. We are now also able to do so, in patent litigation matters in Germany – an internationally important place of jurisdiction. This fits our global strategy perfectly.’

Also on the continent, Bird & Bird‘s Swedish offering was bolstered as Johanna Olsson is set to return to the firm’s Stockholm office in January, after a one year stint as general counsel (GC) at Grontmij, an engineering company. Prior to working at Grontmij, Olsson spent six and half years working as an associate in Bird & Bird’s Stockholm office. Before this, she was GC at the real estate developer Vasallen for nearly five years. The firm also made up Catharina Baerselman who heads the Public Procurement Group in Stockholm.

Meanwhile, in London, Hunton & Williams has expanded its energy and infrastructure practice with the hire of Fasken Martineau project finance partner Andrew Thomas. He helped develop an energy and natural resources-focused international finance practice at the Canadian firm after joining from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher where he had been a partner for 10 years. Key deals he has worked on include Star Petroleum’s $2bn oil refinery in Thailand, and GTB Gas TransBolivianos’ investment in the $2.15bn Bolivia to Brazil natural gas pipeline.

Bridget Treacy, Hunton & Williams’ London office managing partner said: ‘We see Andrew as a key figure in the growth of our global energy practice area, an industry in which we already have a significant presence. We are delighted to have him join us.’

Also in the UK, the LSB appointed Richard Moriarty as its new chief executive to start in early 2015. In the interim Julie Myers, the LSB’s corporate director, will take on the chief executive’s accounting officer responsibilities while strategy director Caroline Wallace will lead on the CEO’s regulatory duties.

He joins from Affinity Water where he was director of regulation, and brings with him a combination of public and private sector experience across regulation for both providers and consumers. Before Affinity Water, he was deputy chair at HCA Regulation Committee for around a year and a half, and was director of economic regulation and competition policy at Civil Aviation Authority for three years.