Legal Business

US lateral spree: Jones Day closes in on 50 hires for 2013 as King & Spalding continues to crank up City offering


In its 49th lateral hire of 2013, Jones Day has hired Latham & Watkins finance partner Brian Conway to its London banking and finance practice. His hire comes amid a spate of lateral hires to take place between US-based international firms recently.

Conway is the tenth partner to join one of the firm’s global banking and finance practices this year, following the hire of former co-chair of Miami-based firm Akerman Senterfitt’s Rafael Aguilar who joined Jones Day’s recently launched Miami banking and finance practice in July.

More recently, Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) corporate finance partner and global head of private equity Raymond McKeeve left to join the private equity practice in London last month.

Conway’s appointment comes as the firm continues to strengthen its banking and finance practices worldwide with an increased focus on leveraged acquisitions across European jurisdictions.

Conway has 20 years’ experience of representing financial institutions on domestic and international cross-border financing transactions, including leveraged and Islamic finance.

Before Latham, he spent 13 years at White & Case, where he was a partner and helped build the firm’s banking and finance practice in Singapore and establish the leveraged finance practice in Asia.

Jones Day London head John Phillips said: ‘Brian will prove to be a significant boost to our finance capability in London. He is highly experienced in leveraged acquisition finance, which will be beneficial to our global clients as they look to execute deals in Europe’s largest financial hub. The City is a magnet for major multi-jurisdictional financial transactions and Brian has taken a lead role in some of the most significant leveraged financings led out of London over the past decade.’

Meanwhile, King & Spalding‘s lateral hiring programme in the City continues with the addition of Mayer Brown finance partner Angela Hayes to launch its London financial services regulatory practice. The hire is the seventh in a series of partner additions to the London office since the beginning of 2012, bringing the current number of partners to 16. Hayes was head of LG’s financial services regulatory group before joining Mayer Brown in 2008.

Most recently, King & Spalding recruited Egishe Dzhazoyan from Steptoe & Johnson in June, where he was a dispute resolution partner in London and co-head of the Russia and CIS group. He joined former Steptoe colleague Tom Sprange, as well as Jane Player and Sarah Walker, who joined from Bird & Bird last year.

Financial services regulatory becomes the firm’s second City practice launch this year after the firm opened its London trade practice in May with the hire of Bird & Bird’s head of international trade and customs, Iain MacVay. At the time, King & Spalding told Legal Business its ambition was to double its City base to around 60-75 fee earners by the end of 2014.

King & Spalding’s financial institutions practice co-leader Richard Marooney said: ‘Angela is a strong addition to our financial institutions practice. She expands our roster of finance partners who provide highly sophisticated work for our clients. Financial services regulatory law is a highly complex area of the law—made even more so with the enactment of the Financial Services Act 2012 and creation of the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority—and we are fortunate to have Angela join us.’

‘It is now the time for us to invest in a financial regulatory practice,’ said London co-managing partner Garry Pegg. ‘Regulatory work was once looked upon as a loss leader for global firms like us, but now in tougher economic climates, with financial institutions having been through highly visible public turmoil, the work has assumed a new and critical importance to our clients.’

Meanwhile in Brussels, Baker Botts has recruited heavyweight competition law specialist Georg Berrisch as a partner in its Brussels office from Covington & Burling. Berrisch is a recognized expert in competition law, state aid and trade matters in the European Union and has experience of developing political strategies in complex contentious proceedings before the European Commission, the Court of Justice and the General Court of the EU.

Most recently, he represented Ryanair in its appeal against the EU Commission merger control decision made earlier this year, which prohibited Ryanair from acquiring control of Aer Lingus. He joins Baker Botts partners Catriona Hatton and Paul Lugard, who opened the office last September.

‘Our goal since opening the Brussels office has been to provide our clients the type of quality legal representation on complex antitrust and trade matters expected of a global firm such as Baker Botts,’ said Hatton, the partner in charge of the London office. ‘Georg, as a skilled EU litigator with a great track record in competition and trade matters, adds significant strength to the Brussels office, not only for the EU market but also for clients across the Baker Botts global network.’

Meanwhile, Pillsbury has ramped up its London intellectual property (IP) office in a bid to add international and industry experience in contentious and non-contentious IP matters. The firm has hired a team of IP lawyers from Gowlings, including partner and founder of Gowlings’ London office James Tumbridge and partner Paul Harris.

Pillsbury chair James Rishwain said: ‘The addition of such experienced litigators to Pillsbury’s IP practice reinforces the firm’s capability to offer global counsel to international clients anywhere in the world. Their extensive experience on contentious IP matters and their government advisory work adds considerably to Pillsbury’s existing strengths in IP and global sourcing.’

Legal Business

Deal Watch: Dentons & King & Spalding act on HR Owen hostile takeover bid as Freshfields and Skadden secure Asian M&A roles


While the traditional August lull in corporate work may have seen Asia relax, the giant is far from asleep and has gifted a number of transatlantic and Magic Circle firms with eye-catching international M&A deals.

Dentons led by corporate partner Jeremy Cohen is advising luxury car dealer HR Owen on the £32.5m hostile takeover bid by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan’s Berjaya Philippines, which HR Owen last week rejected as ‘derisory’.According to Cohen, Dentons, which has previously advised HR Owen out of its Milton Keynes office, advised on the defence and takeover roles.

Top 40 US firm King & Spalding led by London corporate partner William Charnley is advising Berjaya Philippines on the attempted takeover, which valued the company at 130 pence a share and will be voted on by shareholders later this month. Charnley, who has held roles as head of corporate finance at Simmons & Simmons and London managing partner of McDermott Will & Emery, joined King & Spalding’s London office in July last year.

The bidder has until 19 August to obtain the requisite level of acceptances by shareholders.

Elsewhere, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Reed Smith Richards Butler Hong Kong are advising leading UK retailer Tesco and China Resources Enterprise (CRE) respectively on talks to combine their Chinese retail operations to form a leading retailer in the People’s Republic. Tesco, which has been operating in China since 2004 and has 131 stores, is looking to combine with CRE’s 3000 outlets trading as Vanguard.

The Freshfields team is being led by client relationship partner Claire Wills, head of Freshfields’ retail sector group, while at Reed Smith corporate partner Ivy Lai is leading a team out of Hong Kong.

The proposed joint venture would create a business with sales of £10bn, in which CRE would control 80%, with the remaining 20% controlled by Tesco. However, according to Tesco, there is no certainty that the transaction will go through.

Elsewhere, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is advising Cheil Industries and Samsung Electronics on an acquisition of a majority stake in lighting specialist Novaled. Cheil Industries is set to acquire 50% while Samsung will take 40% of the company in a deal that values Novaled at €260m. The remaining 10% is currently held by Samsung Venture Investments, which will maintain its shareholding.

The Skadden team is being led by M&A partners Matthias Horbach in Frankfurt and Young Shin in New York alongside tax partner Johannes Frey in Frankfurt. Sullivan & Cromwell led by Frankfurt corporate partner York Schnorbus advised Novaled. This will be Samsung’s first large strategic investment in Germany.

Legal Business

Strategic Recruitment: King & Spalding continues City drive with Steptoe hire


King & Spalding has continued its City recruitment drive with the hire of Steptoe & Johnson’s London dispute resolution partner and co-head of the Russia and CIS group, Egishe Dzhazoyan.

Listed by Legal 500 as a leading arbitrator with ‘excellent common sense’, Dzhazoyan is a UK and Russian-qualified lawyer who has represented clients in more than 50 arbitration and litigation proceedings across a host of international jurisdictions. He has a particular focus on the banking, telecoms and energy sectors.

Dzhazoyan becomes the 15th partner in King & Spalding’s growing London office and the fourth dispute resolution partner, joining Tom Sprange, Jane Player and Sarah Walker. Player and Walker joined the firm from Bird & Bird last year.

According to an announcement by the firm today, Dzhazoyan will work closely with the Moscow office, which launched a Russian disputes practice in February with the recruitment of partner Ilia Rachkov, who recently acted as an expert witness on Russian law in the high profile £3.5bn dispute between Roman Abramovich and former business partner Boris Berezovsky.

‘Egishe is an excellent lawyer who is highly regarded in key King & Spalding practice areas, including financial services and energy,’ said John Keffer (pictured), co-managing partner of the London office. ‘His addition will add further depth to our London disputes group, which has become one of the largest practice areas in the office, as well as form another significant link with our Russian practice.’

In May, the Legal Business Global 100 top 40 firm launched its London trade practice with the hire of Bird & Bird’s head of international trade and customs for Brussels and London, Iain MacVay. The firm’s stated ambition is to double its City base to around 60-75 fee earners by the end of 2014.

Legal Business

Deal Watch: Nabarro and Ashurst act on sale of LSE HQ as King & Spalding secures repeat European M&A for GSK


Ashurst and Nabarro‘s real estate teams have secured a role on the sale of another landmark London building, while King & Spalding has furthered its transatlantic ambitions by closing a sizeable European M&A pharma deal.

In the £225m sale of 10 Paternoster Square, home of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Nabarro advised the seller, Tokyo-headquartered Mitsubishi Estate Company (MEC), led by rated real estate partner Deborah Parry.

The 22,854 sqm building, designed by Eric Parry Architects and Sheppard Robson, was completed in 2003 as part of the Japanese developer’s landmark Paternoster Square development.

Ashurst advised the purchaser, Oxford Properties, which is the investment arm of one of Canada ‘s largest pension plans, Onatario Municipal Employees Retirement System, with over $60bn in net assets.

Ashurst was led by real estate partners David Jones and Sarah Sivyour, who in November last year advised Oxford Properties on the acquisition of London’s St. Martin’s Court.

MEC is a longstanding client for Nabarro, which previously acted on the site assembly, development, pre-letting and now the sale of the LSE building. Parry pointed to the transaction as an example of large scale real estate investments being sold to foreign investors, including South Koreans and Canadians.

Parry added that deals of this kind are promising for the UK real estate market, commenting: ‘Long term investors are attentive to development opportunities. Our firm has had a strong run in acquisitions, sales and joint ventures.’

In March, Nabarro advised AXA Real Estate on the £472m purchase of London’s Ropemaker Place on behalf of a consortium.

Elsewhere, King & Spalding represented GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on its €250m acquisition of Okairos, a specialist developer of vaccine platform technologies.

Atlanta partner Jack Capers and London senior associate Marcus Young co-ordinated a cross-border corporate team assisted by London employment law partner Pulina Whitaker. Amstutz Greuter advised on Swiss law matters and Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati on Italian law issues.

The transaction is the second high-profile M&A matter that King & Spalding has closed for GSK in the past year. In June 2012, the same team represented GSK unit Stiefel on the £196m acquisition of Toctino.

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: King & Spalding, Olswang and Sullivan & Cromwell in key partner hires


The past week saw a clutch of firms including Kennedys, Olswang, King & Spalding and Sullivan & Cromwell make key partner hires as US firms’ assault on the City continues apace.

King & Spalding launched its London trade practice on 20 May 2013 with the hire of Bird & Bird head of international trade and customs for Brussels and London, Iain MacVay, as the firm continues to expand its global trade offering.

MacVay, who has more than two decades experience advising on international trade matters, was one of the first to represent industries in World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement proceedings. His practice focuses on European and international regulatory law, particularly in representing the alcoholic beverages, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries.

MacVay becomes the fifth partner to join King & Spalding’s London office since the start of 2012, bringing the total number to 14 and the number of fee-earners to 36.

The hire is in line with the firm’s ambition to double its City base to around 60-75 fee earners by the end of 2014. The firm plans to add partners to its energy, life sciences and dispute resolution practices.

London managing partner Garry Pegg said the firm needs to be bigger in London as competition from the other side of the pond increases: ‘There are around 80 US firms in London so we need to claim our stake and be bigger here. We are looking for individuals that have sector experience that crosses over, such corporate lawyers with energy experience.’

Last year, the firm recruited international disputes partners Sarah Walker and Jane Player – also from Bird & Bird, corporate rainmaker William Charnley from Mayer Brown and real estate head Nigel Heilpern from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.

‘The London office has almost doubled the number of fee-earners during the last 18 months and the addition of an international trade practice in London is the latest step in our strategic expansion,’ said Pegg.

‘We look forward to the London office’s ongoing growth with the addition of more leading lawyers as we continue to broaden our London capabilities.’

If further evidence of US firms march on the City were needed, Sullivan & Cromwell took a significant step into UK work with the hire of Linklaters banking and restructuring partner Chris Howard. As reported by Legal Business on 23 May, the high-profile hire will be seen as a significant boost to Sullivan’s English practice in restructuring, distressed M&A and finance. Howard will advise international corporations, banks and financial sponsors on corporate restructurings and financings throughout Europe, the Middle East and the US.

Meanwhile, 383-lawyer top 50 UK firm Olswang strengthened its pensions offering with the arrival of Ron Burgess, who joined from Lawrence Graham having previously worked at Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and on secondment at the Pensions Regulator.

Burgess advises corporates, trustees and insolvency practitioners on pension related matters including scheme funding, liability management and complex benefit design schemes.

Head of corporate Fabrizio Carpanini said: ‘Not only is Ron an excellent pensions lawyer, he also stands out for his experience at the pensions regulator, which means he understands how to navigate the intricacies of the system and find the best solutions for our clients.’

Elsewhere, Kennedys boosted its Manchester office with a double partner hire on 20 May, bringing the office head count to 48. Partner Claire Bushen joined from DAC Beachcroft along with the head of the sport and entertainment department at Freeth Cartwright, Simon Taylor.

Bushen is a professional indemnity expert with experience defending claims against professionals including accountants, insurance brokers, estate agents and solicitors.

Taylor, who was brought in to bolster the firm’s specialist sport, entertainment and insurance capability, brings with him solicitor Andrew Martin and trainee Nick Spearing.

‘We now have one of the largest professional indemnity teams in the UK and act for more than 50 insurers. To facilitate this growth it is crucial that we continue to grow our own people and make strong lateral hires,’ said senior partner Nick Thomas.

On the continent, a trio of Hogan Lovells Italian partners have left to join Ernst & Young. Gianroberto de Giovanni, Massimiliano Marinozzi and Paolo Ricci will join as partners of the Italian legal offering of the global audit firm in its Rome and Milan offices. Ricci will take over the leadership team in Italy, while de Giovanni and Marinozzi will head the corporate and dispute teams respectively.


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Legal Business

King & Spalding recruits high-profile arbitrator in Singapore


King & Spalding has recruited King & Wood Mallesons Melbourne co-head of arbitration Peter Megens as a partner in its Singapore office.

Megens, a senior construction partner, is King & Spalding’s third Singapore lateral hire in under a year. Clifford Chance oil and gas partner Merrick White joined the firm in October of last year, shortly followed by project finance partner Kelly Malone from Norwegian firm Wikborg Rein in December.Malone was previously head of his firm’s global projects team.

According to King & Spalding’s head of global disputes, Reggie Smith, the hire fits in with the firm’s strategy to boost its arbitration and international construction offering.

‘Our firm has made a strategic decision to invest further in our marquee international arbitration practice, and especially in our international construction disputes capability,’ said Smith.

‘Peter’s stature as an outstanding construction disputes lawyer fits this bill, and nicely complements our world-class commercial and investment treaty arbitration practice serving the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore.’

Megens has over 30 years of experience representing clients in disputes arising out of construction, energy, mining and infrastructure projects. His cases have included arbitrations relating to projects throughout Southeast Asia, as well as claims in Australia and New Zealand. He is also a fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.

‘We’re delighted to welcome Peter to the firm,’ said John Savage, managing partner of King & Spalding’s Singapore office. ‘He’s a senior statesman at the construction arbitration bar and the sort of tough, no-nonsense litigator our clients want on their side. We’re very fortunate he agreed to join us.’

Megens is expected to arrive at King & Spalding in July.