Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: Regulatory challenges in the year ahead

Sponsored briefing: Regulatory challenges in the year ahead

Ten years ago, very few large law firms needed external legal advice on dealing with their regulator. This was because the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) would normally only take action against an individual within a firm rather than the firm itself. Since then, the SRA has increasingly used its powers to regulate entities and shown a much greater interest in how law firms are run. With that has come the era of big fines for firms that have breached the SRA’s Handbook.

While all large law firms will have experts in-house that deal with regulatory and risk issues, they are unlikely to have had extensive experience of the SRA’s investigation and enforcement procedures. In addition, external advisers can act as a sounding board on difficult issues, such as if, how and when to report a matter to the SRA.

Legal Business

Highly-rated SFO GC to join Kingsley Napley while HFW breaks US duck

Highly-rated SFO GC to join Kingsley Napley while HFW breaks US duck

Serious Fraud Office (SFO) general counsel (GC) Alun Milford (pictured), who was widely tipped as the agency’s successor to former director David Green, is joining Kingsley Napley as a partner from next year.

Milford has a storied career in public prosecution, beginning at the Crown Prosecution Service in 1992. He then joined the Attorney General’s Office in 2004, where he dealt with contempt of court and unduly lenient sentences. Later occupying a role with the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office, Milford subsequently became GC at the SFO in April 2012.

Milford has a strong reputation in white collar circles, with Kingsley Napley’s senior partner Stephen Parkinson earlier this year describing him as ‘the safe bet’ to succeed Green as SFO director. Green, who this month joined Slaughter and May, was ultimately replaced by former FBI deputy GC Lisa Osofsky in June.

Milford will be the firm’s twelfth criminal litigation partner, working on white collar crime, as well as international investigations, sanctions, compliance and enforcement matters. Department head Louise Hodges commented: ‘After a successful career encompassing some of the most senior roles prosecuting crime and fraud in England and Wales, Alun brings with him a unique perspective and experience which will complement the talented partners and lawyers in the team.’

The delay in Milford’s arrival until next year is likely due to regulatory approval, as illustrated by his ex-colleague Green’s protracted move to Slaughters, which was held up for six months by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

Elsewhere, HFW has broken new ground by making its first ever US lateral hire. The firm announced today (24 September) it had appointed energy partner Derek Anchondo from Greenberg Traurig.

Anchondo will join HFW’s Houston office, which now consists of eight partners and 19 lawyers following a fully-integrated transatlantic merger with Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown in January 2017.

He has experience advising public and private energy companies on M&A transactions, joint ventures, financing, upstream exploration and production activities. Anchondo said: ‘My clients will benefit from HFW’s considerable industry expertise and its extensive international network. I am also excited about the opportunity to help build the firm’s corporate and transactional practices in the United States.’

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Perspectives: Stephen Parkinson, Kingsley Napley

Perspectives: Stephen Parkinson, Kingsley Napley

I didn’t intend to become a lawyer. I’m the first of my family; we’ve been teachers and priests. My brother got a place at Oxford to study law. I got unexpectedly good A-Levels – I was meant to be going to Thames Polytechnic to read humanities. Sibling rivalry.

Criminal law was one subject I was good at, at uni. Wasn’t good at much! It’s about people’s behaviour – why they do the unfortunate things they do. Gets me out of bed.

Legal Business

Parkinson stays away from SFO director race to take senior partner role at Kingsley Napley

Parkinson stays away from SFO director race to take senior partner role at Kingsley Napley

Despite calls for him to succeed David Green as the new director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), heavyweight white-collar crime specialist Stephen Parkinson will become senior partner of Kingsley Napley on 1 May.

As a result of Parkinson’s elevation, disputes partner Louise Hodges will take over his role as head of the firm’s top-ranked criminal litigation practice.

Parkinson (pictured) will succeed Jane Keir, who has served as senior partner since 2013. Keir, who is Kingsley Napley’s first female senior partner, will return to fee-earning as a family law partner.

Parkinson’s career has seen him represent various corporates and senior business individuals in relation to SFO, HMRC and CPS investigations. Notably, Parkinson represented former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks during the phone-hacking investigations and the Leveson inquiry.

Parkinson told Legal Business that he had run unopposed in the senior partner election, adding: ‘For the last 15 years I have been immersed in my team, but this new role is a chance to step outside and get to know the rest of the firm a bit more. The senior partner role quite unusual, you stand above the fray to an extent but people look to you for leadership. You have to provide that leadership without getting too immersed in the detail.’

On his replacement, Hodges, Parkinson said: ‘She’s an absolutely phenomenal defence lawyer. She’s amazingly experienced and a great manager and a great motivator of people. One of the reasons I felt I could move on from leading the team was because I have total confidence in Louise leading the team very well.’

He added that he will continue his practice in business and financial crime litigation ‘both because I enjoy it and want to maintain my interaction with clients and because I wish to continue to work at the coalface alongside my excellent colleagues.’

Hodges said: ‘It is a great honour to be taking over the leadership of the Kingsley Napley criminal litigation team – in my view the top criminal defence job in the country.’

Last year, Parkinson was cited by white-collar peers as a potential successor to current SFO director David Green, who will stand down from the position in April.

At the time, Parkinson drolly noted: ‘That moment passed 14 years ago when they didn’t select me.’

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

News UK recruits Kingsley Napley partner McBride as general counsel

News UK recruits Kingsley Napley partner McBride as general counsel

Rupert Murdoch-owned media giant News UK has recruited high-profile Kingsley Napley partner Angus McBride as its general counsel (GC), just months after its decision to re-hire former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks as chief executive.

McBride will join News UK in early April and serve as a member of the executive team. He replaces current GC Emma Moloney who is departing at the end of January for a role yet to be announced.

Cited as ‘first class’ by the Legal 500, McBride successfully defended Brooks for offences arising from a investigation into phone hacking by the News of the World in 2014. Other high profile clients included former army intelligence officers in Lord Stevens’ investigation into collusion in Northern Ireland between loyalist paramilitaries and state security forces, and advising the chief executive of Innospec following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into international corruption.

Moloney joined News UK in 2013 and was made GC in May 2015. In her role she oversaw all legal matters relating to editorial, a new compliance structure and the company’s commercial activity. Previous in-house roles included stints at Sky and the National Geographic Channel, where she was GC.

In a statement, Brooks said: ‘When I first spoke to Angus last autumn about joining us in this capacity, he was reluctant to give up the work that he loves. I am thrilled that he has decided to join us as he is always ten steps ahead and has a huge capacity to grasp quickly the full spectrum of issues. I have come to trust him implicitly and believe that News UK will benefit from his legal expertise, wise advice and strategic approach.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

For more coverage on the hacking scandal, see Shock and Flaw – is Leveson workable?

Legal Business

Promotions round-up: Bond Dickinson and Kingsley Napley promote three as Kennedys makes up female trio in round of four

Promotions round-up: Bond Dickinson and Kingsley Napley promote three as Kennedys makes up female trio in round of four

In the latest round of LB100 firm promotions, Kennedys made a 75% female promotions round as three out of four of its new partners were women while both Bond Dickinson and Kingsley Napley bolstered their practices with a trio of new partners.

Three of Kennedys’ promotions were based in London with insurance liability lawyer Anne-Marie Hodges, insurance specialist Samantha Silver and marine insurance and shipping disputes expert Jonathan Evans all being made up to partner, along with Cambridge-based clinical negligence specialist Amanda Mead.

The firm now has 169 partners with over a quarter female and has made a number of international moves this year, establishing a presence in Moscow, forming a joint law venture in Singapore and opening offices in Scotland.

Kennedys’ senior partner Nick Thomas says: ‘While we continue to welcome talent from outside the firm, nurturing our people and ensuring they have the opportunity to develop their careers at Kennedys is key to the growth of the firm and our future success.’

Meanwhile, national firm Bond Dickinson made up three in its 2015 round across its Bristol and Newcastle offices.

Two joined the firm’s partnership in Bristol with Andrew Harding promoted in real estate and Alastair Mitton promoted to IT Partner in its technology practice. Harding has focused on developing Bond Dickinson’s real estate investment and development offering with a focus on the hospitality and leisure sector, while Mitton’s primary experience has been on large IT and technology projects that have a strong regulatory bias, as well as data protection.

In Newcastle, Kevin Bell was been promoted as a corporate finance partner within the firm’s transport and infrastructure sector team. He advises on heavy and light rail franchise and concession bids, franchise mobilisations plus commercial and regulatory matters for train operating companies.

Also making up three was litigation-focused Kingsley Napley. The firm spread its promotions across practice areas with private client lawyer Simon Hardy, corporate & commercial specialist Anthony Macpherson and family law expert Claire Wood all making the grade.

Hardy specialises in Court of Protection work acting for individuals who lack the capacity to manage their property and affairs, as well as being responsible for Kingsley Napley’s professional Deputyship service. Macpherson’s experience spans a range of corporate transactions including M&A, joint ventures, shareholder agreements, corporate finance and private equity deals while Wood has focused on divorce and separation issues as well as drafting pre and post-nuptial agreements.

michael.west@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Specialists and US firms build up in the City

Revolving doors: Specialists and US firms build up in the City

Last week saw specialist and US firms strengthen their presence in the City and Europe as Kingsley Napley strengthened its disputes offering, Lee & Thompson hired a head of sports, Greenberg Traurig Maher brought in a corporate partner to its London office and McDermott Will & Emery hired a team of private equity lawyers in Paris.

Litigation specialist Kingsley Napley hired Will Christopher as a partner in its Dispute Resolution practice from Pinsent Masons. He specialises in civil fraud, asset recovery and investigations having led the business crime and commercial fraud group at McGrigors before its merger with Pinsents. Prior to that, he worked at Reid Minty and PCB Litigation focusing on fraud related litigation.

Meanwhile, Greenberg Traurig Maher expanded its City corporate team with the hire of corporate partner Joel Wheeler.

Wheeler joins Greenberg as an equity partner from Crowell & Moring where he has been a partner since 2009, with a focus on corporate and commercial matters, including M&A, private equity, debt and equity capital market offerings and corporate restructurings. He has experience on cross-border deals including in the US, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Kurdistan, China and Cambodia. Prior to Crowell, Wheeler worked at US firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

Greenberg chief executive officer Richard Rosenbaum said: ‘As the London office continues to target high profile, complex, cross-border deals, Joel’s extensive cross-border expertise across the US and Europe in particular, allows him to bring tremendous global experience and insight to this role. While Greenberg Traurig enjoys an outstanding transactional track record, we are increasingly looking to enhance and broaden the offering that our corporate and finance groups provide.’

The addition take Greenberg’s partner headcount in the City to 20 and almost 50 fee-earners but Wheeler’s exit will serve a blow to Crowell’s already small team in London, leaving just one full-time partner and London head Adrian Jones to hold the fort alongside three associates, and two other partners who both split their time between the London and Washington DC offices.

Another US firm also expanded its European offering as McDermott boosted its Paris office with a team of private equity specialists. The new arrivals consist of three partners, Henri Pieyre de Mandiargues, Carole Degonse and Grégoire Andrieux, who all join from Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle.

David Goldman, partner and head of McDermott’s corporate advisory practice said: ‘Our aim is to be recognized as one of the leading firms in the Paris legal market, and the arrival of this group adds tremendous expertise to the Firm’s transactional practice’

Back in the City, Oli Shipton joined Lee & Thompson as partner, having previously been Group General Counsel at Round World Entertainment (RWE). Shipton joins the corporate & commercial group and will also become a head of the firm’s sport group.

At RWE his role involved advising across the group’s varied business interests including 1966 Entertainment, which managed the commercial rights of the England Men’s National Football Team; 10Ten Talent which represent Pelé, Jack Wilshere, and Glenn Hoddle; and Iconic Images. Alongside his new role Oli will continue as principal counsel for the RWE businesses. His experience focuses on commercial contracts within the sporting and creative fields.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

michael.west@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Showing its teeth: Law Society invokes Magna Carta as it launches legal action against court fees’ ‘flat tax’

Showing its teeth: Law Society invokes Magna Carta as it launches legal action against court fees’ ‘flat tax’

The Law Society is challenging the government’s decision to increase certain court fees by over 600% and has issued a pre-action protocol letter for judicial review saying the move would be tantamount to ‘selling justice’.

Announced this morning (23 February), the Law Society has listed multiple grounds to challenge the fee increase. Key points include an increase being contrary to the Magna Carta principles of not ‘selling justice’; the government lacking the power to raise fees for the purposes it stated in its consultation – to make ‘departmental savings’; proceeding without justifying evidence; and failing to allow representations on enhanced fees in combination with amendments to the remissions scheme.

Other grounds listed includes consultees not being told how much money needed to be raised from enhanced fees or why, constituting ‘a breach of the government’s own consultation principles’ that state sufficient response must be given for any proposal to permit intelligent consideration and response. Lastly the regulatory body stated that when the government tabled its second round of proposals on higher fees for possession claims and general civil applications, ‘it had already made up its mind about certain options, which is unfair’.

The Society, which is being represented by Kingsley Napley, has now requested the government provide information on how much money it proposes to raise through enhanced fees and outline what the money will be spent on. It has further requested an explanation over how modernisation of the court services will appear in the government’s accounts.

The potential implications of the enhanced court fees mean people may be put off going to court when they have genuine claims, and provide an incentive for large companies to deny liability while knowing that injured parties would not be in a position to fund expensive court fees. The Law Society held its own consultation during late January and early February, and received responses from 181 members, which estimated that the total value of work in the affected areas could decrease by between 27-36% as a result of the fee increases. Further concerns included the value of work bought by individuals falling by 30-40%, and the value of work from small and medium-sized companies potentially falling by 42-55%.

Additional signatories to the pre-action protocol letter includes the Bar Council, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL), Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), Chancery Bar Association, Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR).

Law Society president Andrew Caplen said: ‘The government’s policy on “enhanced court fees” amounts to a flat tax on those seeking justice. The government’s hikes – due to come in from April – will price the public out of the courts and leave small businesses saddled with debts they are due but unable to afford to recover. State provision for people to redress wrongs through the courts is the hallmark of a civilised society.’

In December the Lord Chief Justice also expressed concern to the proposed changes with ‘deep concerns’ in a letter addressed to the Ministry of Justice, and said ‘increases on this scale will have a detrimental impact on a number of court users, affecting individuals and businesses alike. There is likely to be a disproportionately adverse impact on small and medium enterprises and litigants in person.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Reputation management: Kingsley Napley taps Mishcon for media litigator Harris

Reputation management: Kingsley Napley taps Mishcon for media litigator Harris

Kingsley Napley continues to enhance its dispute resolution offering with the hire of high profile media litigator and Mishcon de Reya partner, Charlotte Harris.

Harris will join the firm’s disputes team in January 2015 and will be tasked with launching the firm’s new media and reputation management unit in order to strengthen and underline the firm’s existing expertise in the field.

A leading individual in the Legal 500 and described as ‘exceptionally bright and well informed’, Harris joined Mishcon in March 2011 from Manchester firm JMW where she was head of media. She has been heavily involved in the exposure of the phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry; serves as a board director at Hacked Off, a lobby group advocating for press regulation; and has previously acted for clients including Max Clifford in his High Court battle against News Group Newspapers.

Disputes partner Gerard Cukier said he is ‘delighted Charlotte will be joining us. She brings immense experience in the areas of media and reputation where she has been an innovator and a fearless advocate for her clients over the last few years.’

On her appointment, Harris commented: ‘Kingsley Napley is an influential top player, and everybody I have met there has been first class. In an environment where reputational management has become part of an everyday agenda, clients are more savvy as they face the challenges of media exposure to avoid a crisis, to manage their image and in the glare of the spotlight. The calm and collaborative approach of Kingsley Napley is just what is needed for the smooth and rough times.’

The arrival of Harris follows that of former DLA Piper partner Jo Rickards, a leading criminal litigator who represented former News of the World editor Andy Coulson in the phone hacking trial, and who joined Kingsley Napley’s disputes team in August.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk          

For more on press regulation and the phone hacking scandal, see Shock and Flaw – is Leveson workable?

Legal Business

DLA sees leading criminal litigator Rickards leave for Kingsley Napley

DLA sees leading criminal litigator Rickards leave for Kingsley Napley

Kingsley Napley has made a key hire to its criminal litigation team, as DLA Piper partner Jo Rickards, who recently represented former News of the World (NotW) editor Andy Coulson in the phone-hacking trial, is set to join the firm this August.

Acknowledged as a leading individual for corporate crime work by The Legal 500, Rickards’ appointment brings the number of partners in Kingsley Napley’s criminal litigation practice to 13.

Rickards recently represented Coulson in criminal proceedings where in late June he was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months for conspiring to intercept voicemails at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid following an eight-month trial at the Old Bailey. The trial also saw Rickards cross paths with her new colleagues at Kingsley Napley, with partner Angus McBride representing Rebekah Brooks.

Hers is the second high-profile departure from DLA’s City disputes practice, which in March also saw IT litigation head Lee Gluyas defect to Nabarro. The world’s largest firm made a significant splash when it hired Rickards in 2010 from Peters & Peters in 2010 – and other clients ahave included Silvio Berlusconi and the Maxwells

Kingsley Napley’s criminal litigation head Stephen Parkinson said the firm ‘…is the natural home for someone of Jo’s talent. Having worked alongside her in high profile trials, we recognise her tenacity, meticulous preparation and sound judgement. Her reputation is wholly justified.’

On her appointment, Rickards added: ‘Criminal and regulatory scrutiny of major corporates and senior employees has never been more challenging for clients or for us. In an increasingly competitive environment, I am delighted to join Kingsley Napley and play my part in upholding its reputation as the go-to firm for high-profile criminal and financial regulatory defence work.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk