Legal Business

Paul Hastings withdraws from Milan as K&L Gates loses eight-partner employment team in Australia

Paul Hastings is shutting up shop in Milan as its office head leaves for a US rival while K&L Gates has seen an exodus of partners in Australia.

Bruno Cova has been a corporate partner at Paul Hastings for over 14 years and currently chairs the firm’s operation in Milan. However, Cova is set to leave the firm for Studio Legale Delfino e Associati Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Though the hires have not yet been finalised, Cova is expected to join alongside litigation partner Francesca Petronio.

In a statement, the firm commented: ‘We would like to express our gratitude for the contribution of Bruno and Francesca to our Milan office and to our firm’s service of our clients in Italy. Looking forward, we believe that our clients will be best served in this region working collaboratively with the leading independent firms in the market.’

The closure comes after Herbert Smith Freehills hired an energy and infrastructure team from Paul Hastings over the summer, with two partners and four associates among those joining the Anglo-Australian firm in Milan. The team included Paul Hastings’ chair of EU energy and infrastructure Lorenzo Parola. As a result of the exits, Cova and Petronio were the only two remaining partners for Paul Hastings in the Milan office, with their imminent departures sealing the outpost’s fate.

Italy has proved to be a complex market for UK and US firms, with their models often hard to combine with a market dominated by smaller groups of veterans that run independent firms. Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Dentons and White & Case are among the more recent entrants in the region.

Elsewhere, K&L Gates has lost around 30 employment lawyers in Australia, with approximately 8 partners thought to be among the departures. The firm has a presence in Australia with four offices in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, having first entered the country through a merger with national firm Middletons in 2013.

A K&L Gates spokesperson commented: ‘We can confirm there have been some recent partner resignations from our Australian labour, employment and workplace safety team. As we are still in discussions with this team regarding their departure, we are unable to provide additional information at this time. Regardless, our Australian labour, employment and workplace safety practice will remain strong and will continue to be a core area of service for K&L Gates clients in Australia and globally.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Reed Smith, Haynes and Boone hire in London, K&L Gates in Washington

Law firms have continued to grow their London ranks, with Reed Smith and Haynes and Boone LLP hiring in the City, while K&L Gates boosted its Washington office.

Reed Smith appointed Petar Orlic as a partner in its real estate group in London. He joined from US firm Faegre Baker Daniels where he was head of real estate.

Orlic’s practice focuses on commercial real estate acquisitions and developments, real estate finance, and real estate management in the UK and across Europe.

Reed Smith’s chair of the global real estate group, Joe Sarcinella, said that Orlic fits ‘perfectly with the strategy’ of its real estate group’ to work cohesively with lawyers across its global network and broaden the scope of its practice’.

Radcliffe was a director in EY’s fraud investigation & dispute services practice in London. His practice focuses on advising clients in complex, cross-border litigation and arbitration, often involving CIS and Russian clients.

Haynes and Boone launched a corporate practice in London with a double partner hire, having formed its City base through a merger with London-headquartered Curtis Davis Garrard in June 2016.

Tom Ferns and Nick Foss-Pedersen joined Haynes and Boone from Rosenblatt Solicitors. Ferns was Rosenblatt’s head of corporate. The two focus on M&A, including public and private acquisitions, IPOs and equity fundraisings, among other matters.

Haynes and Boone’s managing partner Tim Powers said the double hire was ‘a promise kept in terms with our firm’s commitment to build significant corporate strength in the UK legal market to support their global needs’.

In Washington, energy partner Elias Hinckley joined K&L Gates from Sullivan & Worcester, where he led the energy group. He specialises in complex and innovative energy financing and transaction structures, including tax equity financing and project finance, with a focus on clean energy.

Legal Business

Fieldfisher grows finance practice with hire of K&L Gates’ Moller

Fieldfisher has appointed Stephen Moller as a partner from K&L Gates, further bolstering the firm’s finance team after its April hire of Freshfields’ Dougall Molson.

Moller, who was at Simmons & Simmons for 15 years, 11 of which as a partner, will join Fieldfisher’s financial markets and products group. Moller specialises in structured finance, supply chain finance and securitisation.

Moller also brings alternative finance experience to the firm, having worked with technology platforms to identify and procure financial assets. 

The move for Moller cements the firm’s strategic goal to invest in technology, energy and natural resources, and financial services as the firm’s three ‘accelerated’ focuses.

Fieldfisher’s head of derivatives and structured finance, Guy Usher, commented: ‘Stephen’s experience – particularly his expertise in alternative finance – adds yet more depth and diversity to our offering.’

‘Finance and financial services are a strategic growth area for the firm. Our significant investment in recent key hires not only reflects our dedication to the sector but also the growing client demands for our services in this area.’

Moller said: ‘The Financial Markets and Products Group at Fieldfisher is going from strength to strength.  Already established in derivatives, it is becoming a bigger player across the sector and in structured finance in particular.’

‘I have known Dougall and Richard for some time and I am looking forward to working with them and with the other finance partners,’ Moller added.

The team also recently hired structured finance partner Richard Todd from Mayer Brown.

The April hire of fellow structured finance partner, Molson, launched Fieldfisher’s finance expansion drive. Molson was previously Freshfields’ head of finance in Paris. He left the Magic Circle firm ahead of the reform of its finance practice, in which six finance partners left at the end of April.

Legal Business

Kaye Scholer takeover fallout: Former London head to exit with team to K&L Gates

Just one month after Arnold & Porter‘s takeover of Kaye Scholer went live, legacy Kaye Scholer’s London head has quit the firm alongside another partner and a team of associates.

Having served as managing partner of legacy Kaye Scholer for two years, Philip Perrotta will exit the firm with aviation finance partner Sidanth Rajagopal. The pair will move to K&L Gates’ City finance practice with a team of associates.

Perrotta (pictured) had headed the firm’s aviation finance and leasing practice and had joined with Rajagopal from Clyde & Co in 2014.

Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer announced their $1bn combination last November. In the London, Kaye Scholer’s ten partner office joined Arnold & Porter’s 19 partner team at Tower 42 on Old Broad Street. Arnold & Porter’s London managing partner Tim Frazer was chosen to lead the UK team.

K&L Gates London head Tony Griffiths said: ‘With the arrival of this group, we are delighted to add the experience and capabilities of one of the leading aviation finance teams, representing the ideal fit for our existing global practice,’ he added.

For K&L Gates, the expansion follows the hires of London finance partners Barry Cosgrave from Shearman & Sterling and Mayank Gupta from Mayer Brown last year.

According to last year’s Global London, K&L Gates was the 14th biggest foreign firm in the City in 2015 by fee earner headcount. Partner headcount was flat for K&L Gates in 2015, with 129 fee earners and 48 partners.

Legal Business

KWM latest: K&L Gates and Orrick take Munich partners as Covington poised to take top litigator Pollack and team


US firms K&L Gates, Covington & Burling and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe are the latest to take on partners from the beleaguered European practice of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

K&L Gates has hired corporate partner Franz Schaefer, alongside counsel Martina Ortner and associate Christoph Kuster from KWM’s Munich office.

Schaefer is dual-qualified in Germany and New York, and specialises in M&A and corporate law. Among his client base he counts printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG which he has counselled for more than 10 years, Sino-German Ecopark Group and the Nasdaq-listed Monotype group, a leading provider of typefaces. The move follows K&L’s hire of KWM’s investment management partner Hilger von Livonius in July as a founding member of K&L’s Munich office.

Orrick also confirmed it has hired partner Christoph Brenner, who is currently head of corporate in Germany. Brenner will also join from KWM’s Munich office.

Meanwhile KWM head of litigation Craig Pollack (pictured) has agreed to join Covington & Burling, and will take partner Louise Freeman and a group of associates with him. It is understood Covington’s partnership will vote on Pollack’s hire later this week.

Pollack was one of the biggest billers at KWM’s City office and advises investment banks, hedge funds, public companies and high net worth individuals.

DLA Piper and Greenberg Traurig have also taken on teams from the legacy SJ Berwin practice, which is carrying more than £30m in debt and is expected to enter administration in January.

DLA Piper will take on real estate partner William Naunton and several members of his team including partners Cornelius Medvei, Bryan Pickup, Ed Page, George Burrha and Jeremy Brooks. Managing associate Omer Maroof will also join as a partner. They join alongside eight other lawyers and three trainees, and are expected to join DLA mid-January.

Naunton is a significant biller for KWM, having billed almost £4m for the firm in the last year. When he joined KWM alongside Clive Jones and former Eversheds partner Cornelius Medvei in late 2014, the team was seen as key to KWM’s aim to expand its structured, high-end real estate offering. On joining DLA, he will become co-head of the UK real estate group.

However, Jones will join Greenberg Traurig. Alongside Jones the US firm also hired private equity funds partners Steven Cowins and Marc Snell, M&A partners Michael Goldberg and David Fitzgerald and partner Matthew Priday along with their teams.

Cowins is one of KWM’s top billers, having joined SJ Berwin in 2005. He specialises in real estate funds and joint ventures and counts Crown Estate among his clients. Goldberg and Priday focus on commercial real estate investment and have British Land on their client roster.

These are the latest in a long line of defects from KWM’s European business; heavyweight biller Michael Halford has last month joined Goodwin Procter with the other funds partners Ajay Pathak, Ed Hall, Shawn D’Aguiar and Patrick Deasy.

Corporate finance partner Andrew Wingfield and former managing partner Rob Day joined Proskauer Rose. The pair’s resignation, along with Halford’s exit and Jonathan Pittal also handing in his notice caused KWM to halt its recapitalisation plans in October.

Former KWM managing partner William Boss was hired earlier this month by Addleshaw Goddard, alongside Simon Tager and Michael Scott. Meanwhile former senior partner Stephen Kon confirmed last week he would retire from the law.

Reed Smith is another firm in talks with several partners, while KWM’s own Asian arm is trying to secure a European presence through an office spin-off. Although it had expressed interest in a merger deal, Dentons has since pulled out of discussions.

For more on King & Wood Mallesons, subscribers can read ‘Branded’ for an in-depth look at the firm

Legal Business

It takes two: K&L Gates names new leadership team to replace Kalis


With longstanding K&L Gates leader Peter Kalis set to step down early next year, the firm has picked Michael Caccese and James Segerdahl to succeed him.

Kalis’s accumulation of power, acting as both chairman and global managing partner, is set to be carved up with Caccese set to serve as chairman while Segerdahl will become managing partner and chief executive. The changes take effect on 1 March 2017.

Kalis (pictured), who has led the firm since 1997, told the firm’s management committee in the summer that he would step down. After a two-month deliberative process commencing in early July, K&L Gates’ 75-partner global management committee have unanimously recommended Caccese and Segerdahl.

Caccese, who splits his time between Boston and Pittsburgh, is currently practice management vice chairman and is a global leader of the firm’s financial services practice. He joined K&L Gates in 2001 from the CFA Institute, an association of investment professionals, where he was senior vice president and general counsel.

Segerdahl has acted as K&L Gates’ general counsel and secretary to the management committee for the past decade and became vice chairman in 2013. He joined K&L Gates’ Pittsburgh office in 1987 directly out of law school and is a co-founder of its insurance coverage practice.

Kalis said: ‘They hail from two of our strongest global practices – Mike, from investment management, and Jim, from insurance coverage –and their service as vice chairmen of the firm has been universally recognized by our partners as brilliant, dedicated, and selfless. I know them, moreover, to be extraordinary human beings who will perpetuate the values upon which this firm is based well into the future. They have the firm’s complete confidence.’

Both men paid homage to Kalis, with Caccese saying he ‘owe[s] much to all of the hard work and strategic planning Pete Kalis, the management committee and many of my partners have done to make K&L Gates a preeminent global law firm’.

Legal Business

‘Adapt or die’ – K&L’s outspoken chief Kalis to stand down after 20 years at the helm of US giant


He has been one of the longest-serving and most outspoken law firm leaders in the conservative US legal market but Peter Kalis, the veteran head of K&L Gates, has confirmed that he is to finally step down after two decades running the US law firm.

Kalis first assumed the role in 1997. During his tenure the US national practice has grown from under 400 lawyers in six offices to over 2,000 lawyers in 46 offices, while revenue has also grown from $140m to over $1bn.

Kalis, who will conclude his current term as chairman and managing partner in 2017, informed the firm’s management committee that he ‘would not be a candidate for another term as head of the firm. It has been an honour to serve the only law firm I have called home.’

K&L Gates’ management committee issued its own statement, which read: ‘K&L Gates is extremely fortunate to have benefited from Peter Kalis’ leadership over the past 20 years. He is and has been a giant both in the firm’s history and in the modern legal industry. The firm is well-positioned for a smooth transition and to build on these values and on its current foundation.’

News of Kalis’s decision comes after a challenging few years for K&L Gates, which has been one of the worst-performing firms in the Global 100 since 2010, with revenues virtually static over the last five years. Separately, the top 40 Global law firm this year was hit with multiple partner departures across its US offices.

As noted in a 2013 Legal Business profile, Kalis has long stood out among US law firm leaders for his forthright style, in recent years championing greater financial transparency and being a strident critic of the governance failures exposed during the 2012 collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Kalis himself had often reflected on the need for major law firms to be more adaptable to events and client needs, once telling Legal Business: ‘When people say that law firms don’t adapt to the changing marketplace, I would respectfully respond that the ones that didn’t adapt are dead and the ones that won’t now are the walking dead.’

(£) Click here for ‘Ready for his close up’, a profile of Peter Kalis.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Mishcon makes key City hire as K&L Gates boosts Fintech practice


Ahead of the expected summer slowdown, UK firms have made a spate of City hires, with Mishcon de Reya, K&L Gates and Excello Law all recruiting.

Mishcon de Reya has also hired in the City, taking private client partner Martin Davies from Clyde & Co. With extensive experience in the Middle East, Davies served as a partner at the firm for six years, and previously headed the international team at Howard Kennedy.

Boosting its London and New York offices, K&L Gates has hired Judith Rinearson into its Fintech practice. Rinearson joins from Bryan Cave along with Linda Odom, who joins the firm’s Washington DC office in its consumer financial services practice.

At Ashurst departures remained on the cards with the exit of Brian Dunlop, the firm’s CFO since 2013. It has been a tough 12 months for Ashurst, with revenues dropping 10% and a retreat from its European offices in Stockholm and Rome.

The firm has also seen the exit of several partners, with White & Case taking on two partners earlier this year, hiring disputes specialist Mark Clarke and capital markets partner Jonathan Parry. But it has also recently exploited the ongoing exits at King Wood & Mallesons, bringing in banking partner Robert Andrews to its London office.

Virtual firm Excello Law has added a leading Islamic finance lawyer to its team, hiring Ashley Freeman from Charles Russell Speechlys. Freeman was head of Islamic finance at the firm and for 13 years the head of legal at the central bank of Bahrain.

And after three years on the top bench, Supreme Court justice Lord Toulson is stepping down from his full time role. Toulson will retire officially in September after the Supreme Court’s summer break but will serve in a part-time role on a rotating panel of judges until a full-time justice is appointed.


Legal Business

‘An important step’: K&L Gates launches in Munich through King & Wood hires


K&L Gates has opened its third German office by launching in Munich, with a three-lawyer hire from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

Munich becomes the firm’s 46th office and expands K&L Gates’ German footprint, where the firm also practices in Berlin and Frankfurt.

KWM investment management partner Hilger von Livonius will launch the office, bringing with him counsel Philipp Riedl and Michael Harris. The hires follow the arrival of fellow investment management partner Till Fock from KWM in Berlin in 2014.

Von Livonius concentrates his practice in the areas of banking, capital markets, asset management, and regulatory matters with a particular focus on investment funds and structured products.

K&L Gates German head Rüdiger von Hülst said: ‘With the addition of his highly skilled team, we take an important step in the continued expansion of both of our German and broader European investment management practices.’

The eleventh new partner or of counsel addition to K&L Gates’ growing investment management practice worldwide in the past 12 months, von Livonius’ arrival bolsters a key investment area for the US firm. Von Livonius commented: ‘We are pleased to have found a firm which provides us an excellent platform for future growth in the areas of structured products, investment funds, and derivatives. K&L Gates allows us to work as part of a large investment management team with a strong focus on the United States.’

Marking K&L Gates’ eighth office in Europe, the firm plans to add corporate, IT and IP litigation capability in the Bavarian capital. ‘Munich is a remarkable city and one of Germany’s most influential commercial centers, an outstanding location for further growth, and an ideal complement to our K&L Gates offices in Germany,’ added von Hülst.

Since K&L Gates entered the German market in early 2007 with the launch of its Berlin office, followed two years later with the addition of a Frankfurt office, the firm has built a 70-lawyer German practice.