Legal Business

Ropes adds first full-time City IP partner as it recruits McDermott privacy co-chairs in data security push

Ropes adds first full-time City IP partner as it recruits McDermott privacy co-chairs in data security push

Ropes & Gray is pushing on with its City build-out with McDermott Will & Emery data privacy co-chairs joining the firm’s privacy and data security practice in London and Boston.

Rohan Massey has joined Ropes’ as its first full-time City-based intellectual property (IP) partner, after nearly 15 years at McDermott having joined in October 2000. Massey most recently headed the IP, media and technology team at the firm as well as co-chairing its global data privacy group. His main focus is IP asset management, data privacy and commercial deals.

In his new role at Ropes, Massey will advise clients on EU and UK privacy and data protection as well as media, e-commerce, outsourcing, IT and IP, and co-lead the privacy and data security practice, alongside Heather Egan Sussman who joins the Boston-bred firm alongside him.

Boston-based Sussman previously co-chaired McDermott’s global privacy and data security and technology practice alongside Massey, and will focus on on privacy, information security and consumer protection. Doug Meal, a litigation partner in Ropes’ privacy and data security practice said: ‘They are both big-picture thinkers, with an impressive track record of helping clients innovate while simultaneously meeting compliance obligations and solidifying consumer trust. Our clients will immediately recognise and benefit from the energy and brilliance that Heather and Rohan bring to our growing, global privacy and data security and technology capabilities.’

The hires form part of the firm’s wider push to grow its London base after it launched a commercial litigation offering with K&L Gates disputes partner Thomas Ross in April and recruited Chadbourne & Parke structured finance specialist Partha Pal in May.

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.

Legal Business

Partner promotions: 20% of Ropes & Gray new partners in London while McDermott adds three

Partner promotions: 20% of Ropes & Gray new partners in London while McDermott adds three

Ropes & Gray and McDermott Will & Emery are the most recent US firms to announce their partner promotions, with Ropes making up four in the City out of 20 worldwide, while McDermott is promoting three in London out of a total of 33.

At Ropes, the new City partners include Amanda Raad and Marcus Thompson in the government enforcement practice, John Newton in the private equity practice and Fergus Wheeler in finance.

The remainder of the promotions were across seven other offices, with 65% or 13 promotions in total occurring in the firm’s US offices. Outside of the US and UK, just three other promotions were made, with two in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. The promotions took effect on 1 November.

Meanwhile, McDermott Will & Emery’s 33 partner promotions, which will go into effect on 1 January 2015. The promotions were made in 12 of the firm’s offices.

78% of the firm’s promotions were made in the US, with a total of 26. The three promotions in London include Matthew Herrington in US and international tax; Dhana Sabanathan in private client; and Eleanor West in corporate.

Separately, MWE China Law Offices announced the promotion of another new partner in Shanghai.

McDermott Will & Emery’s co-chair Jeffrey Stone said: ‘It’s not by accident that these 33 exemplary attorneys come from such a wide range of practices and jurisdictions. They are a genuine reflection of our business and the growth we are aiming to achieve as we navigate today’s evolving legal landscape.’

Legal Business

McDermott Will & Emery, CMS and Spain’s Olleros lead on €3.62bn Telefónica rights issue

McDermott Will & Emery, CMS and Spain’s Olleros lead on €3.62bn Telefónica rights issue

McDermott Will & Emery and CMS Hasche Sigle have won the lead roles in advising Telefónica Deutschland’s €3.62bn rights offering to help finance the acquisition of E-Plus Group from KPN.

The rights offering comes after Dutch telecoms company Koninklijke KPN sold its German mobile telecoms subsidiary E-Plus to Telefónica Deutschland for €8.1bn at the end of July, for which McDermott Will & Emery, Allen & Overy and CMS Hasche Sigle all scored leading roles on.

McDermott´s team advised Telefónica SA, the largest shareholder of Telefónica Deutschland, led by Frankfurt-based US corporate partner Joseph Marx and corporate partners Philipp von Ilberg, Clemens Just and Martin Kniehase in Frankfurt. The firm’s New York corporate partners Joel Rubinstein and Rick Mitchell, and corporate partner Nick Aziz in London also advised on the transaction.

Telefónica Deutschland was advised by CMS Hasche Sigle with a team including partners Oliver Thurn, Philipp Melzer, Daniel Winterfeldt, Martin Kuhn and Martin Kolbinger.

Spanish-based law firm Olleros Abogados also advised on the deal with corporate partner Jaime Olleros leading a team that included partner Gonzalo Ceron and associate Alicia Sanchez.

Telefónica Deutschland is issuing over 1.1 billion new shares priced at €3.24 per share, implying a discount to the theoretical ex-rights price of 28.32%. The underwriters on this deal include Citigroup Global Markets, HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt, Morgan Stanley and UBS, while the joint bookrunners are BofA Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Securities.  

Marx said: ‘We are very pleased to have advised Telefónica, S.A. on this very significant deal, which demonstrates our growing relationship with Telefónica, S.A. in Europe and the growth of our capital markets practice in Germany.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Senior ex-Unilever and Amex lawyers move to private practice as McDermott boosts Paris office

Revolving doors: Senior ex-Unilever and Amex lawyers move to private practice as McDermott boosts Paris office

Some of the most high-profile strategic hires recently have seen former in-house counsel move to private practice, all following the news last week that Weil, Gotshal & Manges is bringing Goldman Sachs’ European head and co-head of restructuring Andrew Wilkinson back to a law firm.

Irwin Mitchell has appointed the former head of trade marks at Unilever, Katrina Burchell, to its intellectual property team. Burchell, who was most recently IP director of Kering, the owner of luxury brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, will join Irwin Mitchell’s London office.

With 25 years’ experience as a qualified trade mark attorney, Burchell spent 15 years at Unilever where she was head of the global trade mark team. She will work alongside former Brown Rudnick IP head Georgie Collins who was brought in last September to spearhead the firm’s IP practice.

Collins said: ‘Recruiting Katrina is a real coup for Irwin Mitchell in terms of her profile, extensive in-house experience and knowledge of all things brand. Katrina understands how to price and market brands-led IP products and services effectively and efficiently without compromising quality. As a result of her role at Unilever she also understands that there are some aspects of trade mark filing/prosecution work that are process driven and can be systemised and managed more efficiently.’

In the US, the former GC of American Express, Louise Parent, has joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton‘s New York office as an of Counsel having retired from her post in 2013 after 20 years at the credit card company. At Cleary, she will advise clients on issues related principally to corporate governance and regulatory matters.

Meanwhile, McDermott Will & Emery has appointed former Dechert partner Emmanuelle Trombe to its corporate advisory practice group in Paris. Trombe focuses her practice on clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device and related healthcare industries, representing French, European and US life science companies on acquisitions and divestitures, outsourcing projects, product development, cooperation and licensing agreements, regulatory issues and general corporate and commercial law matters.

David Goldman, head of McDermott’s corporate advisory practice group, said: ‘Emmanuelle brings an outstanding reputation to our corporate and life sciences practices and reinforces our commitment to continue to grow our international transactional practice in key strategic areas.

‘We are, as a firm, committed to our life sciences practice – spanning all aspects from IP to regulatory to transactional. Our commitment to life sciences extends beyond the United States, and expanding our practice in Paris offers a great opportunity for growth at this time.’

Legal Business

US results season 2013: McDermott and King & Spalding post 4% increase in revenue

US results season 2013: McDermott and King & Spalding post 4% increase in revenue

Chicago-headquartered firm McDermott Will & Emery has continued its post-financial crisis recovery, unveiling a 3.5% increase in revenue to $881m, as close US rival in revenue terms, King & Spalding sees its turnover increase by 4% to $861.4m.

McDermott’s net income also grew in 2013, with a 7% increase to $297m, fuelling an increase in profit per equity partner (PEP) to $1.545m. The top 40 Global 100 firm’s profit margin rose by a percentage point to 34%, while its revenue per lawyer increased by 4.2% to $865,000.

While the results are a considerable way off from McDermott’s 2009 turnover of $962m, after which it suffered a post-recession drop in revenue of over 18% in two years, it marks the continuation of recovery first tracked in the Global100 2012 edition, when the firm posted a 5% increase to $825.3m, followed by 3% increase to $851m last year.

The 1,024-lawyer firm was active in the lateral hiring market in 2013, bringing in 22 partners across 11 US and international offices. One of McDermott’s stand-out hires was that of former Ashurst German private equity head Nikolaus Von Jacobs in December last year to head up the firm’s private equity practice in Munich.

In the US, June last year saw McDermott hire former deputy associate attorney general, Marisa Chun to its Silicon Valley office, bolstering the firm’s trial practice. It further strengthened its white collar crime practice with the hires of Houston-based Michael Wynne, a former assistant US attorney in the Southern District of Texas, and Patton Boggs partner Todd Harrison in New York in September last year. The firm also secured the hire of the former general counsel of the US patent and trademark office, IP litigator Bernard Knight, in July last year.

Elsewhere, more profitable top 40 Global100 firm King & Spalding joins the growing list of US firms posting positive 2013 results, with revenue up by 4% to $861.4m from $827.5m and its PEP figure up by 8% to $2.14m from $1.99m.

Since 2009, the 873-lawyer firm’s revenue has increased by 27.1% from $677.5m.

The financial results come as Los Angeles-originated global firm Paul Hastings this week posted a 2013 increase of 3.6% in turnover to $941m from $908m last year. PEP is up by 4.6% to $2.175m, while RPL also grew by 5% to $1.06m.

This month US firms including Dechert, Sidley Austin, Goodwin Proctor and Latham & Watkins have all posted solid increases in revenue for 2013.

Latham revealed moderate growth figures, with revenue up by 2.7% to $2.29bn, while Sidley Austin posted solid 2013 results, with revenue up by around 7% to $1.6bn from $1.49bn and net profits up by around the same margin to $547m from $510.5m.

Legal Business

More claims but fewer settlements – McDermott becomes the latest major law firm to face an employment dispute

More claims but fewer settlements – McDermott becomes the latest major law firm to face an employment dispute

McDermott Will & Emery yesterday became the latest law firm to stand accused of unfair dismissal and discrimination in the Central London Employment Tribunal (CLET) as experts say the days of settling claims simply to avoid potentially negative publicity are coming to an end.

Former City lawyer Cheng Tan has alleged that she was made redundant after asking to extend her maternity leave, having suffered complications during child birth.

In a statement to the tribunal Tan, who gave birth on 5 May 2011 via an emergency caesarian section, said: ‘I was made redundant because I had had a baby, taken maternity leave and suffered illness as a result of the birth.’

McDermott is fighting the claim and issued a statement saying: ‘The firm denies the allegations made in this case. That said, we cannot comment on specific claims since this is a matter of active litigation.

‘Our policies play a significant role in our hiring, retention and promotion processes. In fact, we have established accountability for diversity and inclusion metrics within our practice groups’ business plans, including hiring plans and talent development initiatives.

‘As a result, we have become a recognized leader in workplace diversity. Recently, Working Mother publication named McDermott one of its 2012 “50 Best Law Firms for Women,” citing the Firm’s family-friendly policies and business development initiatives that are retaining women and advancing them into leadership roles.’

Where it was once extremely rare for employees to bring a claim against a law firm, that culture is changing in common with the more litigious, US-style attitude now adopted within the UK as a whole.

These proceedings come only shortly in the wake of Travers Smith having lost a high profile discrimination case in the CLET in May, brought against it by former trainee, Katie Tantum, who claimed she was not given a permanent job because she fell pregnant.

Linklaters also came before the CLET last month in respect of a claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination, racial discrimination, religious discrimination and breach of contract brought by former paralegal Ali Hussain. Judgment in that case is yet to be handed down.

Jane Mann, head of employment at Fox Williams said: ‘Twenty years ago there was a working assumption that employees wouldn’t sue a law firm but these days that has completely changed as it has in other business sectors. There is a lot of turbulence in our world and so much displacement as law firms restructure and people are quite vulnerable financially.’

This change in attitude has meant law firms, once guilty of settling claims simply to avoid public exposure, are increasingly being forced to take a stand.

Mann added: ‘It’s reached a point where law firms can’t just settle or everyone will make a claim against them. They have to draw a line in the sand, even if that does mean embarrassing publicity.

‘But where a client (firm or individual) has a reputation to protect you have to be extraordinarily careful in assessing how to proceed and how the litigation will play out.’

The claim by Cheng Tan began on July 5 and is scheduled to end tomorrow.

Legal Business

Dewey needs to take its head out of the sand

Dewey needs to take its head out of the sand

As LB was going to press, news emerged that Dewey & LeBoeuf was set to lose its recently acquired London private equity team, which includes two partners and nine associates, to McDermott Will & Emery. So another two partners have jumped ship, bringing the total number of partner exits close to 70 since the turn of the year. It is entirely possible that by the time you read this, further departures will have occurred.