Legal Business

‘Exactly what we’ve been looking for’: Mishcon de Reya hires equity capital markets head from Addleshaw Goddard

‘Exactly what we’ve been looking for’: Mishcon de Reya hires equity capital markets head from Addleshaw Goddard

Legal Business’ Law firm of the Year Mishcon de Reya has made a significant move to develop its corporate practice, today (15 January) hiring Addleshaw Goddard partner Tim Field as head of equity capital markets.

Field has advised a range of clients including investment banks, financial advisers, brokers, stock exchanges, regulators for over 20 years on matters such as initial public offerings (IPO), takeovers and securities law.

Field was head of Addleshaw Goddard’s own equity capital markets practice, and has recent experience of advising on the IPO of payment technology company SafeCharge.

Before Addleshaw Goddard, Field had acted as head of the Middle East offices of Simmons & Simmons between 2009 and 2012.

Nick Davis, Mishcon’s head of corporate, told Legal Business: ’Tim is a great fit in terms of someone who has built practices and is able to lead our equity capital markets offering. He’s exactly what we’ve been looking for.’

Davis said that the firm had not previously operated with a dedicated head of equity capital markets, and insisted that Field’s appointment ‘will take this practice forward.’

On the corporate practice in general, Davis commented: ‘Corporate has been sustained and built organically, it’s unrecognisable from five years ago. We are getting some fantastic associate CVs, which is the best test for me.’

The appointment of Field indicates another strong year of expansion for Mishcon, building out a corporate practice that largely plays second fiddle to its renowned contentious offering.

The firm’s last major hire came in November last year, when disputes stalwart Ben Giaretta arrived from Ashurst. Giaretta, who focuses on commercial arbitration, had been with Ashurst since 1999.

Mishcon will be hoping to build again on 2017’s impressive financial performance, when the firm recorded a 17% growth in turnover to £149.4m.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Second Ashurst partner exit this week as disputes specialist Giaretta joins Mishcon de Reya

Second Ashurst partner exit this week as disputes specialist Giaretta joins Mishcon de Reya

Ashurst has seen its partner bench further diminished with the departure of disputes stalwart Ben Giaretta to Mishcon de Reya.

Giaretta – who joined Ashurst in 1999 – was made up to partner in 2009 and headed its Asian arbitration team out of Singapore for seven years. He moved back to the firm’s London office last year.

The move is a further knock to Ashurst, which has also lost two corporate partners to US firms in London since the end of October.  Earlier this week, Dominic Ross left for White & Case, following James Wood’s announced departure to Sidley Austin on 30 October.

Giaretta joins Mishcon in 2018 and will be focused on commercial arbitration.

Kasra Nouroozi, partner and head of the dispute resolution department at Mishcon de Reya, said Giaretta’s ‘focus on commercial arbitration is the perfect complement to our existing strength in investor-state work, as developed by Karel Daele over the past few years”.

A spokesperson for Ashurst said: ‘Strengthening the international arbitration practice even further is a key priority for the firm. We have a very strong bench of arbitration talent in all regions at all levels and under the leadership of global head of international arbitration, Matthew Saunders, we are confident that the team will continue to achieve great results’.

Other recent Mishcon laterals include restructuring and insolvency partner David Leibowitz and real estate litigator Joanna Lampert, who were both snapped up from Berwin Leighton Paisner in April. It is the current Legal Business Law firm of the Year, having posted the strongest organic revenue growth of any Legal Business 100 firm over the past decade.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

For analysis of Ashurst’s aim of reviving its corporate practice, read: ‘Deal view: Ashurst strives to reboot M&A brand but deal market is getting tougher’

Legal Business

Bean bags primed – A&O buffs up disruptive cred as eight companies join its innovation hub Fuse

Bean bags primed – A&O buffs up disruptive cred as eight companies join its innovation hub Fuse

Having already carefully cultivated an image as the most free-thinking City law firm in its weight class, Allen & Overy (A&O)has taken another step to recast itself for the age of disruption after choosing eight companies to join its ‘tech innovation hub’ Fuse.

The City giant is offering companies space in its London HQ which will work together with the firm’s lawyers, technologists and clients to create services and products for companies, financial institutions and law firms.

From 80 applications those chosen by the firm to take up places in the hub include legal AI specialist iManage – previously RAVN; digital legal services innovator Avokka; regulatory risk intelligence outfit Corlytics; legal technology innovator Legatics; legal management software company Opus 2 International; and AI company Vable. The first company to sign up for Fuse was fintech outfit Nivaura.

The Magic Circle firm has also taken on not-for-profit enterprise Ithaca, which aims to create a mobile online technology platform to assist asylum seekers gain access to pro bono legal advice.

The companies, which will move into A&O in September, are expected to spend four months using the facilities. After that time the firm will look to invite others to Fuse.

Fuse is the latest attempt by a prominent law firm to adapt the Palo Alto-style incubator model, with Mishcon de Reya and Dentons currently pursuing broadly similar ventures.

The tech companies were invited to pitch to Fuse’s selection committee, which included JP Morgan’s Oli Harris, Funding Circle legal counsel Robert Kerrigan, Amazon corporate counsel Alex Wong and Balderton Capital principal Sam Myers.

Fuse’s chairman, A&O partner Jonathan Brayne, said the selection process had been an ‘extremely interesting and rewarding experience’. He added: ‘We’re looking forward to welcoming the companies into the space next month, introducing people from A&O and our clients’ businesses to it and, ultimately, helping shape what emerges from the Fuse environment.’

The project is the latest in a string of innovations for A&O which last year teamed up with Deloitte for the first marquee joint venture between a Big Four accountant and a Magic Circle law firm. The firm eventually closed the doors to new clients following the launch of MarginMatrix, a tech-driven service to help banks handle regulation of the $500trn over-the-counter derivatives market.

While Fuse and its legal counterparts are billed as a means of bringing in new ideas and collaboration to the profession, the industry’s many luddites will be waiting to see if such ventures ultimately prove to be more vapid marketing exercise than brave new world.

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Read more: If it ain’t broke… Do A&O’s New Law business lines live up to the hype? (£)

Legal Business

Watson Farley to retain all its qualifying trainees as Mishcon’s rate falls to 64%

Watson Farley to retain all its qualifying trainees as Mishcon’s rate falls to 64%

Watson Farley and Williams will retain 100% of its autumn 2017 qualifying trainees, while Mishcon de Reya‘s rate of retention has dipped below 80% for the first time in three years.

All of Watson Farley’s 15 final-year trainees will stay at the firm on permanent newly-qualified lawyer (NQ) contracts, marking a modest improvement over last year’s autumn trainee retention rate when 13 out of 14 or 93% of its trainees were kept on.

The NQs will be retained across Watson Farley’s practice areas; four in energy, three in asset finance and corporate, and one each in litigation, real estate, tax, employment and finance.

Watson Farley’s graduate recruitment and development manager Lucie Rees said that the firm’s 100% retention rate was ‘particularly exciting’ and that ‘we have always been pleased that we have kept on a high percentage of our qualifying trainees over the years.’

Mishcon’s trainee retention rates dropped from its autumn trainee retention last year, when all 11 trainees were kept on. This year, the firm has retained nine out of a group of 14, equalling just 64%.

In a statement, Mishcon said: ‘We are constantly testing and improving our recruitment procedures. It’s disappointing that retention is lower this year – in the previous three years it has been over 80%. But we are confident that our evolving strategy will help ensure that the matching of trainees to the firm works well on both sides.’

A number of UK firms have announced their autumn 2017 trainee retention rates, revealing that Mishcon’s 64% rate fell below both Trowers & Hamlins and Withers, who posted 70% and 73% rates respectively.

Watson Farley posted strong financial growth in its most recent financials, with global revenues rising above 20% to £159.8m. Mishcon also recorded a strong set of results this year, with 17% turnover growth to £149.4m. The firm’s revenues have doubled since 2011/12 when Mishcon’s top line was £73.1m.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Labour MP Keir Starmer opts against role advising Mishcon Academy

Labour MP Keir Starmer opts against role advising Mishcon Academy

Keir Starmer QC, the Labour MP and the party’s Brexit spokesperson, has decided against taking on a role advising the Mishcon Academy, Mishcon de Reya‘s in-house training arm in London, citing other commitments.

In a statement, Starmer said: ‘I am grateful to Mishcon de Reya for discussing a possible role advising the Mishcon Academy with me, but, given my other commitments, I have decided not to further the discussions.’

Yesterday’s media reports of discussions between Starmer and Mishcon regarding possible work advising in-house training arm attracted criticism from a Conservative MP who sought to accuse him of a ‘conflict of interest’.

Earlier in the year, Mishcon de Reya successfully acted for campaigner Gina Miller in a landmark legal challenge which resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that confirmed the UK was unable to legally exit the EU without parliamentary approval.

Mishcon disputes partner Rob Murray acted on the case, instructing Lord Pannick QC and Rhodri Thompson QC.

Starmer, who was formerly previously the director of public prosecutions for England and Wales, has worked for Mishcon in the past. He joined the firm as a part-time dispute resolution consultant in 2014. Starmer’s register of interests says that between 1 June and 30 September 2016, he received £4,500 a month for legal advice provided to Mishcon.

Between June and November of the same year, Starmer also received £7,200 for legal advice given to West End firm Simons Muirhead & Burton.

The Holborn and St Pancras MP is a tenant at Doughty Street Chambers, where he specialises in human rights law.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Mishcon boosts fledgling cyber security consultancy service

Mishcon boosts fledgling cyber security consultancy service

Mishcon de Reya has brought in Mike Owen from PwC as the fourth member of its expanding cyber security consultancy service, advising clients on cyber intelligence, risk consultancy and reputation management.

In a month of global cyber attacks, the new cyber security adviser, who previously worked at BAE Systems and Sage Pay, joined Mishcon’s non-lawyer analysts Emeric Bernard-Jones and Laura Hawkins, and head Joe Hancock.

Mishcon described the appointment of Hancock himself, who also joined from Big Four accountancy firm PwC last October, as the lead for a service which goes ‘beyond traditional legal advice’.

The consultancy sits within Mishcon’s dispute resolution business, overseen by disputes head Kasra Nouroozi. Nouroozi and fellow lawyers Gary Miller, Robert Wynn Jones and Hugo Plowman all support the service.

Mishcon’s cyber service goes ‘beyond traditional legal advice’.

Hancock told Legal Business that the service had been well received by clients, and represented a ‘growth area’ for the firm.

Mishcon’s cyber security venture was unusual among law firms due to its combination of cyber intelligence, risk consultancy and reputation management, all under one roof, Hancock added.

A ‘broad range’ of clients have signed up to the service, including large corporates, financial institutions and private individuals. A number of them are new to the firm, others are pre-existing.

Hancock’s team consists of specialists in data theft, reputation management and data protection.

In 2014, Norton Rose Fulbright hired the former cyber security head at National Air Traffic Services (NATS), Paul Swarbrick. He focused on protecting client information and developed the firm’s cyber security strategy.

In 2015, Sullivan & Cromwell, Debevoise & Plimpton, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Linklaters and Allen & Overy announced they would form a cyber security alliance to share intelligence on threats, specific attacks and best practice.

This would allow them to exchange information with US banks, such as Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, to protect sensitive information from cyber threats.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Mishcon boosts fledgling cyber security consultancy service

Mishcon boosts fledgling cyber security consultancy service

Mishcon de Reya has brought in Mike Owen from PwC as the fourth member of its expanding cyber security consultancy service, advising clients on cyber intelligence, risk consultancy and reputation management.

In a month of global cyber attacks, the new cyber security adviser, who previously worked at BAE Systems and Sage Pay, joined Mishcon’s non-lawyer analysts Emeric Bernard-Jones and Laura Hawkins, and head Joe Hancock.

Legal Business

Financials 2017: Mishcon breaking targets again as revenue doubles in five years

Financials 2017: Mishcon breaking targets again as revenue doubles in five years

Law Firm of the Year Mishcon de Reya has posted yet another outstanding set of financials for 2016/17, with turnover up 17% to £149.4m – meaning revenues have doubled since 2011/12 when the firm’s top line was £73.1m.

This year, revenue was up by around £22m from the £127.9m posted in 2015/16, while profit per equity partner (PEP) also rose by 10% to £1.1m.

Litigation accounted for £57m, or 38%, of the firm’s top line. In the past year, the firm launched a much publicised and successful legal action on behalf of a group of business clients to ensure the UK did not trigger article 50 without an act of parliament. Claimants also represented by Mishcon in the long-running £4bn shareholder group action against the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also settled their case at the end of last year.

Following a year-long consultation with its partnership, Mishcon in 2016 set the ambitious target of lifting its revenue by 40% to £175m within three years. The firm’s managing partner Kevin Gold (pictured) confirmed the firm is ‘currently exceeding’ its own goals, despite ‘one of the most uncertain years politically and economically that we have experienced in a decade’.

The firm is also investing heavily in technology which includes the launch of an e-discovery business, Mishcon Discover, that it claims will save clients between 10% and 30% on large disclosure exercises. The firm has also launched a tech incubator dubbed MDR LAB and continues to invest in its in-house training programme, Mishcon Academy.

The firm was awarded the marquee trophy at this year’s Legal Business Awards, walking away with the Law Firm of the Year accolade for the second time in five years.

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Read more: The USP – What is Mishcon’s secret formula? 

Legal Business

‘Fantastic addition’: Mishcon hires Withers’ wealth planning co-head

‘Fantastic addition’: Mishcon hires Withers’ wealth planning co-head

Mishcon de Reya has appointed Withers’ co-head of European wealth planning Filippo Noseda, who joins Mishcon Private on Monday (19 June).

Dual-qualified in England and Switzerland, Noseda has advised clients including governments and wealthy individuals on the establishment, restructuring and implementation of trusts and private foundations, as well as on UK and international tax issues. 

Noseda spent 14 years at high-ranking global private client firm Withers, where his top-tier personal tax, trusts and probate team was shortlisted in the Private Client Team of the Year at the 2017 Legal Business Awards.

Noseda joined Withers in 2003 and was made up to partner in 2006. His expertise includes wills and probate, generational succession planning and family governance.

James Libson, Mishcon’s head of private, hailed the hire of Noseda for his expertise in international tax planning and comparative law. ‘He is a recognised expert in the fields of international tax planning and comparative law and is a fantastic addition to our team.’

‘His experience with international issues complements our client base and will undoubtedly help us and our clients to navigate this unprecedented legal and political landscape,’ Libson said.     

Noseda said that having ‘helped build the comparative law capabilities at my previous firm’, today’s appointment ‘will enable me to focus on my core areas as part of a dynamic and well run multi-disciplinary firm.’

‘We are faced with some of the defining questions of our generation and Mishcon de Reya’s exceptional reputation will play an important role in helping define and resolve those issues’, Noseda added. 

Noseda’s arrival boosts Mishcon’s private client capabilities, where the firm is particularly strong in art and cultural property. The firm boasts clients such as the Gagosian Gallery and The Fine Art Fund Group.

Mishcon has been pro-active in securing lateral hires in 2017, appointing David Leibowitz and Joanna Lampert from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) as partners in April.

Restructuring and insolvency partner Leibowitz and real estate litigator Lampert, both joined Mishcon on 2 May. Leibowitz is the second departure from BLP’s restructuring and insolvency group in the last three years, after the firm lost highly-rated former head Ben Larkin to Jones Day in 2014.

Another key hire in 2017 for Mishcon was Jo Rickards’ arrival from Kingsley Napley. Rickards joined Mishcon’s business crime group as a partner, specialising in white collar crime such as corruption, fraud and money laundering.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

For more coverage of Mishcon de Reya’s recent success, read: ‘The USP – What is Mishcon’s secret formula?’ 

 

Legal Business

‘Young and ambitious’: Mishcon picks six legal start-ups for incubation programme

‘Young and ambitious’: Mishcon picks six legal start-ups for incubation programme

Mishcon de Reya has revealed a six-strong shortlist of legal tech start-ups to participate in its incubator programme, MDR LAB. The companies were selected after a pitch day at Mishcon’s London office on 25 April, where 19 companies presented their products.

The MDR LAB project is the latest of several technology incubation programmes where law firms are offering free legal advice to hook up with up-and-coming companies early in their development. Slaughter and May, Simmons & Simmons and Addleshaw Goddard have similar programmes which focus on fintechs, although Mishcon’s MDR Lab focusses exclusively on legal start-ups.

Overseen by chief strategy officer Nick West and in conjunction with tech investment fund L Marks, MDR LAB seeks to promote legal-minded technology that will benefit both lawyers and their clients. The scheme began in January.

The chosen companies will now engage in a ten week period where their products are applied to the market, with the start-ups given access to Mishcon’s roster of lawyers for advice.

West (pictured) told Legal Business that the firm hopes to run the programme again in the future, and commented: ‘Fundamentally it was a good fit between what they wanted to do and what we wanted to do. We focus on certain types of law, so we didn’t want to pick companies who were way outside of our expertise. They’re young and ambitious start-ups who want to change the way that the legal industry works.’

Of the six selected companies, two are based in the UK with the other four coming from Germany, the US and India.

Everchron is a start-up founded by former litigators designed for intuitive management of litigation cases. The technology automatically generates witness files and allows lawyers to quickly find relevant information.

Orbital Witness is a concept stage start-up based on assisting real estate lawyers via satellite imagery. It provides historical images of a site and claims to be an improvement on existing satellite image technology such as Google Earth. Orbital Witness aims to use machine learning to analyse imagery and solve clients’ queries.

Ping is a US-based product which automates timekeeping and provides data analysis for law firms, while SaltDNA is a Belfast-based start-up which offers software which enables complete privacy in mobile communications.

Indian start-up Surukam is a tool for managing contracts and Berlin-based company Synergist allows customers to draft, negotiate and sign contracts without redlines or email.

Mishcon’s hire of West from New Law pioneer Axiom was the start of a clear strategic push into the legal tech arena. Last year saw the launch of Mishcon Discover, making the firm the first in the UK to provide e-discovery services in partnership with a technology provider.

Other firms to invest up and coming legal tech firms include Dentons, which created NextLaw Labs in 2015 to boost innovation. NextLaw Labs invested in legal tech start-up Apperio in March 2016 and backed two startups, Libryo and Clause, as part of an initial co-investment worth around €200,000 towards the end of last year.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

For more on Mishcon, read: ‘The USP – What is Mishcon’s secret formula?’