Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Monckton attracts public law team; Arnold & Porter launches City financial services; Dentons grows in HK

Revolving Doors: Monckton attracts public law team; Arnold & Porter launches City financial services; Dentons grows in HK

The past week saw Monckton Chambers attract a five-barrister public law team led by Ian Wise QC from Doughty Street Chambers, as Arnold & Porter launched a City financial services practice with the hire of Katten Muchin Rosenman’s Tim Aron, Dentons grew its Hong Kong finance practice with the hire of Jeff Chen from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft and Mayer Brown established a corporate and securities practice in its Palo Alto office with a dual partner relocation.

Wise joins as a new tenant alongside Azeem Suterwalla, Steve Broach, Nikolaus Grubeck and Conor McCarthy. The group practices across a range of administrative law, civil liberties, human rights and international law. Monckton has sought to expand its administrative & public law set in recent years and has specialised in handling freedom of information, data protection and privacy, environmental law and financial services mandates.

Monckton has also taken on two new tenants in the form of pupils Daisy Mackersie, who worked in the House of Lords on the Equality Bill, and financial services specialist Stefan Kuppen, who has had stints at JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Paul Lasok QC, head of Monckton Chambers, said: ‘They are a group of highly regarded and experienced practitioners who greatly strengthen the range and depth of the public law expertise that Monckton Chambers is able to offer its lay and professional clients. We are also very pleased to continue our organic growth with the recruitment of two outstanding pupils.’

Wise added: ‘We are not moving to Monckton to abandon our existing clients, quite the contrary, I expect to see more and better publicly funded work at Monckton alongside private work for the team.’

Elsewhere in the City, US firm Arnold & Porter has launched a financial services regulation practice with the hire of Aron. Prior to entering private practice he spent five years at the Financial Services Authority, which was replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority last year, advising its markets, banking and enforcement divisions on post-financial crisis policies. He has also served as legal adviser to the UK Listing Authority and to the UK Competition Commission.

Arnold & Porter chairman, Thomas Milch, said: ‘We expect Tim’s considerable financial services regulation experience will be of value to our domestic and foreign institutional clients, many of whom are now facing increased UK and European regulatory activity.’

Tim Frazer, who heads up Arnold & Porter’s London office, added: ‘Tim’s service at the FSA brings to the table the kind of practical experience that will hugely benefit our clients in the UK.’

Elsewhere, Dentons continues to grow its finance practice in Hong Kong with the lateral hire of Chen.

Chen has experience in capital markets, structured finance and derivatives, with an emphasis in limited recourse and cross-border financing structures of all types, including asset-backed securities and asset backed loans. He also advises on compliance with the Volcker Rule and on the regulation of OTC derivatives under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Commenting on the hire, Asia Pacific partner in charge, Mitch Dudek, said, ‘Jeff is an outstanding lawyer with an impressive client portfolio including leading international banks and hedge funds. He fulfills our need for a strong finance partner in Hong Kong, a strategic priority and part of our ongoing commitment to growth across the Greater China practice.’

The move came as Mayer Brown announced last week that it is establishing a corporate and securities practice in its Palo Alto office with the relocation of partners Jennifer Carlson and Nina Flax from Chicago in order to capitalise on increased international interest in the area, particularly from investors in East Asia.

‘The addition of Jen and Nina to the Palo Alto office bolsters Mayer Brown’s ability to provide legal counsel in California to both domestic and foreign companies doing business in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, particularly on transactions related to capital markets, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, cross-border joint ventures and corporate governance,’ said Edward Johnson, partner-in-charge of Mayer Brown’s Palo Alto office.

‘California is one of the fastest-growing international economies, and companies across the globe—particularly those based in East Asia—are increasingly looking to invest or operate in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley,’ said Ms. Carlson. ‘Therefore, it is more important than ever for such companies to have access to a law firm with a local presence and strong global platform—like Mayer Brown—to advise them on cross-border M&A, capital markets and general corporate matters.’

Legal Business

In-house: Ben Sherman’s GC moves to Myla; DfT’s former GC Muttukumaru joins Monckton

Lee Gage has left Ben Sherman after five years as general counsel (GC) to join luxury lingerie retailer Myla in the same role. His move comes as Monckton Chambers yesterday (3 June) announced the arrival of the Department for Transport’s (DFT’s) former GC Christopher Muttukumaru as a tenant.

While at Ben Sherman, owned by New York Stock Exchange-listed clothing group Oxford Industries, Gage handled licensing issues and was responsible for the global legal function and global rights portfolio for the Ben Sherman brand. His former deputy, Elizabeth Cook, has taken over the GC role.

Gage previously spent five years at Harbottle & Lewis, where he became senior associate, and two years at intellectual property firm Briffa in the early 2000s.

Harbottle and Lewis continues to act as a legal adviser to Ben Sherman on brand licensing and domain name and trademark disputes.

Gage’s arrival at 12-boutique retailer Myla, in a newly created role, coincides with increasing legal risk surrounding retail regulation, branding and competition issues, as retailers also address changing consumer behaviour and a continued pressure on margins.

Eversheds head of retail James Batham said: ‘Out of the recession you’ve seen a number of companies building up their in-house legal teams to save costs but the retail environment is particularly burdensome.

‘One issue retailers face is fighting for brand protection and anything affecting their brand they will throw resources at.’

Muttukumaru, meanwhile, joins Monckton following a high profile public sector legal career that saw him appointed as GC at the DfT in 2011, leading a group of over 90 lawyers advising the DfT and its executive agencies.

Highlights of his career include acting as secretary to Lord Scott’s inquiry into the export of defence and dual-use equipment to Iraq, a role as deputy legal adviser at the Ministry of Defence, where he worked on issues including the negotiation of the statute setting up the International Criminal Court; and as legal adviser to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Paul Lasok QC, head of Monckton Chambers said: ‘Professional and lay clients in a number of market sectors encounter difficult problems in relation to which Christopher, with his background and experience, is uniquely placed to give authoritative guidance and advice. His return to private practice after many years in the public sector fills a serious gap in the market.’