Legal Business

MoFo and Gibson Dunn take a partner each from Proskauer’s City practice


Following the news yesterday (20 August) that Proskauer Rose had hired from Dentons‘ private equity practice, the firm has lost two partners , one to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in private equity, and another in private investment funds to Morrison & Foerster (MoFo).

Oliver Rochman will join MoFo’s corporate practice as part of the firm’s push into European corporate capabilities and the expansion of its global private investment funds practice following the arrival of four corporate partners from Latham & Watkins.

Rochman joined Proskauer from SJ Berwin in 2011 with fellow funds partner Nigel van Zyl and six associates, in which was a large hire at the time. His practice focuses on advising international funds such as buy-out funds, infrastructure funds and funds of funds.

‘We have significantly invested in our UK Corporate practice over the last year, building a highly impressive group and deep bench of top tier partners and associates. Oliver is another important addition to the team,’ said Paul Friedman, Morrison & Foerster’s managing partner for Europe.

Meanwhile, James Howe will join Gibson Dunn’s London office, continuing his private equity and mergers and acquisitions practice at the firm.

Ken Doran, chairman and managing partner of Gibson Dunn said that continuing to build the firm’s transactional capability in London was critical to establishing the bench strength and visibility needed to achieve long term success in the UK and global markets.

Charlie Geffen, chair of the London corporate practice added: ‘James is a rising star in the London private equity arena. He has excellent technical skills, and the combination of his intellect, energy and ambition will ensure his success on our platform.’

Yesterday, Proskauer took private equity partner Eleanor Shanks from Dentons following a rapid scaling up of its private equity practice since the hire of City heavyweight Steven Davis from King & Wood Mallesons in 2014. This year, the firm has already added leveraged finance partner Ben Davis from Reed Smith and private equity real estate duo Jo Owen and Vikki McKay from DLA Piper in London. ‘Eleanor’s strong track record advising private equity players further strengthens our position in the industry as we continue to expand our presence in Europe,’ said Davis.

Legal Business

Asia wrap: MoFo hires Magic Circle trio and Nabarro takes key Gadens partner, as BLP makes office move to support growth in Hong Kong


This week in Asia, Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) added a trio of partners from three Magic Circle firms, as Nabarro has also strengthened its transactional practice in Singapore with the hire of former Gadens managing partner Marc Rathbone. Meanwhile, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) will move its premises in Hong Kong out of the Central District to Taikoo Place to allow for further growth.

In Hong Kong, Chuan Sun and Vivian Yiu have joined MoFo from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy respectively, while in Singapore, Yemi Tépé has joined the firm from Clifford Chance.

MoFo managing partner Eric Piesner said the hires illustrate the firm’s continued investment in Asia following the recent arrivals of partners Jason Nelms in Hong Kong and Joshua Isenberg in Tokyo. Sun joins MoFo’s technology transactions group, while Yiu brings significant experience in Hong Kong capital markets and Chinese-focused M&A matters to the firm’s corporate department. Tépé, who advised leading banks and financial institutions, major corporates and private equity sponsors, joins the firm’s financial transactions group.

In addition, Nabarro has also hired in Asia, strengthening its transactional practice in Singapore with the addition of Rathbone who specialises in infrastructure, construction and energy projects. Rathbone joins the firm from Gadens, where he founded the firm’s Singapore office in 2013 and was previously its managing partner.

Finally, BLP will relocate its premises in Hong Kong after signing a six year lease for 15,000 sq ft in Taikoo Place. The firm currently leases 9,500 sq ft in Central District, housing 40 staff, and said the new office can accommodate approximately 100 people and will enable further growth of the firm’s team.

BLP head of Asia Bob Charlton said: ‘Our move into the built environment centre of Hong Kong is an exciting development in the legal services market. A move to modern open plan working, already enjoyed by many of our colleagues in our London office, and by our investment in IT improvements, and smarter co-location of our teams, will also result in better communication and collaboration for our multidisciplinary teams on more complex matters for our high quality clients.’

Legal Business

Partner promotions: Reed Smith focuses on London in 24-strong round, as MoFo promotes just one in the City


London dominates the latest promotions round at Reed Smith, with a quarter of the 24 newly-made partners at the US firm based in the City, while Morrison Foerster has promoted one in London in a round of 12.

Six associates were made up to partner in Reed Smith’s London office, three more than in Chicago, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which each received three promotions to partner. While it is one fewer than the seven made up in London last year, the City has again accounted for at least a quarter of partner promotions.

The promotions, as was the case in 2015, largely centred on those servicing the firm’s financial services clients. London lawyers Monica Dupont-Barton, who specialises in acquisition and leveraged finance, and real estate debt and securitisation lawyer Angelina Soon made partner in the firm’s financial services industry group. Tom Webley makes partner as a member of the banking and financial services litigation and regulatory groups after picking up a string of Libor and forex manipulation work.

Data privacy and information technology lawyer Kate Brimsted, M&A lawyer Andrew Clark and pensions specialist William Sutton were also made to partner.

Reed Smith made fewer partner promotions in 2016 than in previous years, with 22 out of 24 promotions made up in the UK and the US. Hong Kong was the other recipient of partner promotions, as Angel Ng and May Wong were made up. Last year there were also promotions in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.

At Morrison Forrester capital markets lawyer Scott Ashton made the cut in a global round of 12. Ashton specialises in private placements and public offerings of debt and equity, and is recommended by the Legal 500 for debt capital markets. The firm made up one other partner in Europe, with Berlin technology partner technology transactions making the grade, while one partner was made up in Tokyo, and the remainder in the US.

Reed Smith’s promotions in full:

Kate Brimsted, London, IP, Information & Innovation

Andrew Clark, London, Corporate

Monica Dupont-Barton, London, Financial Services

Angelina Soon, London, Financial Services

William Sutton, London, Pensions

Tom Webley, London, Banking and Financial Services Litigation

Angel Ng, Hong Kong, Corporate

May Wong, Hong Kong, Corporate

Jesse Ash, Washington DC, Life Sciences

Siddesh Bale, Chicago, Corporate

Gregory Chase, New York, Shipping

Kevin Dreher, Chicago, Insurance Recovery

Rick Etter, Pittsburgh, Labour & Employment

Kerry Halpern, Philadelphia, Corporate

Justin Kontul, Pittsburgh, Financial Industry

Sara Lima, Philadelphia, State Tax

Michelle Mantine, Pittsburgh, Global Regulatory Enforcement

Brendan McNallen, San Francisco, Energy & Natural Resources

Edward Mullen, Richmond, Regulatory Enforcement

Nipun Patel, Philadelphia, Commercial Litigation

Matthew Petrillo, Chicago, Energy & Natural Resources

Christopher Sheaffer, New York, Corporate

Peter Stuhldreher, Houston, Labour & Employment

Julia Trankiem, Los Angeles, Labour & Employment

Morrison Foerster’s promotions in full:

Alexis Amezcua, San Francisco, Commercial Litigation

Scott Ashton, London, Capital Markets

James J. Beha II, New York, Securities Litigation, Enforcement, and White-Collar criminal defence

Noah Carr, Tokyo, Corporate

Matthew Chivvis, San Francisco, Intellectual Property Litigation

Kristina Ehle, Berlin, Technology Transactions

Enrico Granata, New York, Corporate

Erik Knudsen, Denver, Corporate

Diana Kruze, San Francisco, Intellectual Property Litigation

John Pintarelli, New York, Restructuring and Insolvency

Shannon Reaney, Palo Alto, Patent Counselling

Elizabeth Sluder, Los Angeles, Project Finance

Legal Business

Maly departs Latham to join former colleague Sloan at MoFo


US firm Morrison & Foerster has hired from Latham & Watkins‘ London corporate team again, this time appointing partner Vladimir Maly. The move follows the recruitment of former Latham private equity heavyweight Graeme Sloan in July.

Maly specialises in equity derivatives-related deals for clients ranging from private equity funds to high-net worth individuals and asset managers.

His arrival follows that of former colleague Sloan over the summer, who departed Latham after nine years to serve as MoFo’s London corporate practice and global co-chair of its M&A department. Sloan had served as global co-chair of Latham’s M&A practice.

Latham has been a pace setter in the City with a heavy focus on private equity and funds, and its London headcount has increased by 95% to 296 fee earners and 67 partners over the last five years (as at April 2015). Regularly attracting talent from rival firms, standout London hires for Latham in the last couple of years include former Clifford Chance M&A trio David Walker, Kem Ihenacho and Tom Evans, and investment funds specialist Nick Benson, formerly of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

MoFo Europe managing partner Paul Friedman said: ‘We are committed to expanding our outstanding corporate and finance capability in London and across Europe.’

Sloan added: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to work again with Vlad. By deepening the corporate capabilities of MoFo in London, we will be even better positioned to provide the most sophisticated support to investment banks, funds, and corporations in England and around the world.’

Legal Business

Morrison & Foerster boosts City practice with Latham hire


US firm Morrison & Foerster has made a key hire with the recruit of Latham & Watkins’ private equity partner Graeme Sloan, where he will head the firm’s London corporate practice and serve as global co-chair of the firm’s M&A practice.

Announced today (1 July) Sloan leaves Latham after nine years where he served as global co-chair of the firm’s M&A practice. Recommended by the Legal 500, he focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, acting for both strategic and private equity buyers, and on corporate finance matters.

Morrison’s managing partner for Europe, Paul Friedman, said the hire will ‘be instrumental in our continued expansion in the UK and continental Europe’.

Thomas Knox, global co-chair of the firm’s corporate department, said: ‘The M&A market in the UK and Europe has seen significant growth recently, with deal levels soaring in 2014 and with 2015 on pace to be another banner year. Graeme’s arrival comes at a great time in the market cycle.’

This is the first London hire made by the firm following a five-partner exodus led by corporate partner Justin Stock to Cooley as part of its London launch in January. Last week it also saw three lawyers, including tax partner Eric Roose, and fee-earners will be Chizuko Tomita and Takeo Mizutani, depart for private client specialist Withers for the launch of a new office in Toyko.

The firm is, however, currently in talks with Olswang’s soon-to-depart Berlin outpost after it emerged that the entire 50-strong lawyer office is set to move en masse and considering several offers from a host of international firms.

Legal Business

Olswang’s entire Berlin office in talks with Freshfields and MoFo alongside other international firms


Following news yesterday (18 June) that 13 equity partners are exiting Olswang’s Berlin outpost, it has emerged that the entire 50-strong lawyer office is set to move en masse and is currently in talks with several international firms, including Morrison & Foerster and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Olswang confirmed yesterday that 13 Berlin-based partners, specialising mainly in corporate and finance, will leave ‘by agreement later in the year, along with their colleagues’ and that it is expecting to suffer a drop in revenues.

It has emerged however that all of the office’s lawyers are in talks with several law firms that could offer a strong international platform, including MoFo and Freshfields, to move collectively. A spokesperson for MoFo refused to comment while Freshfields did not return requests for comment. Other US firms are also in talks with the Berlin office but initial speculation that the group would launch as a boutique is understood to be false.

Should MoFo or Freshfields take the Olswang team it would make logistical sense as the firms are all located in the same building, the Kollhoff-Tower on Potsdamer Platz in central Berlin.

Whichever firm the Berlin team decide to move to will be gifted a strong offering. Olswang opened its Berlin office in 2007 and built its team with hires from Linklaters and Freshfields, a move which included its current managing partner in Germany, Christian Schede.

The departures are related to unrest stemming from the London office, most notably the surprise departure of former managing partner David Stewart last October.

For more on Olswang’s strategy and the fallout from Stewart’s departure see: Evasive Action – Can Olswang live up to its own ambitions?

Legal Business

Planning to ‘make a big impact’: Cooley raids Edwards Wildman and MoFo’s City offices to launch in London


US firm Cooley has made its long-awaited entrance to the London legal market, taking partners from Morrison & Foerster and Edwards Wildman Palmer to create a 55-lawyer UK practice.

The office, the firm’s first in Europe, will be headed by Justin Stock, the former head of Morrison & Foerster’s London corporate practice, who is joined by corporate, technology and IP partners David Bresnick, Chris Coulter and Ed Lukins and Nicholas Bolter. 

They are joined by former Edwards Wildman litigators Laurence Harris and Kevin Perry and a five-partner reinsurance group led by David Kendall, Edwards Wildman’s former head of international insurance and reinsurance.

Cooley has taken on all of Edwards Wildman’s old office space at 69 Old Broad Street and carried out a complete refit. The building will house 20 partners across corporate, technology, IP, litigation, competition, insolvency, employment and privacy practices.

‘Cooley plans to make a big impact in London,’ said Joe Conroy, Cooley’s CEO. ‘We have brought together partners who are the very best in their fields, and who share our values and approach to achieving success for our global client base. From our San Francisco and Silicon Valley roots, we have grown to 850 lawyers, solving complex business and litigation issues for the world’s most dynamic companies.’

Stock added: ‘We have substantive strengths in areas essential to Cooley’s global client base. We are ready to build a thriving and successful UK-based practice together. We intend to take the momentum of this launch and continue to attract top legal talent with the same drive and spirit.’

The vice-chair of Cooley’s business department and partner in charge of its Washington DC office, Ryan Naftulin, will relocate to London. As a US liaison partner, his focus will be on office integration and building opportunistic growth for the firm.

Morrison & Foerster, which lost five partners to Cooley, is now understood to have eight partners left in the City plus managing partner for Europe Paul Friedman who is also based in San Francisco. Edwards Wildman, which completed its merger with fellow US firm Locke Lord over the weekend, would have been left with just two partners in London after a string of departures depleted the office prior to Cooley’s launch.

The full list of Cooley’s London partners comprises:

London Head

Justin Stock, head of corporate at Morrison & Foerster.

Partners – Corporate

David Bresnick, corporate partner at Morrison & Foerster with a focus on Eastern Europe and Turkey. Joined MoFo in October 2012 from CMS Cameron McKenna, where he headed the firm’s private equity group.

Ed Lukins, a corporate partner at Morrison & Foerster. Formerly a partner at Norton Rose and Simmons & Simmons.

Chris Coulter, a technology transactions partner at Morrison & Foerster specialising in software and digital content licensing rights.

Ann Bevitt, an employment and privacy partner at Morrison & Foerster for the past 12 years.

Jon Yorke, an insolvency partner at Edwards Wildman for the last three years.

Sarah Pearce, an IP partner at Edwards Wildman who joins Cooley’s technology transactions group.

Ryan Naftulin, US Liason partner at Cooley who relocates from Washington DC, where he was partner in charge. Naftulin, a Cooley lifer, is the vice chair of the firm’s business department. He joined the firm in 1998.


Nicholas Bolter, an IP partner at Edwards Wildman and former partner-in-charge of the London office.

David Kendall, former head of international insurance and reinsurance at Edwards Wildman, and who had been at the firm since 1988.

James Crabtree, an insurance and reinsurance partner at Edwards Wildman.

Mark Everiss, an insurance and reinsurance partner at Edwards Wildman.

Chris Finney, an insurance and reinsurance partner at Edwards Wildman.

Mark Deem, a litigation partner at Edwards Wildman.

Laurence Harris, a litigation partner at Edwards Wildman and former deputy managing partner.

Richard Hopley, an insurance and reinsurance partner at Edwards Wildman.

Akash Sachdeva, a qualified barrister and an IP partner at Edwards Wildman.

Kevin Perry, a litigation partner at Edwards Wildman and former co-chair of its litigation department.

Becket McGrath, a competition partner Edwards Wildman and former co-chair of its antitrust practice group.

James Maton, a litigation partner at Edwards Wildman.

Legal Business

Morrison & Foerster appoints Paul Friedman to newly-created European managing partner role


Paul Friedman has become Morrison & Foerster’s first managing partner for Europe, overseeing 26 partners and 43 associates across London, Berlin and Brussels.

The securities and white-collar litigator has 32 years under his belt at the top 30 Global 100 firm, including 28 years as a partner, and will relocate from San Francisco to London to assume the role.

During his time at Morrison, Friedman has held numerous leadership positions, including co-chairing the FCPA and anti-corruption task force, which he also founded, chairing the litigation department and serving on the executive and partner compensation committees.

Friedman will be responsible for developing and implementing a growth strategy for the region and enhancing coordination between the firm’s London, Brussels and Berlin offices and 14 other offices throughout the United States and Asia. The establishment of this new position follows the 2012 appointment of Eric Piesner as the managing partner for Asia as the firm looks to share US clients across its overseas offices.

Corporate partner Trevor James, cartels specialist Rony Gerrits, tax lawyer Jens-Uwe Hinder and employment partner Hanno Timner will continue to serve as the managing partners of the London, Brussels and Berlin offices, respectively.

Morrison’s European coverage expanded last year when Hinder and Timner joined the firm as part of a Berlin team exodus from Hogan Lovells. Just a year after launching in the Germany, Morrison now has 26 lawyers based in Berlin. The firm’s London office, which launched in 1980, has remained its largest in Europe, with 14 partners, 23 associates and seven of counsel.

Morrison’s chair Larren Nashelsky said: ‘We’ve created this new role to build on our successes in Europe and support our commitment to growth in the region. When it comes to building cross-practice, cross-office teams to pursue deep client relationships, Paul is a leader with a long track record of working successfully among multiple practice areas and across regions, particularly in Asia. Paul’s experience and deep knowledge of the firm will help to enhance synergies between our European practice and U.S. and Asia practices.’

Friedman added: ‘Having a managing partner focused on Europe presents a great opportunity to further invest in the growth of our European practice. I’m excited about focusing my energies on further broadening our global practice.’

Legal Business

Hires in London for MoFo and O’Melveny as Paul Hastings brings in Pfizer’s assistant GC

US firms have announced a number of senior hires in the last few days as Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) and O’Melveny & Myers turn to their rivals for partner appointments in London, while Paul Hastings’ New York office brings in Pfizer’s head of government investigations as partner.

At MoFo, former head of Reed Smith’s acquisition and leveraged finance practice in London, Philip Slater, is to join the top 30 Global100 firm’s financial transactions group as partner.

His arrival closely follows that of new London business restructuring & insolvency head Howard Morris, who joined the firm last November after 22 years at Dentons, where he held a number of senior management positions.

Notable transactions led by Slater include advising The Co-operative Group on all aspects of its £950million debt refinancing, including the associated repositioning of its interest rate swaps and capital markets debt.

Chair of MoFo’s financial transactions group, Jill Feldman said: ‘The addition of another finance partner in one of the world’s key financial centres is a crucial step in the overall strategic development of the financial transactions group.

‘The recent appointment of finance partners Jeremy Hunt and Marcia Ellis in Hong Kong, and Adam Summerly and Jake Robson in Singapore, has increased the need for regular English Law finance guidance in the Asian market. Phil’s arrival allows us to provide this service to clients and illustrates our continued commitment to developing the global capabilities of the group.’

Elsewhere, O’Melveny has bolstered its European transactions capability with the hire of acquisitions and private equity partner Daniel Oates from Kirkland & Ellis, who joins the London M&A practice.

Recent notable transactions for the Slaughter and May-trained lawyer include advising US adventure capital firm, Sequoia Capital, on its acquisition of a stake in UK-based airline ticketing business, Skyscanner.

O’Melveney’s chair Bradley Butwin said: ‘We’ve been steadily building our transactions platform over the past several years and Dan will help broaden our European transactions capabilities in a way that will positively impact our ability to assist clients with a far greater range of services. His strong background and M&A experience will add tremendous value to the existing work we’re doing for both private equity and corporate clients in London and globally.’

In New York, Paul Hastings yesterday (20 February) announced the hire of Pfizer’s former vice president, assistant general counsel (GC) and head of government investigations, Gary Giampetruzzi, as a partner in its New York office, continuing the firm’s expansion of its global compliance, investigations and enforcement practice.

Giampetruzzi held various posts during his 13 years at the American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, where his achievements including helping to originate the company’s global compliance program and leading its anti-corruption and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) programmes as a deputy compliance officer.

Barry Sher, chair of Paul Hastings litigation practice, said: ‘We represent leading life sciences companies across a range of complex matters, and Gary’s extensive experience with Pfizer…brings another key dimension to our practice.’

Giampetruzzi’s departure comes a month after it emerged that Pfizer’s high profile general counsel Amy Schulman had resigned, despite in July being named as head of vaccines, oncology and consumer healthcare business, a post she was expected to assume in the New Year.

Legal Business

Dentons’ Howard Morris to join Morrison & Foerster as head of business restructuring


One of Dentons best-known long term senior managers and a solid restructuring partner, Howard Morris has joined Morrison & Foerster to head its business restructuring & insolvency group in London, nearly three months after the banking lawyer resigned from the firm after 22 years as a partner.

Morris (pictured) joined legacy Denton Hall in 1991 and served in a number of senior positions as the firm grew and changed names under successive mergers, including the shared role of chief executive alongside current CEO Elliot Portnoy at SNR Denton, created out of the 2010 merger with US-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

He went on to act as chief integration officer for Dentons’ tripartite union with French firm Salans and Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain that went live this year, before tendering his resignation in September.

At Morrison, Morris will now focus on cross-border and pan-European transactions and insolvency proceedings, and the firm said today (18 November) that his arrival ‘comes at a time of accelerated growth for [the firm] in Europe.’

Chair of the top 30 Global 100 firm’s business restructuring & insolvency group Gary Lee, said the growth of its business restructuring & insolvency group is a ‘key component of MoFo’s strategic development.

‘The addition of Howard comes at a crucial time with significant levels of corporate debt still to be restructured across the UK and more widely in Europe. His experience and track record make him the ideal individual to head this group in London. Distressed investors are increasingly looking for opportunities in Europe and this appointment demonstrates our continued commitment to our clients in this area,’ Lee added.

Morris said: ‘Morrison & Foerster’s terrific global reputation, coupled with the global scale of its market leading restructuring and insolvency practice, make the firm the obvious choice for me. The firm has a collegial culture, first-class lawyers and a fabulous global client base.’

Meanwhile, Dentons latest merger talks with US firm McKenna Long & Aldridge have gone quiet. A decision on the proposed tie-up, that would give the firm a 3,100-lawyer headcount and push revenues through the £1bn mark, was due to take place no later than last Thursday (14 November) by way of a partner vote, however there has so far been no word from either firm.