Legal Business

HSF client Marathon refused appeal to end long-running document misuse dispute

HSF client Marathon refused appeal to end long-running document misuse dispute

After a four-year battle, a High Court judge has refused Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) client Marathon Asset Management an appeal, ending a dispute against two former employees accused of unlawfully copying and retaining confidential information.

In February the duo – James Seddon and Luke Bridgeman – were ordered to pay just £1 each in damages for taking documents from their former employer.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe represented Seddon in the case and is claiming a victory because as well as refusing the appeal, Justice Leggatt ruled that Marathon must pay half of Seddon’s costs up until 24 February 2016 and all of his costs after that date.

Orrick’s team was led by London partner Maria Frangeskides. Withers head of civil fraud Stephen Ross acted for Bridgeman, with Herbert Smith Freehills partners Chris Bushell and Peter Frost acting for Marathon.

Ross said: ‘The case neatly illustrates the importance of making a realistic claim. Marathon has spent up to £10 million on its own legal fees to recover £1 from our client and now faces paying millions more in costs to the defendants.’

A previous judgment on February 22 this year found that Seddon and Bridgeman, who now work together at newly-formed investment fund Hosking Partners, were liable for unlawfully taking the information when they left company but said the action had not caused Marathon any loss or the defendants any gain.

Marathon’s position throughout the proceedings was that the negative impact of the action was irrelevant and that the potential harm was significant enough to pursue damages.

But Leggatt ruled: ‘I do not think that Marathon can reasonably seek to justify its pursuit of the misuse claim on the basis that such an inquiry was necessary when, as recorded in the main judgment, Marathon consistently maintained throughout the proceedings that the extent of any actual use of information by the defendants was irrelevant to its claim.’

Leggatt describes Marathon’s claim as pursuing ‘jackpot damages’ and says the decision not to accept £1.5m in damages ‘makes it fair to treat Marathon as litigating thereafter entirely at its own risk and potential cost.’

Frangeskides (pictured) said: ‘The views expressed by the judge today show that he’s not impressed by the way this has been run by Marathon.

‘It’s a relief for everybody that finally the judge made the right decision. None of the documents were used, and Marathon knew that.’

A spokesperson for Marathon said: ‘They stole documents belonging to Marathon and when asked by Marathon’s solicitors to confirm whether they had removed any documents, they lied and falsely claimed that they had not done so.’

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Careful growth’: Morgan Lewis enters Hong Kong and expands in China with nine Orrick partners

‘Careful growth’: Morgan Lewis enters Hong Kong and expands in China with nine Orrick partners

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has opened a Hong Kong office and broadened out its China offering, taking nine partners from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

The significant group hire will more than double its existing presence in China with 40 lawyers and legal professionals expected to join Morgan Lewis’s 30 strong headcount in the region.

The team, led by Orrick’s former executive committee member and global capital markets head Edwin Luk and the firm’s former head of M&A and private equity Maurice Hoo, will be based across the firm’s offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

The new team will bulk up Morgan Lewis’s capital markets, M&A and private equity capabilities with Beijing and Hong Kong based corporate partner Ning Zhang, Hong Kong based corporate partners June Chan, Connie Cheung and Keith Cheung, and capital markets partners Louise Liu and Billy Wong. Beijing and Shanghai based corporate partner Mathew Lewis is also joining the US firm.

Morgan Lewis has filed an application to become a registered foreign law firm in Hong Kong as part of the hires, under the name Luk and Partners.

Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon said: ‘Adding this cohesive corporate team of partners furthers this commitment, and continues our strategic and careful growth in China.’

She added: ‘We have long recognised the importance of Hong Kong as one of the world’s principal financial centers, and we have been looking for just the right team there.’

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Orrick takes Olswang Paris head ahead of three way merger

Orrick takes Olswang Paris head ahead of three way merger

Olswang‘s Paris head Guillaume Kessler has left the soon-to-be-merged firm in favour of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

The exit comes as Olswang prepares for its merger with CMS Cameron McKenna and Nabarro. The Paris office relocated to temporary premises after its lease expired, and is not expected to join the three way merger.

Kessler advises on corporate finance transactions, including public and private domestic and cross-border M&A, takeovers, take privates, private equity, restructurings and international joint ventures. He joined Olswang in 2011 from Brandford-Griffith & Associés where he was made up to partner in 2006. He had previously worked at both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance.

Orrick’s head of M&A and private equity in France Saam Golshani said: ‘We are delighted to continue to grow our French corporate practice with a practitioner of Guillaume’s calibre. He is a recognised player in the French market, with particularly deep ties to the technology sector and a go-to source for the private equity market.’

CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang partners approved the merger in October, with the three firms taking on the CMS brand – giving Camerons over 1,000 partners and revenues of around £450m in the UK. The three firms will move in together into CMS UK’s current Cannon Place headquarters, conditional on the merger completing on 1 May 2017.

In November Legal Business reported Olswang lost experienced Paris corporate partner Christophe Gaschin who joined Groupe Bertrand as general counsel. Nabarro lost its seat in the five firm Broadlaw Group as a consequence of its merger plans with CMS and Olswang.

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

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

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.

georgiana.tudor@legalease.co.uk

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

Legal Business

‘Another milestone’: White & Case and A&O take roles in $1.3bn software deal as Avast buys AVG

‘Another milestone’: White & Case and A&O take roles in $1.3bn software deal as Avast buys AVG

White & Case, Allen & Overy, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek have won advisory roles as security software giant Avast Software buys AVG Technologies for $1.3bn.

Backed by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, the acquisition will allow Avast Software to move into the ever-growing smartphone market, offering software to protect phones from malware and broadening out its international reach.

Avast will begin a tender offer for Amsterdam-based AVG Technologies at $25 a share in cash, the companies said in a statement today (7 July). The offer is 33% above AVG Technologies’ closing price yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.

White & Case and Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek are advising Prague headquartered Avast, while AVG Technologies turned to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Allen & Overy. Allen & Overy’s team, based in Amsterdam was led by partner Jan Louis Burggraaf with Christiaan de Brauw and Joyce Leemrijse.

For Orrick, corporate partner Peter Lamb led the team representing AVG, alongside M&A and private equity partners Ed Batts and Richard Vernon Smith.

Allen & Overy has advised AVG Technologies in the past, acting for the software provider last year when it acquired software firm Privax for $60m.

Ian Bagshaw leads the White & Case team advising Avast with London partners Caroline Sherrell, Justin Wagstaff working alongside US-based partners Chang-Do Gong, Farhad Jalinous and Rebecca Farrington, as well as Brussels-based Mark Powell.

White & Case has forged a close relationship with Avast, acting on a number of transactions including Summit Partners initial private equity investment years ago and CVC Capital Partners investment in 2014. Avast had planned to IPO back in 2012 but changed its mind due to market conditions.

Bagshaw (pictured) said: ‘Advising on this exciting acquisition is another milestone in our long relationship with the company, and a clear demonstration of the truly global nature of the integrated service White & Case provides to help clients achieve their ambitions.’

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Freshfields European exits continue as four partner Paris team gears up to join Orrick

Freshfields European exits continue as four partner Paris team gears up to join Orrick

Partners from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continue to exit the firm’s European offices as a four partner team is about to leave the Paris outpost to join Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Corporate partner Patrick Tardivy, finance partners Emmanuel Ringeval and Herve Touraine and Paris employment head Emmanuel Benard are all set to depart from the Magic Circle firm and join Orrick’s Paris outpost Orrick Rambaud Martel in due course.

Orrick has over 100 lawyers in Paris having initially launched its office in 2002 and then expanded in 2006 through a merger with local firm Rambaud Martel, which specialised in M&A and dispute resolution work in France.

A spokesperson at Freshfields said: ‘These partners join a firm with a different platform to ours and with a different strategy. We wish them well. We are delighted with the current momentum that our Paris practice has developed in the market which has been reflected in high profile instructions. We look forward to continuing to deliver to our clients in France and internationally the high level of service they want and expect.’

The news comes within a week of a four-strong team exiting Freshfields’ Hamburg office to launch a boutique called Chatham Partners.

At the end of last year, Freshfields announced it was closing its Cologne office, with the bulk of its staff transferring to the firm’s existing Düsseldorf outpost.

Orrick has been expanding this year, with 13 partners joining the US firm including McDermott Will & Emery’s global head of energy Blake Winburne, and DLA Piper’s co-chair of global and US patent litigation Claudia Frost, as the firm launched a new office in Houston in February.

Orrick declined to comment.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Orrick reports bumper promotions including one in London and more women than men

Orrick reports bumper promotions including one in London and more women than men

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has become the latest US firm to announce its partner promotion round making up just one in London from a total of 19.

In the City counsel Andrew Denye was made a partner in the real estate group. Having joined in 2011, Denye’s practice has focused on development and operational renewable energy projects, retail and mixed-use schemes, investment acquisitions and disposals and management redevelopment and financing of shopping centres.

The round is the firm’s largest class since 2007, having grown promotions steadily in the last three years, and is the first in Orrick’s history to make up more females then men with ten women (52%) making the ranks this year. The bumper female promotion round follows Latham & Watkins improving the number of female partner promotions to 48%, up from 16% the year prior.

Orrick’s litigation practice had the largest intake with seven new partners, including two IP litigators, three employment, and one partner in the firm’s securities litigation and white collar team.

The firm also made up five new finance partners, four energy and infrastructure partners, and three tech-focused corporate partners.

Nearly 80% or 15 of the total round have been made up in the US in seven different offices. The remainder of associates were made up in London, Paris, Düsseldorf and Tokyo.

In 2015 and 2014 the firm made up 16 and 15 lawyers to the partnership respectively.

While Orrick only promoted only one in the City, Reed Smith in January focused on London in its 24-strong round with six in the City, while Morrison Foerster promoted just one in London in a round of 12.

The appointments were effective from January 1.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Orrick’s new partners are:

Christopher Gladbach, Energy & Infrastructure, Washington DC

Rohit Sachdev, Energy & Infrastructure, San Francisco

Kristin Seeger, Energy & Infrastructure, San Francisco

Minako Wakabayashi, Energy & Infrastructure, Tokyo

Stephen Ashley, Capital Markets, New York

Augie Rakow, Corporate, Silicon Valley

Christian Schröder, Cybersecurity & Data, Privacy, Düsseldorf

Devin Brennan, Public Finance, San Francisco

Dustin Calkins, Real Estate, San Francisco

Andrew Denye, Real Estate, London

Sarah Rackoff, Public Finance, New York

Nicole Walsh, Real Estate, Los Angeles

Lauri Damrell, Employment Litigation, Sacramento

Renee Phillips, Employment Litigation, New York

Julia Riechert, Employment Litigation, Silicon Valley

Marine Lallemand, Commercial Litigation, Paris

Travis Jensen, IP, Silicon Valley

Christina Von der Ahe Rayburn, IP, Orange County

Lily Becker, Securities Litigation & White Collar, San Francisco

Legal Business

McDermott and DLA Piper partners join Orrick for Houston launch

McDermott and DLA Piper partners join Orrick for Houston launch

Having announced it will open a new office in Houston, 13 partners have joined US firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, including McDermott Will & Emery‘s global head of energy Blake Winburne, and DLA Piper‘s co-chair of global and US patent litigation Claudia Frost.

Winburne will co-lead the firm’s 130-lawyer global energy and infrastructure group, and brings with him two other partners – Matt Archer and Brad Gathright – who both focus on project development and finance.

Alongside Frost, disputes partner and patent litigator Jeffrey Johnson also leaves DLA Piper.

The remainder of the team includes four partners joining from Andrews Kurth; three partners from McGuireWoods; and one lateral partner hire from Susman Godfrey, alongside two partners joining as counsel from Haynes and Boone.

The new office will focus on three main areas: energy and infrastructure, litigation and IP, and public finance, with an aim to serve clients across Latin America in the energy, technology and finance sectors.

Orrick first announced the opening of its Houston office in mid-January and expects to announce seven more partners, at least five of whom are expected to join later this month. One of these will join as the firm’s Houston office head and co-head of the Latin America Group.

The firm’s chairman Mitch Zuklie said: ‘Houston is a vitally important market for our clients and a key hub for the energy and infrastructure and Latin American markets. We are committed to continuing to grow these teams and adding capabilities in areas such as private equity and energy technology that address our clients’ needs and are a strategic fit with our strengths.’

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

A list of the joining partners:

Energy and infrastructure: Latin America and corporate/M&A

Blake Winburne from McDermott Will & Emery

Dahl Thompson from Andrews Kurth

Matt Archer from McDermott Will & Emery

Brad Gathright from McDermott Will & Emery

George Humphrey from Andrews Kurth

Giji John from Andrews Kurth

Darrell Thomas from Andrews Kurth

Litigation: commercial, IP and appellate

Claudia Wilson Frost from DLA Piper

Jeffrey Johnson from DLA Piper

Katherine Treistman from Susman Godfrey

Public finance

Todd Brewer from McGuireWoods

Hoang Vu from McGuireWoods

Marcus Deitz from McGuireWoods

Kathryn Garner from Haynes and Boone (joining as counsel)

J. Kent Friedman from Haynes and Boone (joining as counsel)

Legal Business

Orrick takes Weil Gotshal partner to lead M&A team in Munich

Orrick takes Weil Gotshal partner to lead M&A team in Munich

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has appointed former Weil, Gotshal & Manges partner Thomas Schmid to serve as head of German M&A and private equity.

Recommended for M&A by the Legal 500, Schmid was headhunted from Weil, after sitting across the table from US firm Orrick, whose German M&A partner Jörg Ritter was impressed by Schmid’s commercial insight and skill.

Schmid’s practice focuses on cross-border and domestic private equity, mergers & acquisitions and restructuring transactions. Recent deals included advising US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly on its acquisition of German animal vaccine maker Lohmann SE, and representing German biotech company MorphoSys on various matters including its acquisition of Dutch biopharmaceutical company Lanthio Pharma.

Schmid told Legal Business the new position based in Munich, which he starts in November, would provide him with the ‘entrepreneurial freedom’ which he did not have at his old firm.

‘It was the combination of opportunities from the business, and entrepreneurial freedom, and what they have in their team which has a lot of young talent and backing and commitment to grow its business in the transactions area which attracted me,’ he said. 

While Schmid said he had not asked any colleagues to join him at his new firm, that would be reassessed in a few months’ time.

The German market has not been an easy ride for Orrick, which announced in April it would close its Frankfurt and Berlin offices, focusing on Düsseldorf and Munich. It had first expanded in Germany in 2008 by combining with local firm Hölters & Elsing.

victoria.young@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

BLP boosts Berlin practice by six with lateral hires from Orrick

BLP boosts Berlin practice by six with lateral hires from Orrick

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has hired two partners, Norbert Impelmann and Albrecht von Breitenbuch, along with four other lawyers from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe for its Berlin office.

The hires aim to bolster BLP’s real estate and infrastructure practice in Germany, and follow the appointment of nine legal staff into BLP’s Hong Kong office earlier this year to boost its property practice.

Impleman was Orrick’s office leader in Berlin and head of the firm’s real estate practice group in Germany, while Albrecht was also a partner in Orrick’s Berlin office. Albrecht was a member of the firm’s real estate group and spearheaded Orrick’s technology practice for startups and venture capital investors.

As well as the two partners, senior associate Katharina von Rosenstiel, managing associate Ruben Pisal and associates Henning Bigalke and Maxim Gnatjuk will join, along with four support staff.

The team’s integration into the Berlin office will be led by Roland Fabian, managing partner of BLP Germany and a member of the firm’s board.

Fabian said there was huge potential for BLP in Germany as it was a highly active real estate market. ‘By strengthening our German team, we will ensure that we are at the forefront of this activity and have the best team possible to take advantage,’ he said.

In April this year, US firm Orrick said it would cut its German network by half, and would close is Frankfurt and Berlin offices.

victoria.young@legalease.co.uk