Legal Business

Revolving doors: International firms return to hiring season with multiple City and global recruits

Revolving doors: International firms return to hiring season with multiple City and global recruits

International law firms have returned from the summer break in acquisition mode, with Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bird & Bird, Taylor Wessing, Reed Smith and Pinsent Masons all hiring in London and Asia, while Sidley, Dentons and Osborne Clarke are expanding their continental European footprint.

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has this morning (11 September) announced the appointment of three new international disputes partners to further strengthen its litigation and corporate risk (LCR) practice.

George Burn joins BLP from Vinson & Elkins as head of international arbitration later this month, while Gavin Margetson, formerly of Herbert Smith Freehills, has been hired to lead the firm’s regional arbitration hub in Singapore. Based in London, Richard Chalk is an international disputes and investigations partner, who was previously at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London and Hong Kong.

BLP global head of LCR Nathan Willmott said these appointments are a direct result of a recent LCR strategy review. ‘The strategy review was an important milestone for us as a department. With so many of the team involved, it’s meant our future really is a collective effort. These hires all demonstrate our intent to get on with the job and start delivering on a global scale’.

Bird & Bird has added to its equity capital market capabilities with the hire of Clive Hopewell and Adam Carling from Charles Russell Speechlys (CRS).

Hopewell will lead the practice expansion in London, building on the Middle East contacts made while heading CRS’s operations in Bahrain. Speaking to Legal Business, he said: ‘Bird & Bird has a very substantial presence in Europe, Asia and Australia. The firm has an established office in Abu Dhabi and an established presence in Dubai. I’ll go there two or three times a year to help introduce them to clients.’

Carling has experience in Africa and has advised on mining deals on the continent. Neil Blundell, head of Bird & Bird’s London corporate group, said the hires would ‘further increase our reputation in the mining and oil and gas sectors’.

Meanwhile, Taylor Wessing turned to Paul Hastings to bring Mark Rajbenbach into its real estate team.

Keith Barnett, head of real estate at the firm – which now has more than 60 lawyers in its core London real estate group and more than 100 working on real estate across the London base – said the addition of Rajbenbach was ‘very exciting for our team, particularly in corporate real estate and the hotels area’.

Rajbenbach was at SJ Berwin & Co before joining Paul Hastings, and his clients have included Invesco Real Estate, Starwood Capital, Evans Randall, Hilton, London & Regional, Schroders and RRAM Energy.

Elsewhere, Reed Smith has hired Leith Moghli as a partner in its global private equity and investment funds practice in London. Moghli left Kirkland & Ellis in April, where he had been a salaried partner since October 2014 in the funds practice.

Pinsent Masons has appointed Chris Richardson to lead its new forensic accounting service (FAS). He joins the firm after 16 years in the fraud investigations team at EY.

In Brussels, Sidley Austin has hired Wim Nauwelaerts from Hunton & Williams. Nauwelaerts advises on EU and international data protection and privacy compliance, including preparation for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

He told Legal Business: ‘Sidley Austin is one of the prominent firms in Brussels and I am very excited about the prospect of expanding their global data protection practice.’

Also in Europe, Dentons strengthened its M&A and capital markets practices with the addition of Shaohui Zhang, who joins as head of the China desk in Luxembourg from Allen & Overy, and Antonella Brambilla in the corporate and M&A practice in Milan from local firm Chiomenti.

Dentons Italy managing partner Federico Sutti told Legal Business: ‘In Italy we see signs of recovery in equity capital markets. Antonella has the standing and the experience to allow Dentons to play a role in this in the near future.’

Finally, Osborne Clarke has announced the opening of a new office in Stockholm, led by Fredrik von Baumgarten and Henrik Bergström. Von Baumgarten joins from his own firm Baumgarten Byström Rooth & Partners and was previously a partner at Nordic firms Hannes Snellman and Vinge, while Bergström was previously at Bird & Bird.

Simon Beswick, international chief executive at Osborne Clarke, said: ‘Not only is Sweden the third most active M&A market in Europe and growing faster than most other European economies, it’s a key market for many of our core sector clients.’

The Sweden office means the firm now has 25 international bases in Europe and Asia.

marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Unshakeable integrity and commitment’: Bristows joint managing partner Savvides dies in cycling accident

‘Unshakeable integrity and commitment’: Bristows joint managing partner Savvides dies in cycling accident

London head-quartered firm Bristows is mourning the death of joint managing partner Theo Savvides, who tragically passed away on 10 July following a cycling accident in France.

Intellectual property (IP) partner Savvides joined Bristows three years ago from Osborne Clarke and was made joint managing partner in 2016. Having trained at Allen & Overy, he was also an associate at the Magic Circle firm until 2002.

Savvides, who was born in 1968, advised clients for over twenty years on a board range of IP matters in the media, technology, retail, consumer products, automotive and life sciences sectors.

He led Bristows copyright and digital litigation practice and recently worked on the high profile search engine trade mark case, Marks & Spencer v Interflora. He also worked for many other high-profile clients of the firm, including Sony and Spotify. Well-known within the international IP law community, he also worked for the International Trademark Association.

In a statement, Bristows stated: ‘Theo joined us only three years ago, but in that short time he made an enormous and enduring contribution to this firm. With his boundless energy and unwaveringly positive outlook, Theo took everything in his stride and embraced any and all challenges that came before him.’

‘Theo was one of our joint managing partners at the time of his death, and in that role he enjoyed the absolute trust and confidence of his partners and colleagues. His unshakable integrity and commitment to the firm and its values made him an obvious choice for the job, and he undertook it with the enthusiasm, wisdom and thoughtfulness that underpinned his great professional success as a lawyer.

The firm also stated that in his daily work, ‘Theo was respected and admired not only for his considerable talents, but also for his kindness, patience and willingness to listen to others. Theo strove tirelessly to be the best that he could be – as a lawyer, partner, manager and friend – and in doing so he enriched the lives of all those around him.’

kathryn.mccann@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Linklaters and Osborne Clarke latest to make moves in Shanghai

Linklaters and Osborne Clarke latest to make moves in Shanghai

Magic Circle firm seeks local joint venture as OC opens fledgling practice

Linklaters and Osborne Clarke (OC) are the latest Legal Business 100 firms to make moves in Shanghai, with the Magic Circle firm finally putting its plans in play to practise local law.

Legal Business

OC team sets up boutique as Andersen launches in Cologne

OC team sets up boutique as Andersen launches in Cologne

Six lawyers from Osborne Clarke’s (OC) procurement team have left to establish a new law firm in Cologne, named Esch Bahner Lisch. Andersen Tax & Legal has also opened an offfice in the same German city last week.

Partners Oliver Esch and Karsten Lisch have moved with the OC procurement team and set up the new boutique. Counsel Hanna Bahner also joins the group.

The news comes as OC revealed double-digit growth in global revenues, up 12% from €219.6m to €245.1m, while UK revenue rose 7% from £112.9m to £121m, accounting for 58% of the firm’s total turnover. The rise is lower than last year’s turnover figures. 

Meanwhile, Andersen Tax & Legal has launched in Cologne with a ten-lawyer team from Luther.

Corporate partners Stefan Kraus and Hermann Knott co-lead the team.

Kraus was significantly involved in setting up Andersen Legal, from which Andersen Tax was founded, in Germany and abroad. Knott has previously worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

The office is Andersen’s third location in Germany. San Fransisco-based law firm Andersen Global merged with local outfit Alegis in 2015, which will eventually be rebranded Andersen Tax & Legal.

Madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Financials 2016/17: OC posts double-digit growth in global revenue despite Brexit woes

Financials 2016/17: OC posts double-digit growth in global revenue despite Brexit woes

Osborne Clarke (OC) has posted double-digit growth in global revenues, up 12% from €219.6m to €245.1m, while UK revenue rose 7% from £112.9m to £121m, accounting for 58% of the firm’s total turnover.

Although the LB100 firm has seen 12% global revenue growth, this is a drop in percentage terms from last year, when OC posted a 23% increase in global revenues, with a 17% UK revenue gain.

OC’s UK managing partner Ray Berg told Legal Business that the firm was pleased with the results, which he said demonstrated growth despite tough market conditions.

‘As we get bigger it becomes harder to maintain such a high level of growth but actually, looking back at the last twelve months, Brexit and all the uncertainty around that, we are really pleased with the overall performance of the business.’

In addition to UK revenue growth, OC saw net profit increase 5% from £49.8m to £52.5m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) grew from £635,000 to £652,000.

Berg added: ‘The growth in revenue is more to do with a degree of Brexit impact which was felt across the business for sure. It almost felt like you had a ten-and-a-half/eleven month year rather than a full twelve months in the sense that there was that slow down.

‘So that plus the fact that if you look at the firm in its totality some of the newer jurisdictions are well established they are going to have less growth overall.’

‘Last year UK revenue was circa 62-63% of overall revenue. Again what is really pleasing is to see that the international platform is really working for us now. The number of clients we are being instructed by on a multijurisdictional basis is increasing. It is a real flow of work across all the offices,’ Berg added.

During the last financial year, OC UK’s cash resources increased 29% to £33.4m, in contrast to £25.8m in 2015/16, which Berg said resulted from ‘better financial management’.

Deal highlights for the firm included closing two transactions for Grifols, the first a $1.85bn financing for the acquisition of a nucleic acid testing business owned by Hologic, while the second concerned a $6.3bn refinancing – the second-largest financing of a Spanish company.

New UK client wins for the firm last year include Yahoo! and Homebase/Bunnings.

The firm also targeted further growth in Asia, opening an office in Shanghai last month under the name Zhang Yu & Partners, which brought in two partners and six other lawyers.

The opening follows OC’s associations with OC Queen Street in Singapore last August and Hong Kong based Koh Vass & Co in 2015. The firm also has a relationship with BTG Legal, founded by former co-head of Osborne Clarke’s India Group, Prashant Mara.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘A major step forward’: Osborne Clarke extends Asia footprint with Shanghai launch

‘A major step forward’: Osborne Clarke extends Asia footprint with Shanghai launch

Osborne Clarke (OC) has opened in Shanghai under the name Zhang Yu & Partners, bringing on two partners and six other lawyers.

Guohua Zhang and Steve Yu have joined OC to head up the office in mainland China. The pair have both been based at a number of prominent law firms during their careers. Yu was previously Shanghai managing partner at Armstrong Teasdale. Before joining the US firm in 2012 he was a partner at CMS for two years and was previously at Eversheds Sutherland and Jones Day.

Zhang was a consultant on secondment with Koh Vass & Co, an association firm of OC based in Hong Kong and was previously a partner at Bird & Bird.

The office will initially focus on opportunities for clients in the digital business and consumer products sectors and will offer cross-border advisory services for OC’s sector clients with requirements in mainland China.

Yu and Zhang will be joined by six lawyers trained in China, the UK and the US who specialise in IT, data and employment law. In a statement, the firm said the team will be joined by more partners, further legal recruits and business services support later this year.

The opening follows OC’s associations with OC Queen Street in Singapore last August and Hong Kong based Koh Vass & Co in 2015. The firm also has a relationship with BTG Legal, founded by former co-head of Osborne Clarke’s India Group, Prashant Mara.

OC international chief excecutive Simon Beswick told Legal Business: ‘OC set out to transform itself from being an English law firm to a European law firm. Then the focus was really to extend from being European to a Eurasian law firm around four bases. Initially it was Hong Kong and Singapore being the gateways into Asia, but also what we could do around Mumbai and Shanghai. Today, with the announcement of Shanghai, is very much the completion of the initial build of OC as a Eurasian law firm.’

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Life during law: Ray Berg, Osborne Clarke

Life during law: Ray Berg, Osborne Clarke

My dad was a cab driver and my mum a factory worker. She was also a photographer’s assistant and met my dad at a wedding. After that she vowed to never drink again because she met my dad.

I went to a local state school in Wembley. I got into Oxford. There weren’t many people who went to university from that school. It was a very varied background; English wasn’t the first language for probably half of the kids at home. But it was a good school and I had teachers that cared.

Legal Business

Linklaters last Magic Circle firm to post spring trainee retention rates as Osborne Clarke keeps 100%

Linklaters last Magic Circle firm to post spring trainee retention rates as Osborne Clarke keeps 100%

Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright and Osborne Clarke have all posted their spring trainee retention rates, with Osborne Clarke keeping 100% of its qualifiers for the second spring in a row.

Linklaters will keep 86% of its trainees, with 44 out of 51 trainees from the cohort staying on to become newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers. There were three resignations in the process. Linklaters rate is better than last year when 83% of trainees were kept on, a selection of 45 from a wider pool of 54.

Richard Hodgson, Linklaters trainee solicitor partner, commented: ‘This figure demonstrates our consistency in producing great results when it comes to developing and retaining the future of the firm.’

An even higher percentage was claimed by Osborne Clarke, with 100% of its six trainees making the grade. The NQs will be based across the firm’s three UK offices in London, Bristol and Thames Valley and have specialisms in real estate, corporate finance, commercial and employment. Osborne Clarke also posted a 100% score in last year’s round, with all seven trainees being retained.

Norton Rose has posted a 50/50 gender split in its trainee retention round, which saw 83% of 24 trainees qualify. However, rates are significantly lower than last year when 22 of 23 trainees, a figure of 96%, were retained.

Earlier this month, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer posted a retention rate of 84%, keeping on 31 of its 37 trainees. Fellow Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy recorded an 82% retention rate, significantly down from last spring’s figure of 91%. Slaughter and May lead the Magic Circle in terms of retention, with all of its 25 trainees being kept on.

This spring, Clifford Chance (CC) lagged behind the rest of the Magic Circle, keeping on just 31 of its 46 trainees, 67% of its cohort. 43 of CC’s 46 trainees applied for a contract, CC made 33 offers and retained 31. In spring 2016, CC retained 80% of its trainees.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

 

Legal Business

KWM latest: European partnership buys more time before administration as Osborne Clarke takes top biller Couter

KWM latest: European partnership buys more time before administration as Osborne Clarke takes top biller Couter

King & Wood Mallesons‘ (KWM) European partnership has filed a new intention of notice to appoint administrators as the firm continues to leak partners. The previous notice has now expired, having been valid for ten working days since 22 December when it was filed.

The new extension will give the firm’s various suitors more time to finalise deals to take on parts of the legacy business, including agreements about work in progress within already announced team moves such as those going to DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig, Reed Smith and KWM’s Chinese arm.

However, the second notice may not necessarily last for another ten days, as such notices can be halted at any point by the firm or its creditors.

In London, the Chinese arm is reportedly targeting the banking, corporate and litigation teams.

Meanwhile, Osborne Clarke has made a key hire with top ten biller Rachel Couter. Couter had been a partner at KWM since 2010 and was head of the firm’s contentious financial services regulatory practice.

Her hire follows Osborne Clarke’s appointment of Addleshaw Goddard finreg partner Nikki Worden.

Baker Botts has hired the firm’s head of energy and infrastructure, James Douglass as Mishcon de Reya has also taken on partner Shaistah Akhta to join its disputes team. In addition Squire Patton Boggs has appointed real estate partner John Danahy from KWM, who will be joining the firm’s London office.

Danahy focuses on energy and infrastructure real estate, as well as traditional real estate development and property investment work. His energy sector experience encompasses conventional, renewable and nuclear power, distributed energy networks and rail infrastructure and pipelines.

Separately, Simmons & Simmons also announced it has hired from KWM in financial markets and banking, with co-head of KWM’s Africa group Cindy Valentine and banking partner Jen Yee Chan joining the firm.

Valentine has a core focus on Africa and a strong track record in the private fund formation and investment sector while Chan’s practice focuses on funds finance and general bank lending.

Legal Business reported earlier this week that subject to due diligence, Reed Smith is likely to take on the largest group of partners from the global giant’s beleaguered European arm.

The US firm is talking to partners in France, Germany and London, and has been targeting practices such as financial regulation, funds, tax and private equity.

Among others, it is in talks with KWM’s finreg team in London led by partner David Calligan, M&A specialist Mark Sanders, co-head of funds in Paris Arnaud David, head of tax Sylvie Vansteenkiste and head of EU, competition and regulatory Marc Levy in Paris, among others.

georgiana.tudor@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

First Osborne Clarke LLPs show revenue up as highest paid member takes home 22% more

First Osborne Clarke LLPs show revenue up as highest paid member takes home 22% more

Osborne Clarke (OC) has published its first set of LLP results for its UK and US offices which show an increase in annual revenue of 17% to £114.7m from £98.2m, while the firm’s highest paid member took home a fifth more than the year prior.

According to the pro-forma figures for the year to 2015/16, the firm’s highest paid member was paid 22% more than last year, taking home £913,000, up from £748,000 the year before. The figures in the LLP accounts do not necessarily equate to the highest paid equity member and can relate to ‘golden handshakes’ to retiring members.

There have been increases across the board, with cash increasing 44% to £261m, while the number of partners has risen 9% to 112 and the number of lawyers is up 11% to 331.

Staff costs also rose, from £33m in 2015 to £37.8m in 2016, while the staff costs from November 2015 to April 2016 stands at almost £20m.

The LLPs show the firm had 331 fee earners up from 299 the year prior, and 138 PAs, up from 127 the year before. OC had also upped the number of business services staff from 565 to 631, an increase of 12%.

The accounts don’t include the firm’s Asia and Europe offices, which operate in a Swiss Verein under Osborne Clarke International.

The LLP’s also state that the firm has no external borrowing, with members capital used for funding investments.

In May, the firm posted its global results, enjoying double digit growth across both its global offices and in the UK for the financial year 2015/16.

The firm posted a 23% increase in global revenues from €191.6m to €236.3m; in the UK growth was slightly slower, up 17% from £96.5m to £112.9m. According to the firm, OC’s six sector groups which includes infrastructure, life sciences and digital business, account for over 90% of its UK revenues.

In September the firm continued the second phase of its international growth by entering into a formal association with new Singaporean firm, OC Queen Street.

Set up by a former partner of Bird & Bird ATMD, Chia-Ling Koh, OC Queen Street will focus on IT, data and IP, and will initially serve clients in the digital and fintech sectors. Koh will be joined later in the year by further partners and support staff.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk