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

SJ Berwin star David Ryland moves to Paul Hastings as US firms reap benefit of UK vets

SJ Berwin star David Ryland moves to Paul Hastings as US firms reap benefit of UK vets

Only four days after its merger went live with King & Wood Mallesons and SJ Berwin has lost leading real estate partner David Ryland to Paul Hastings in London, as US firms also continue to reap the benefit of offering better later life partner opportunities than their UK counterparts.

Ryland, who was the relationship partner for clients including Hilton and private equity fund Evans Randell, specialises in commercial real estate with a focus on UK and European property funds.During his 25 years at SJ Berwin he advised banks, fund managers, hotel operators and investors in the real estate, funds and corporate real estate sectors on investment mechanisms such a limited partnerships and offshore trusts.

‘Our partners in London have been involved in deals with David and have followed his career with admiration and respect,’ said Ronan O’Sullivan, chair of the London office. ‘Attracting partners of David’s outstanding reputation and experience is an important part of our strategy in London and we look forward to David working with all of our leading clients.’

Ryland’s departure mean SJ Berwin has lost two real estate partners in two months, after Pat Jones left for Mayer Brown in October. Another high profile exit later last month saw private equity partner Ed Harris join Hogan Lovells.

The departures come as SJ Berwin’s merger with King & Wood Mallesons went live on November 1, creating a partnership of 553 partners and 2,233 lawyers with 30 offices across Australia, China, Hong Kong and Europe, with former SJ Berwin partners predicting a period of further fallout.

However, Ryland is also one of a number of rated veteran UK partners to move to a US firm in London, including legacy Herbert Smith litigator Ted Greeno who joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in March this year, as US firms reap the benefit of a more relaxed attitude to retirement age and attaching a higher value to longevity of experience in the market’s leading players.

Legal Business

Paul Hastings: Paul Who?

Paul Hastings: Paul Who?

Ronan O’Sullivan joined the small London operation of Paul Hastings as a senior associate seven years ago; now he’s running the office. LB meets the man with plans to give the top-30 US firm the success it craves on this side of the pond

Paul Hastings’ Ronan O’Sullivan is an ambitious soul. Described by peers as ‘punchy and hard-charging’, the firm’s slick and charismatic London chair talks confidently about doubling the office’s 50-lawyer headcount in the next five years.

‘I think we’ve got to the stage in London where we are part of the community. We are doing very high-end work. The challenge for us is the next five to seven years,’ says O’Sullivan. ‘Doubling in size; that would be our expectation.’