Legal Business

Pinsents expands German presence with double Munich hire

Pinsents expands German presence with double Munich hire

Pinsent Masons is the latest UK firm to announce expansion in Germany, bolstering its Munich office with the hire of competition partner Michael Reich and corporate partner Tobias Rodehau from local firm Arqis.

The appointments, brought in to extend Pinsents’ local reputation particularly in the technology sector, come shortly after the arrival of Sidley Austin tax partner Werner Geisselmeier at the UK top 20 firm’s Munich office in December, the first lateral hire for the base since its launch in 2012.

Reich will provide advice to German speaking clients on a range of litigation and compliance matters and support the firm’s multi-jurisdictional team on pan-European antitrust cases, while Rodehau will add to the existing corporate team and boost the firm’s offering in the technology investment field where he will specialise primarily in technology-focused private equity and venture capital.

Ulrich Lohmann, partner and head of Pinsent Masons’ Munich office, said: ‘We are delighted that Michael and Tobias have agreed to join Pinsent Masons. Their arrival will strengthen Pinsent Masons’ reputation in the German market – in the technology sector in particular – and mark another step in our journey toward becoming a law firm of truly international reach.’

This comes as the firm also announced the launch of its ‘global task force’ to target global work from German businesses operating internationally after identifying a large number of German-qualified lawyers operating throughout its international offices.

The task force is being led by Björn Gehle, head of the German desk in Dubai, Carsten Rumberg, head of the German desk in London, Christoph Maurer, head of the Paris office, Bernd Uwe-Stucken, head of the German desk in Shanghai, and Munich office head, Lohmann.

Lohmann said: ‘Something that has become increasingly clear over the past two years is that we amassed a remarkable number of fully qualified German Rechtsanwälte who are also dual-qualified in their “host” country.

‘This network is proving extremely popular among our client base in Germany, Austria and Switzerland who are increasingly seeking advice on global issues linked to export, supply, distribution and purchasing of goods. This has meant more work around the acquisition of undertakings, entering into joint-ventures and establishment of subsidiaries and branches throughout the world.’

The development at Pinsents comes shortly after rival top 20 firm Eversheds confirmed it is in talks over a full merger with its German partner Heisse Kursawe Eversheds, which recently launched its third German office in Berlin, an ‘obligatory location for commercial law firms.’

The new Berlin office of Heisse Kursawe Eversheds will be headed by senior office partner and employment partner Stefan Kursawe and will cover all areas of commercial law, with a particular emphasis on public law, procurement law and real estate law.

Legal Business

DWF brings in Pinsents partner to take over from Leaitherland as CEO of commercial services

DWF brings in Pinsents partner to take over from Leaitherland as CEO of commercial services

DWF has appointed Pinsent Masons head of financial institutions and human capital Stephen Miles to take over from managing partner Andrew Leaitherland as chief executive officer (CEO) of its commercial services division.

Miles (pictured) will be a member of both DWF’s executive and strategic boards and will report directly to Leaitherland who, prior to this appointment, was undertaking the commercial CEO responsibilities in addition to his managing partner and overall CEO role.

On joining, longstanding Pinsents partner Miles will be responsible for executing the firm’s commercial services strategy. DWF’s commercial services division accounts for approximately £100million of turnover (with the remainder attributable to insurance services), employs over 600 people and has 194 partners. The division’s core strengths are in corporate, banking, employment, litigation and real estate across 12 locations in the UK and Ireland.

Miles will also work closely with chief operating officer Natalie Griffin, who is responsible for operational management within the commercial services division, as well as the three commercial services practice group heads: Nic Crocker; Graham Dagnall; and Alasdair Peacock.

During his time at Pinsents, Miles led its banking and restructuring, financial regulation, and employment and pensions practices, and, in his capacity as a transactional banking lawyer, acted for both financial institutions and corporates including the national acquisition and leveraged finance teams of The Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC.

Leaitherland said: ‘This role is critical to the future development of commercial services at DWF and Stephen’s wealth of management experience, his strong leadership track record and his impressive understanding and insight into changing client needs will give us an exceptional platform for future growth.’

Miles added: ‘DWF is a forward-thinking and ambitious business which is looking to cement its position in the UK top 20 and there is a real opportunity here for me to help develop the firm’s national reputation for commercial legal services and deliver significant growth across the UK. I’m very excited by the prospect of this new challenge.’

Legal Business

Diageo’s consolidated panel unveiled as Slaughters, Addleshaws and Pinsents win a place

Diageo’s consolidated panel unveiled as Slaughters, Addleshaws and Pinsents win a place

Global drinks brand Diageo has appointed Slaughter and May, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons as its ‘general preferred suppliers’ for the UK following a four-month long review.

Confirmed today (31 March), Diageo has since December been reviewing its legal suppliers for the UK (excluding Northern Ireland), resulting in a ‘material consolidation’ of its legal services suppliers. Firms that have previously been reported to be on the FTSE 100 company’s main panel include CMS Cameron McKenna and legacy SJ Berwin.

The trio of LB100 firms will formally take up the role tomorrow (1 April) – tasked with a broad range of commercial services – with the role running to 30 June 2016.

In addition, a number of ‘specialist approved suppliers’ will be appointed to cover areas such as intellectual property, and specialist commercial and contentious work.

In a statement, Diageo said: ‘We do not intend to publicise a list of the “specialist approved suppliers” or comment further on the process or outcome of the review.’

Corporate lawyer Moriarty stepped into the role in mid-July last year, having taken over the 76-lawyer team from Tim Proctor who retired from the company after 13 years. Moriarty previously worked in private practice in London and Dublin before joining Diageo’s in-house team in 1997, where she also worked as corporate M&A counsel and regional counsel for Ireland.

Diageo last carried out a review of its external advisors in 2009.

Slaughters’ well-established relationship with the Diageo team includes corporate partner Simon Nicholls’ role in 2012 advising on the drinks company’s £2.4bn transaction to acquire up to 53.4% in United Spirits Limited, India’s leading spirits company.

Legal Business

Management elections at Pinsents as firm makes up 15 new partners

Management elections at Pinsents as firm makes up 15 new partners

Pinsent Masons is getting ready for its first management elections since current managing partner David Ryan was elected in 1999, after 2012 elections were delayed.

Partners at the top 20 firm will vote for both a managing partner and a senior partner at ‘some stage in the next financial year’, Pinsents confirmed today (31 March) in a statement, with more precise dates yet to be decided.

Both sets of elections had been due to take place in October 2012, but were delayed after the firm merged with McGrigors in May 2012.

Incumbent managing partner Ryan was reappointed in October 2008 following an uncontested election process, having been initially voted in as managing partner of Pinsent Curtis in 1999.

During his time in leadership he has overseen three mergers – the first, with Biddle in 2001, followed by the Masons merger in 2004 and most recently with McGrigors.

Meawhile, Pinsents’ senior partner Chris Mullen took up his second four-year term in July 2008, also after an uncontested election. He initially took up the post in 2005 when longstanding former senior partner Julian Tonks stood down due to ill health.

News of the elections comes as Pinsent Masons also announced today that it has promoted 15 to its partnership this year, up by one on last year when the firm made up 14.

Four of the promotions – which will take effect from 1 May 2014 – are outside the UK, of lawyers in the Shanghai, Dubai and Singapore offices and the first-ever partner promotion in Doha. This is the largest round of international promotions made by the firm to date.

The firm said that in promoting those in energy and natural resources, financial services, infrastructure and advanced manufacturing and technology among others, it was re-affirming its sector focus.

In addition, 16 lawyers will be appointed to the role of legal director.

Ryan said: ‘Pinsent Masons has maintained a strong track-record of investing in and nurturing the best talent in the market over recent years notwithstanding the severity of the global economic downturn.

‘As we continue to expand internationally and see some signs of positive growth returning in the UK, the firm is well-placed to meet the needs of clients in the core sectors and markets in which we operate as a result of those investments. All of our successful candidates should be extremely proud of their achievement.’

Legal Business

LLP latest: Mayer Brown sees revenue dip by 9.5% as Pinsents gains £20m from McGrigors merger

LLP latest: Mayer Brown sees revenue dip by 9.5% as Pinsents gains £20m from McGrigors merger

Mayer Brown has released its LLP results for the year ending 2012/13 for the UK business, reporting a 9.5% loss in revenues while profits are down by 5.5%.

The top 30 Global100 firm’s UK results filed with Companies House on 3 February show its turnover dropped from £105.9m in 2012 to £95.8m last year. Profits also dropped from £22m to £20.8m over the same period, while its operating profits fell from just under £31m in 2012 to £29.1m in 2013.

The firm’s net debt however, also fell to £25.6m in 2013 from nearly £34m in the previous year. Its overdraft, which stood at £3.7m in 2012, was significantly cut to £228,296 during that period, while the cash position at the 1,536-lawyer firm improved from £405,916 in 2011/12 to just over £2m in the last year.

Overall staff headcount fell from 468 to 428, including 44 less support staff and 14 less legal staff compared to the previous year.

Correspondingly, the firm’s staff costs were lower last year, at £31.3m from £34.3m, while the total amount paid out in salaries also decreased to £27m from £29.6m.

Nevertheless, the firm’s highest paid equity member took home slightly more in 2013 at £1.16m, up from £1.05m.

The firm said in the filings that while the business environment continued to be challenging, its members’ profitability has been maintained through managing its cost base, reducing operating expenses by 11% and a decrease in headcount.

Elsewhere, Pinsent Masons accounts revealed that the cost of its merger with Scottish firm McGrigors in May 2012 was £20m, although it received £17m directly from the merger.

The merger also had a significant impact on Pinsent’s 2011/12 turnover, with the top 20 LB100 firm posting a 39% increase in revenue from £220.5m to £306.7m, while profits were up from £62.9m to £85.6m.

McGrigors turnover for the 2011-12 financial year was £43m with a profit of £13m.

The merger also largely accounts for the additional 418 fee-earners who have joined Pinsents, including an extra 39 equity partners and 62 non-equity partners.

The firm’s highest paid member received £590,200, up from £531,600 the previous year.

However, the firm’s overdraft has gone up by over £9m, to £9.7m and its overall costs have risen by 43% to £136m.

Also revealing its last pre-merger figures was Dickinson Dees, which saw its merger with Bond Pearce go live in May 2013. Its filings reveal a modest 3.2% increase in revenues to £47.3m but a slight reduction in profits of 0.6% to just over £12m. This is in contrast to Bond Pearce’s LLP accounts filed in December, which revealed an 11% increase in revenue to £51.8m, up from £46.5m in 2011-12.

Dickinson Dees’ highest paid member received almost 10% more than in the previous financial year, taking home £300,000.

The firm’s borrowing also increased, with its bank overdraft facility up to £2.3m from £1.6m and its net debt having increased by over a £1m to almost £6m.,

Legal Business

Asia-Pacific: Pinsents continues expansion with high-profile appointments in Singapore and Shanghai

Asia-Pacific: Pinsents continues expansion with high-profile appointments in Singapore and Shanghai

Pinsent Masons has continued to develop its Global 100 credentials, this time bulking up its Asia-Pacific corporate capability with the hire of a three-partner team in Singapore from leading local firm KhattarWong and a further senior appointment in Shanghai from SJ Berwin (now part of King & Wood Mallesons). These latest appointments add to a number of key hires made by Pinsents in the region over the course of last year.

In Singapore, partners Perry Yuen, Kelvyn Oo and Bethia Su will join the firm from KhattarWong’s general corporate and commercial advisory practice in early 2014 along with up to five associates.

The team has experience in joint ventures, M&A and compliance issues and has acted on the unwinding of investors PT Borneo’s and Bakrie’s joint interests in international mining group Bumi.

These are the only three partners listed for M&A and general corporate advisory work on KhattarWong’s website and their exits follow the departure of a 50-lawyer team that formed RHTLaw in 2011, later becoming Taylor Wessing’s Singapore outfit in July 2012.

Pinsents has also appointed the former head of SJ Berwin’s Shanghai office, Philipp Senff, as a senior lawyer into the firm’s corporate practice. A German-qualified lawyer, Senff will focus on advising manufacturing and industrial clients operating in China.

Pinsents’ Asia head Ian Laing said: ‘These appointments are a real statement of intent for the firm. We have had 30% turnover growth in Asia Pacific for each of the past two years and are confident about our future prospects.

‘Singapore has cemented its place as a regional hub for South East Asia, in particular Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia. Meanwhile Shanghai remains a crucial centre of manufacturing for China with strong links into Europe through Munich. We have a significant opportunity to win greater corporate work in a number of important areas.’

Head of Pinsents’ corporate practice Andrew Masraf said: ‘We have made significant investment into the Asia Pacific region in recent years, with the doubling of our team in Shanghai in 2012 and the launch of a TMT practice in Singapore in 2013. This latest wave of investment will have a transformational impact on our corporate capability in region, allowing us to service work emanating from our clients in the energy, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors which until now we have had to turn away.’

This news marks the latest phase of expansion for the firm’s Asia Pacific practice after it brought in Bryan Tan from local IT boutique Keystone Law Corporation to launch the firm’s TMT practice in Singapore, while in June 2012 the firm appointed Bernd Uwe Stucken and Liu Wei from legacy Salans’ Shanghai office.

Recent work for the firm’s corporate practice included advising Octal Capital on the listing of Willas-Array Electronics (Holdings) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and assisting Quam Capital as sponsors on the HK$100m listing of U Banquet Holdings and China Binary Sale Technology on the Hong Kong Growth Enterprise Market.

Other recent hires for the firm elsewhere in the world include a six-strong team from Paris-based technology boutique firm Ichay & Mullenex Avocats (IMA), led by partners Diane Mullenex and Frédéric Ichay, along with Annabelle Richards who joined as a legal director, brought in to launch its Paris TMT team.

Legal Business

Team hire: Pinsents boosts Paris practice with TMT hires from local boutique

Team hire: Pinsents boosts Paris practice with TMT hires from local boutique

Pinsent Masons has launched a Paris TMT practice with a six-strong team from Paris-based boutique technology firm Ichay & Mullenex Avocats (IMA).

Led by partners Diane Mullenex and Frédéric Ichay, along with Annabelle Richards who joins as a legal director, the team will bolster Pinsents’ around 25-strong French base, which opened in September 2012 and includes 10 partners.

Since forming in 2004, IMA has focused on technology, telecoms, e-commerce transactions and in regulated online businesses, including gaming and gambling and is recommended in The Legal 500.

Work for IMA has included acting for a major European telecoms operator on international projects including the financing and management of a mobile network in Afghanistan, and a telecoms investment and regulatory project in Kosovo under the mandate of United Nations.

Mullenex and Ichay advised the Dubai Sovereign Fund on a telecommunications project in Mali as part of the privatisation of the national incumbent and subsequently assisted the successful consortium on obtaining a third telecoms licence.

Mullenex will head the firm’s international telecoms practice and continue her current role as co-chair of the IBA Communications Committee. She will also head up the firm’s gambling and gaming practices.

Clive Seddon, Head of TMT and sourcing at Pinsent Masons, said: ‘Our ambition and strategy is to become a tier one global technology practice. The market for TMT services remains strong internationally, with technology and sourcing projects, commercial TMT work – including e-business and data projects – and TMT renegotiations giving rise to significant multi-jurisdictional transactions.

‘Diane is a prominent name in the international market, while Frédéric and Annabelle also come with stand-out reputations. They enhance our cross-border capabilities in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Gulf and Africa, and complement the existing IP-focused practice in Paris led by Emmanuel Gougé. Our client base is global and the arrival of this team will allow us to offer clients truly joined-up international TMT services.’

The hires come shortly after Pinsents launched a French tax practice with the hire of partner Eugénie Berthet from Marccus Partners who rejoined his former colleagues after the firm opened in Paris last year through the hire of a team from Marccus Partners.

Legal Business

London Boroughs’ Legal Alliance halves panel as Pinsents, TLT and Ashford reappointed

London Boroughs’ Legal Alliance halves panel as Pinsents, TLT and Ashford reappointed

The London Boroughs’ Legal Alliance (LBLA) has joined the rising number of organisations to drastically slim down its roster of legal advisers in a bid to achieve better value after revamping its panel for the third time in four years.

The LBLA, which includes the London boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, the City of London Corporation and the West London Waste Authority, more than halved its legal panel to seven in its latest review.

The only new entrant to the two-tier panel, which is worth an estimated £5m over three years, is Freeth Cartwright, which has been appointed to advise on complex regeneration, development, property and planning work alongside Ashfords, Bevan Brittan, Sharpe Pritchard, and TLT.

The second tier of the panel, which covers a range of mainstream legal services including litigation, contracts, procurement, PPP/PFI, property and employment, sees Ashfords, Sharpe Pritchard and TLT again appointed to advise alongside Pinsent Masons and Michelmores.

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea acted as central purchasing body on the procurement exercise, which was led by specialist legal consultancy Kennedy Cater.

Vivienne Horton, director at Kennedy Cater, said: ‘We are delighted by the response to this rigorous procurement process, which has delivered firms with recognised expertise and experience in local government who are well placed to provide the LBLA authorities with legal support that fulfils the significant cost and quality criteria required.’

Tasnim Shawkat, bi-borough director of law at Kensington and Chelsea added: ‘This is a great outcome for the LBLA – delivering once again a panel of firms committed to delivering exceptional service and supporting the challenging and wide ranging work being undertaken by our in-house legal teams. We are particularly pleased with the competitive rates achieved, which show a reduction on those under the old framework.’

Haringey Council and other authorities in London and the South East, although not members of the alliance, will be able to have access to this panel.

The LBLA’s first panel framework, which was established in 2009 saw 16 firms appointed including Eversheds, Kennedys and legacy Dickinson Dees.

Legal Business

Party for one: E.ON appoints Pinsent Masons as its sole UK adviser

Party for one: E.ON appoints Pinsent Masons as its sole UK adviser

The single-supplier legal advisory model appears to be gaining traction as Pinsent Masons has won its second exclusive fixed-fee contract this year, with energy giant E.ON appointing the firm as sole legal advisor for general matters, a first in the energy sector.

The terms of the arrangement mean E.ON’s UK legal function will reduce its roster of legal advisers to just one. The five-year deal will ‘encompass work across a full range of specialist legal services,’ a statement said today (3 Oct).

E.ON’s current in-house UK legal team will continue to carry out a significant proportion of work, while the energy group’s central legal function (based in Dusseldorf) and specialist legal teams, such as City-based E.ON Exploration & Production UK will retain separate panels, including a small number of UK firms.

The news comes after Pinsents revealed at the end of March that it had won the contract to supply all of infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty’s business-as-usual legal work.

The latest deal is a major coup for the firm and a sign that the certainty, cost effectiveness and relationship benefits of the single supplier model – which had yet to take off after the initial interest surrounding Eversheds retainer with Tyco in 2006 – is growing in popularity among clients.

Graham Line, Head of UK legal at E.ON UK, said: ‘This is an exciting and innovative partnership, not to mention a first in the UK energy sector. The legal function at E.ON has a prominent role to play in ensuring that our customers are treated fairly, and giving the business confidence as it makes infrastructure investments that are helping to keep the lights on now and in the future. We want to deliver a high-quality, high-value service to the business, and Pinsent Masons demonstrated through their approach and knowledge of the sector that they are the right partner to achieve that.’

Pinsent Masons partner Jonathan Fortnam (pictured) who led on the deal, added: ‘E.ON is an impressive business which plays a vital role in the UK energy market. This arrangement will allow us to support them through the provision of a broad spectrum of specialist legal services, and give us the ability to develop the type of long-term, sustainable relationship that is key to true partnership.’

The advisory model pioneered by Tyco International six years ago saw the Swiss security group cull its roster of 250 law firms to just one.

Other similar deals to have been forged in recent years includes Baker & McKenzie’s three-year contract with Unilever in 2007 to service its global trade mark and IT work for around £10m annually. Bakers went on to sign an open-ended £10m-plus a year deal with Carlsberg in December 2010 for all corporate, commercial and disputes work, followed by a £3m, three-year contract with Colt in Europe in January 2012.

For more in-depth analysis on the single-supply model, see Three steps forward… will Tyco-style deals ever sweep the market?

Legal Business

Eversheds, Pinsent Masons and DLA Piper lead the UK pack in The Legal 500

National heavyweights score for breadth of recommendations as CC shines in the City

Eversheds has once again emerged as the most recommended law firm in this year’s The Legal 500 UK edition, which was released at the end of September. The top-20 Legal Business 100 firm achieved 198 recommendations overall, thanks in part to its significant City and national coverage.

The three top-ranking firms in the 2013 directory are consistent with last year, when Eversheds gained 202 recommendations in total. Pinsent Masons again appeared in second place with 179 recommendations, while the world’s largest firm by revenue, DLA Piper, was placed third with 155. Two new entrants are featured in fourth and fifth places this year, largely due to significant consolidation. DWF, which rose dramatically to the top 25 of the LB100 after completing five mergers in around two years, came recommended 128 times, while Bond Pearce and Dickinson Dees, which combined to form Bond Dickinson on 1 May, managed 114 recommendations.