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.

Legal Business

European expansion: Speechlys opens second Swiss base as Pinsents and OC bolster Euro offices through lateral hires

European expansion: Speechlys opens second Swiss base as Pinsents and OC bolster Euro offices through lateral hires

It’s been a year of highs and lows for private client firm Speechly Bircham which, after enduring flat revenues for 2012/13 and unsuccessful merger talks with rival private client firm Withers earlier in the year, has opened an office in Geneva this week. Meanwhile, both Pinsent Masons and Osborne Clarke have made key strategic hires to European offices.

For 221-lawyer Speechlys, Geneva will be the firm’s second office in Switzerland, having opened in Zurich in 2011. According to the firm, the region is home to a third of the world’s privately held wealth and a quarter of the world’s private banking, and subsequently a major hotspot for firms honing in on private client work.

The new office will be headed by private client specialists Michael Wells-Greco and Francis Rojas, and will work alongside head of the firm’s Swiss practice Mark Summers. Ironically, both are former Withers lawyers.

Michael Lingens, senior partner at Speechly said: ‘Growing client demand for joined-up corporate and private wealth expertise made a second presence in Switzerland a logical next move for us.

‘Zurich and Geneva are both important centres for the private banking sector and having an on the ground presence in both cities demonstrates our commitment to the Swiss market.’

Elsewhere, Pinsent Masons’ launch of a French tax practice coincides with the hire of Eugénie Berthet, a partner at Marccus Partners (part of French audit firm Mazars), who specialises in cross-border employee share schemes and international tax planning for individuals. Berthet brings considerable experience to Pinsent Masons, as her industry experience extends to working at Landwell, the legal arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as several years as a tax specialist at French blueblood Bredin Prat and at Slaughter and May.

Berthet rejoins former Marccus Partner colleagues, after Pinsents launched in Paris almost exactly a year ago after hiring a nine-partner team from Marccus, including office head Christoph Maurer, providing corporate, commercial, restructuring, finance, real estate, IT, IP, employment, litigation and arbitration advice.

On the new appointment, Jason Collins, head of tax at the firm said: ‘Eugénie is a standout tax practitioner and her specialisms fit well with a cross-section of our corporate clients as well as our focus on financial services, and the needs of our private wealth clients whose personal and business interests cross many borders. We see significant opportunities around offering cross-border tax advice generally and the growth in share plans specifically.’

Meanwhile, Osborne Clarke has bolstered its Brussels and recently launched Paris offices with the hires of IP specialist Claire Bouchenard, founding partner of Paris boutique B-Cube and corporate and technology lawyer David Haex, who was a managing associate at Linklaters in Brussels. Both will become partners at OC.

The extension of the Paris and Brussels offices come after OC dissolved its European alliance last year, parting ways with Belgium’s De Wolf & Partners, Dutch firm Ploum Lodder Princen and France’s Stehlin & Associés of France, before taking on with Italian and Spanish firms SLA Studio Legale Associato and Osborne Clarke Spain.

Legal Business

Litigation heads from Lloyds Banking and Pinsent Masons leave for US and South African LPO providers

Litigation heads from Lloyds Banking and Pinsent Masons leave for US and South African LPO providers

US legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider Clutch has signalled its intentions to expand its UK presence with the hire of Lloyds Banking Group retail and wealth dispute resolution head Aamir Khan as its general counsel and senior director for the UK and Europe.

The move comes as South African LPO rival Exigent today announced it has hired Pinsent Masons head of litigation Nigel Kissack to join its board as global strategy consultant.

Khan (pictured), who joined Washington, D.C-headquartered Clutch at the end of June, has been brought in to manage key client relationships in the UK as the group moves to meet the needs of UK companies in the face of a sharp increase in legal and regulatory enforcement.

A statement from the company, which works with over 40 of the largest law firms in the US, said: ‘The United States (US) has seen significant ramp up in legal and regulatory enforcement across several industries in recent years. Businesses in the UK and the European Union (EU) are now facing a similar ramp up.’

Clutch’s chief executive officer (CEO), Abhi Shah, added: ‘Aamir is a critical hire that will help to expand our presence in the UK and meet the burgeoning needs of European financial services institutions given the changes occurring in the legal and regulatory environment.’

For Khan, who has observed first-hand the growing demands on the financial services industry, the move is, he says, an opportunity to expand his responsibilities ‘to a more entrepreneurial and business focused position.’

Prior to joining Lloyds, Khan worked as an assistant solicitor in the commercial disputes group at Reed Smith and before that at Hammonds (now Squire Sanders).

Meanwhile Kissack, who had a leading role in Pinsent Masons’ own outsourcing agreements with Exigent, has had a working relationship with the Cape Town-headquartered LPO for a number of years.

He will advise clients on LPO strategy and outsourcing of legal activities across all major practice groups and CEO of Exigent, David Holme, said: ‘We have been working with Nigel for many years changing the way litigation support is delivered at Pinsent Masons. Nigel has a reputation for innovative thinking around legal service delivery.’

Kissack said: ‘The industry is fast evolving and adaptation is going to be critical to success. My keen interest in the use of new technology to add value and make professional services more cost effective will play a major part in all discussions.’

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Squire Sanders, Pinsent Masons and Bird & Bird boost corporate and finance capability

Revolving Doors: Squire Sanders, Pinsent Masons and Bird & Bird boost corporate and finance capability

Squire Sanders has today announced the hire of US Dorsey & Whitney City-based corporate finance partner Matthew Doughty in a week that has also seen Pinsent Masons take on a new head of banking in Birmingham and Bird & Bird boost its finance capability in Frankfurt.

Doughty, who specializes in equity capital markets (ECM) with experience of the New York, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London Stock Exchanges, including AIM, was formerly a partner at Addleshaw Goddard’s City office, from where he joined Squire Sanders in June 2009.

The appointments mark a run of hires for the London office of the top 50 Global 100 firm, after the double hire in December of Berwin Leighton Paisner project finance partner Philippa Chadwick and asset-based lending partner Paula Laird from Wragge & Co.

Elsewhere, David Doogan (pictured) joined Pinsents in May from top-tier public sector firm SGH Martineau, where he held the same role. The move will further bolster the UK top 20 firm’s financial institutions and human capital group, which now has around 260 lawyers following a number of recent hires, including banking and restructuring specialist Claire Massie in Glasgow, restructuring and insolvency partner Richard Tripp in Leeds and national head of banking litigation Michael Isaacs in London.

Head of financial institutions at Pinsent Masons, John Cleland, said: ‘Birmingham remains an important hub for several prominent financial institutions for whom we act around the UK. His experience ties in with all of the key areas of banking and restructuring work which we carry out in Birmingham and adds to our comprehensive coverage around the UK.’

Over on the continent, meanwhile, Bird & Bird has appointed international banking and finance partner Bernhard Gemmel, who will officially move across from Dentons’ Frankfurt office on 1 July.

Gemmel, who is also qualified under French law and advises clients on cross-border activities in both Germany and France, was previously a partner at Wall Street-based Shearman & Sterling and German firm Beiten Burkhardt.

Legal Business

Pinsent Masons’ post merger revenue up by 40%

Pinsent Masons’ post merger revenue up by 40%

Top 20 UK law firm Pinsent Masons has seen its year-on-year turnover increase by 40% from £221m to £309m thanks to its merger with McGrigors in June last year.

The firms, which would have had a combined turnover last year of around £294m, have in real terms seen a growth in revenue of 5%.

The increase comes after a year of international expansion during which Pinsents opened new offices in Munich, Paris and Istanbul, for the first time giving it more offices overseas than in the UK.

The 1500-lawyer firm has also doubled the size of its Shanghai office with the hire of 13 lawyers from US Salans, led by former regional managing partner Bernd-Uwe Stucken and corporate partner Wei Liu, taking the office to around 50 staff. In Singapore it launched a TMT practice with the hire of the founding partner of local IT boutique Keystone Law Corporation.

Announcing this year’s results the firm pointed towards a number of significant client wins including its panel appointments by Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial and UK energy regulator Ofgem, and to several important lots on the Government Procurement Service panel. It was also appointed by Balfour Beatty to advise on complex and critical matters, and act as sole provider on all UK business-as-usual work.

The firm has also made a number of senior hires during the same period, including a four-partner life sciences team from Fasken Martineau’s City office led by Paul Ranson; Dundas & Wilson’s rated restructuring expert Claire Massie to head up its Scotland and Northern Ireland restructuring team; tax specialist Darren Mellor-Clark who joined last month as a non-lawyer partner from KPMG; BP energy disputes specialist John Gilbert and Addleshaw Goddard City-based financial services disputes specialist Michael Isaacs.

However, last year the firm cut 62 support roles and this year made 13 employment fee-earners redundant as it restructured the department, blaming the changed demand across the UK and internationally.

David Ryan, managing partner of Pinsent Masons, said: ‘We are pleased to report a 5% increase in turnover at a time when the UK market in particular remains challenging. The firm has changed dramatically over the past 12 months and we have made significant investment into the business.

‘We continue to see strong demand in global sectors such as energy, infrastructure and advanced manufacturing and technology, particularly in litigation, tax, competition and regulatory. The firm has moved forwards in financial services, with strong growth in insurance and restructuring.’

According to Ryan, the year saw ‘significant and encouraging’ contributions from the new Paris and Munich offices, while Asia Pacific was ‘a real bright spot’, with turnover up by 30% in the region for the second consecutive year.

In addition to international expansion the firm has also focused on developing new services to meet the changing shape of client demand. At the beginning of 2013 it launched Vario, a flexible resources hub to provide qualified lawyers to clients on a contract basis. Earlier this month it launched Cerico, a joint venture with IT consultancy Campbell Nash developed to help large businesses meet global compliance requirements.

Another firm to have seen its 2012-13 results boosted significantly by merger is DWF, which saw its turnover jump by 84% to £188m.

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Chadbourne, A&O, Trowers and Pinsent Masons boost City offering

London dominated the lateral hiring scene over the past week with firms including US Chadbourne & Parke, Allen & Overy (A&O), Eversheds and Pinsent Masons strengthening their City offering.

Chadbourne’s 36-lawyer London office, which acts a hub for the firm’s emerging and developing markets practice, has hired banking and finance partner Partha Pal from the City arm of top 15 US firm Sidley Austin.

‘Strengthening Chadbourne’s banking and finance capabilities in London is critical to enhancing our ability to execute emerging-markets transactions governed by English law,’ said newly-elected regional managing partner Adrian Mecz.

Pal was a partner in Sidley’s global finance group, focussing on banking and structured finance transactions and related restructurings and dispute resolution.

The good news story for the firm’s London office comes days after its New York counterpart lost a three-partner litigation and arbitration team to Hogan Lovells Manhattan office.

Elsewhere, A&O has hired Goldman Sachs lawyer Denise Gibson as a banking partner in its leveraged finance practice. Gibson left the Magic Circle firm two years ago as a senior associate to join the US investment banking giant.

A&O has regularly advised Goldman Sachs as a joint lead arranger on deals such as Tesco Plc’s series of credit-linked CMBS-style financing, led by structured finance partner Christian Lambie and real estate finance partner Arthur Dyson. The sixth in the series, worth £490m, was announced in February this year and involved Goldman Sachs and Barclays as joint lead managers.

In other hires, Eversheds equity capital markets (ECM) head Neil Matthews is leaving to join Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) as a partner in the firm’s London corporate practice. Matthews, who will join FFW in August, has been at Eversheds since 1989, making partner in 1996 advising on IPOs for companies including Abcam, Ilika, May Gurney, Norcon and Plusnet.

FFW managing partner Michael Chissick said the appointment was part of a wider recruitment programme largely covering corporate, which he described as ‘underweight.’

Meanwhile, top 20 UK firm Pinsent Masons has appointed Bircham Dyson Bell’s head of major projects Robbie Owen to head its infrastructure planning and government affairs division within the firm’s planning & environment team, which will now include a parliamentary agency capability at Westminster.

Owen, who will join Pinsents City office later in the summer, is an authorised ‘Roll A’ parliamentary agent authorised by parliament to act as an agent for those promoting and opposing private bills and hybrid bills. He is currently advising on projects including the London Underground’s Northern Line extension and the high-speed HS2 rail line.

Elsewhere, top 50 firm Trowers & Hamlins has hired RadcliffesLeBrasseur’s tax and private client head Simon Goldring as head of private wealth. Goldring has been a partner at RadcliffesLeBrasseur since 2008 before becoming department head in 2009.

Trowers & Hamlins senior partner Jennie Gubbins said: ‘Private wealth is proving an increasingly integral part of our service offering, and with his reputation and experience, Simon is perfectly placed to lead the charge in taking our practice to the next level.’

In a further London hire, City firm Fox Williams has strengthened its employment team with the appointment of Pinsent Masons partner Helen Farr.

Farr has extensive experience in the application of TUPE and has advised on a variety of TUPE transfers, including business acquisitions, mergers, private sector outsourcing and PPP/PFI projects within the private and public sectors.

Jane Mann, head of the employment practice, said: ‘Helen’s expertise across all areas of employment law and her involvement within the financial and professional services sectors make her a brilliant fit for our firm. We are experiencing increased demand from clients in the financial and professional services sectors and are able to offer them a broad range of contentious and non-contentious advice across our specialist teams.’

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