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.’

To be included in future Revolving Door round-ups send your lateral hire announcements to

Legal Business

Three steps forward… will Tyco-style deals ever sweep the market?


As infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty signs up Pinsent Masons as its sole legal adviser for general matters, Legal Business asks why the trend for single-supplier deals hasn’t really taken off yet.

The single-supplier legal advisory model pioneered by Tyco International has resurfaced yet again. In April, infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty announced a radical overhaul of its panel arrangements, selecting Pinsent Masons as its sole adviser for all its ‘business as usual’ legal work. The three-year contract with Pinsents, which was agreed for an undisclosed amount, will cover all repetitive and predictable legal work that the firm faces on a daily basis.

Legal Business

Pinsents boosts partnership by fourteen


Pinsent Masons has promoted 14 lawyers to its partnership with a further 11 awarded the position of legal director.

The firm made up 11 partners across its UK offices and a further three in Asia, in the second round of promotions since its merger with Scottish firm McGrigors last May.

The number of partnership promotions have increased by one on last year, with the energy and real estate sectors the biggest winners, at four partner promotions each. Financial services will receive two and corporate, infrastructure, sport and TMT will receive one each when the promotions take effect on 1 May.

The City office sees sports lawyer James Earl, real estate lawyer Simon Gardiner and Tom Cartwright in financial services move up the ranks. In Manchester, energy lawyer Ian Stubbs was made up alongside real estate specialist Nicola Buchanan, and in Leeds real estate lawyer James Long and financial services lawyer Philip Scott become partners.

In Scotland, real estate lawyer Paul Connolly and energy lawyer Scott Johnston have been promoted in the Glasgow office, as have energy lawyers Chris McGarvey and Richard Scott in Edinburgh and Aberdeen respectively.

In the firm’s Asia offices, Shanghai will see corporate lawyer Amanda Yao move up along with TMT specialist Paul Haswell in Hong Kong and infrastructure lawyer Ellen Zhang in Beijing.

The firm has also promoted 11 others to legal director status, with three in London, two in Manchester, one in Leeds, four in Scotland and one in Shanghai.

The announcement is the latest of a series of firm partner promotions, which also saw SJ Berwin promote five lawyers to partner in April. Other firms to have announced their partner promotions are Holman Fenwick, Nabarro and Irwin Mitchell.

Legal Business

Pinsent Masons launches Singapore TMT practice with key local hire


Pinsent Masons has launched a technology media and telecoms (TMT) practice in its Singapore office through the hire of local specialist Bryan Tan. Tan is moving from

Keystone Law Corporation, a boutique law firm in Singapore specialising in TMT, where he was founding partner and director.

Tan also founded Singaporean heavyweight Rajah & Tann’s leading technology group and also has experience working at Baker & McKenzie and another leading Singaporean firm, Allen & Gledhill.

Tan told Legal Business: ‘It’s a great opportunity, Pinsent Masons is on the up. The firm is aligned to my area of practice and there is great growth potential.’

Clive Seddon, head of TMT at Pinsent Masons, said: ‘Bryan’s arrival shows Pinsent Masons’ commitment to become a leading global TMT and sourcing practice, serving international and regional clients.’

Tan will lead and develop the TMT and commercial practice in Singapore and source work locally and internationally working closely with Peter Bullock in Hong Kong.

‘It’s a growing market, most Fortune 500 companies come here more than anywhere else in Asia, it’s especially good opportunity for localised lawyers,’ said Tan.

Pinsent Masons represents a good opportunity for Tan, as although the firm does not have the qualifying foreign law practice licence (QFLP) needed to practise Singapore law, its has been in a joint venture with local firm MPillay since 2010.

David Ryan, Pinsent Masons’ managing partner, said: ‘Bryan is a significant appointment for us in Singapore given its increasing prominence as a global hub for the technology sector.’

A rival local practitioner suggested that the increased presence of international firms in Singapore was a key motivating factor behind the move. ‘I think the local firms are feeling the chill wind of competition and there is still a perception gap between an international law firm platform and a local platform from clients,’ they said.

Legal Business

Redundancies: Pinsent Masons to lose 13 fee-earners in employment reshuffle


Pinsent Masons is to cut 13 fee-earners from its employment practice in a third round of redundancies since the firm’s merger with McGrigors last May.

The firm was keen to emphasise that this latest round of cuts was unrelated to the 62 support roles lost last year but instead come as a result of department restructuring.

In a statement, Pinsents said: ‘As a firm we continue to grow and have made a number of strategic investments over the past 12 months in those sectors and markets where we see most potential for growth.

‘However, like any business we also need to monitor our resourcing levels and recognise and respond to market changes. This is particularly true in the field of employment law where market dynamics have shifted fundamentally. As a result we are taking steps to restructure our employment practice to create a group that is the right size and shape to respond to the changed nature of demand across the UK and internationally.’

Following a consultation in June 2012, 47 back-office employees were laid off in August across a number of divisions, including business development, HR and facilities many of which the result of duplication of roles post-merger. A further 15 were made redundant in December.

Conversely, the firm has appointed 14 new partners laterally since the beginning of the year, including Simmons & Simmons competition partner Jenny Block, a four-partner life sciences team from Fasken Martineau and banking litigation partner Michael Isaacs from Addleshaw Goddard.

Pinsents joins the growing list of firms to announce job cuts this year, including DLA Piper, Eversheds and CMS Cameron McKenna.

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 at the end of March.

Legal Business

Pinsents launches flexi-lawyer service for clients


Pinsent Masons is set to launch a contract lawyer service that will provide clients with access to lawyers on a temporary basis as and when they are needed.

‘Vario’ will offer in-house teams a group of freelance lawyers with a variety of experience to cover anything from fixed-term projects to maternity leave. The move follows clients’ increased demand for flexible lawyers and addresses the core issues of resource, cost and skills that often affect the in-house legal teams.

Pinsents partner Alison Bond, who heads Vario, said: ‘Clients are increasingly asking for access to flexible resources. However, we wanted to take the idea a step further and launch the next generation of this type of service.

Legal Business

Turkey and Africa expansion on the cards for Pinsents


Following an extremely acquisitive year since its strategic alliance with Salans came to an end, Pinsent Masons shows no signs of slowing down, with Turkey and Africa next in its sights for 2013.

According to a spokesperson at the firm, Pinsents is considering a joint venture or alliance in Turkey next year and its recent launch in Paris also potentially provides access to the energy and infrastructure market in northern and sub-Saharan Africa.

Legal Business

DLA Piper ramps up French offering with boutique addition


DLA Piper’s recent takeover of French corporate boutique Frieh Bouhenic is the most significant development in a spate of activity involving UK-based international firms in Paris at the end of the summer.

The international giant officially joined forces with the corporate firm on 1 October. Eleven-partner Frieh Bouhenic is ranked in the second tier for private equity in The Legal 500 EMEA, with a particular reputation for leveraged buyout work. Recent highlights include advising the consortium comprising Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, AXA Private Equity and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec on the acquisition of SPIE.

Legal Business

It’s all in a name: why branding matters


Over the past few months CMS Cameron McKenna’s managing partner Duncan Weston has been on a charm offensive. Through lunches and presentations, he has been trying to convince the legal press that the European-wide CMS network is not just a disparate alliance, but is in fact one firm, no different to, say, Norton Rose or Squire Sanders.

Legal Business

Consolidation is the word of the day across Scotland’s firms


The Scottish market is awash with merger rumours. Perhaps the imminent tie-up between McGrigors and Pinsent Masons has kick-started the recent developments but Scottish managing partners now have consolidation high up the agenda.

The marriage between McGrigors and Pinsents, which is expected to go live in May, will create a national heavyweight with combined revenues of roughly £282m and over 1,500 lawyers, pushing the new venture comfortably into the top 15 of the LB100.