Legal Business

International round-up: Squires enters Italy as NRF shuts Bahrain outpost

International round-up: Squires enters Italy as NRF shuts Bahrain outpost

Squire Patton Boggs has entered the Italian legal market with a four-partner Milan base while Norton Rose Fulbright has become the latest to join a long series of office closures in the Middle East.

Squires said today (23 January) it has picked the Northern Italian city for its 45th office with a team from US rival Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, led by Italy managing partner Galileo Pozzoli.

Partners Daniela Sabelli, Ian Tully and Fabrizio Vismara will also join Pozzoli in the new office, which will start operating in the coming weeks. The team focuses on energy law, transactions, cross-border disputes and international arbitration.

The move makes Squires the latest entrant in a jurisdiction that has historically proven difficult to crack for foreign counsel, with international firms struggling to build momentum amid an active lateral market where top rainmakers are not inclined to take orders from abroad.

Paul Hastings left the country after 14 years last October when Milan chair Bruno Cova quit the US firm for Studio Legale Delfino e Associati Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Although firms including Latham & Watkins and Linklaters have managed to build relatively successful operations, they are not immune to senior departures either. In 2019 Latham lost well-regarded Milan banking partner Andrea Novarese to US rival White & Case while Linklaters saw corporate partner Giovanni Pedersoli return to the firm that carries his name after 12 years.

But the complexity of the market has not scared international firms away, with Greenberg Traurig announcing last May a merger with local ally Santa Maria Studio Legale.

Elsewhere, NRF confirmed today it had shut its Bahrain office at the end of last year, relocating its only local partner Joanne Emerson Taqi to Sydney. The Bahrain closure comes just two years after the firm left Abu Dhabi, leaving NRF with only two regional bases in Dubai and Riyadh.

NRF is part of a long list of international firms that have been retrenching in the Middle East lately, often after overinvesting during the oil boom in the 2000s.

Earlier this month Winston & Strawn concluded its five-year spell in the region by closing its Dubai base, with Squires recruiting the bulk of its ten-lawyer local team. Weil Gotshal & Manges also left the region altogether in February 2017, while firms including Simmons & Simmons, Latham & Watkins, Vinson & Elkins and Herbert Smith Freehills have closed their Abu Dhabi offices to focus on Dubai.

Legal Business

International roundup: Dentons enters Ireland and Cooley steps into Singapore as Winston leaves the Middle East

International roundup: Dentons enters Ireland and Cooley steps into Singapore as Winston leaves the Middle East

Dentons is to enter one of the few European jurisdictions missing from its sprawling international network by launching an outpost in Dublin.

Law firms’ strategies in the Middle East and Asia continue to diverge, meanwhile, with Winston & Strawn concluding its five-year spell in Dubai as Cooley confirmed its third office launch in less than a year by opening in Singapore.

Dentons announced today (8 January) it was launching in the Irish legal market through a couple of lateral hires, a different approach to the firm’s usual international expansion via merger.

Former Ashurst and William Fry corporate partner Eavan Saunders will become Dentons’ Dublin managing partner while Matheson’s finance and capital markets partner Peter O’Brien will become the chair of the new office, which will open in the second quarter of 2020 under the verein firm’s UK LLP.

‘A lot of the larger [Irish] firms have a very international referral-based business model which means they are going to be slightly less focused on the approach we want to take, which is about being able to service our existing and multinational clients and take our platform to the Irish market,’ UK and Middle East chief executive Jeremy Cohen told Legal Business. ‘We felt that building the team ourselves was the best way forward.’

He added the firm had been looking at the Irish market for two-three years: ‘It’s a vibrant market, particularly in the areas we play in strongly: financial services, funds, aviation finance, but also more and more in tech and real estate.’

Saunders said she expected to have a 50-lawyer, full-service team in her office ‘in the not too distant future’: ‘This is not a niche sector play: the ambition is to build a leading international firm. What was very attractive about the Dentons platform is that it’s not a Brexit play. The ambition is greater.’

A number of firms have launched in Ireland in the nearly four years since Britain voted to quit the European Union in June 2016, including Shepherd and Wedderburn, Clyde & Co, Fieldfisher, DLA Piper, Lewis Silkin, Simmons & Simmons, Covington & Burling and Pinsent Masons.

Moving East, Squire Patton Boggs will pick up the bulk of Winston’s former ten-lawyer Dubai team, including its Middle East managing partner Campbell Steedman, just over three years after the M&A veteran joined the firm from White & Case.

Winston’s corporate partner Christopher Skipper and Middle East finance head Shibeer Ahmed will follow Steedman to Squires next week alongside at least four of the firm’s Dubai associates, after the Global 100 top 50 Chicago-bred firm announced it is shutting its only regional branch.

The new additions bring Squires Middle East headcount to around 50 lawyers across four offices, bucking a trend that has seen several Western firms retrench or leave the region altogether over the last few years.

‘We are not a fair-weather player in this market. We have been here and will be here a long time,’ Squires’ United Arab Emirates managing partner Tom Wilson told Legal Business. ‘There have been a number of firms that have opened in the Middle East just before or just after the financial crisis, either capitalising on the economic boom in the region or trying to insulate from difficulties in other markets and some of them are retrenching or refocusing – that’s not us.’

He added: ‘Our presence in the region dates back 40 years through historic relationships and representations of governments and government entities in the Gulf. [Legacy] Patton Boggs was established in the early 60s with the goal of acting for newly minted countries in their relationships with other government and global organisations. Our presence in the Middle East is rooted in more than just the latest economic boom, it’s rooted in deep, long-lasting relationships that carry on.’

The move brings to an end Winston’s quick rise and fall in the region. It launched in the Middle East in March 2015 with the appointment of Stephen Jurgenson from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman as part of a 15-lawyer hire from the firm. The following year it added Steedman from White & Case, who had previously been legacy Norton Rose’s senior Middle East partner until 2011.

But several major law firms have been retrenching in the Middle East after overinvesting during the oil boom in the 2000s, with Abu Dhabi a primary target. Between 2015 and 2017, firms including Norton Rose Fulbright, Simmons, Latham & Watkins, Vinson & Elkins and Herbert Smith Freehills closed their doors to focus on Dubai, just 100km away. Weil Gotshal & Manges left the region altogether in February 2017.

Winston chair Tom Fitzgerald said the firm’s clients were located ‘throughout the Middle East and have cross-border legal needs that reach beyond Dubai – particularly into London’ and that the move equated to a ‘centralisation of resources’ allowing the firm to service clients more effectively.

Finally and further to the East, Cooley has confirmed plans to launch its sixteenth global office in Singapore, moving two of its partners to the city state.

Hired last year from Gunderson Dettmer, corporate specialist Ferish Patel will relocate from Hong Kong to become the partner in charge of the new outpost, while emerging company and venture capital co-chair Matthew Bartus is moving from Silicon Valley.

San Francisco-bred Cooley has picked up the pace of its international expansion lately off the back of booming business in its West Coast tech heartlands, its global revenue surging 14% to $1.23bn in 2018.

Last year it launched in Hong Kong and opened its first continental European base in Brussels.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

A busy week for lateral hires saw Dentons, Akin Gump and Squire Patton Boggs each make City hires as DLA Piper turned to Aviva to expand its pensions team.

Dentons said today (30 September) it had hired M&A and private equity partner Paul Doris from the London office of US firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He is the firm’s third corporate lateral hire in the last 18 months and advises financial sponsors, particularly in energy and infrastructure and in markets including Spain and Latin America.

Dentons’ UK corporate head David Collins (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘Paul’s skillset, sector focus and geographic coverage are all very much aligned to our strategy of building out a diversified corporate transactional practice in the UK which connects with our colleagues across the UK and the Dentons global platform.’

He added: ‘After what felt like a slightly extended summer break and pause in activity after a very busy first half of the year, we are back to high levels of activity across the team.’

Doris follows Dentons announcing last week it had hired restructuring and insolvency partner Richard Pallot-Cook in London. He re-joins from Simmons & Simmons and was previously a partner at Dentons.

Akin Gump, meanwhile, added two partners to its private equity practice, with Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey joining the firm’s London office from Vinson & Elkins.

Partner in charge of Akin Gump’s London office, Sebastian Rice, told Legal Business: ‘We were very impressed with the work they’ve done, culturally they’re a great fit and we hope they will be a strong addition to our corporate team in terms of the clients they advise and the type of work they do.’

Akin Gump also hired finance partner Michael Gustafson to its London office from Pricoa Private Capital, where he was deputy chief legal officer. Gustafson was previously a partner at Bingham McCutchen before its London office joined Akin Gump in 2014.

‘The team who joined from Bingham McCutchen regarded Gustafson incredibly highly and he does very similar work to what we do. He’s coming back and we’re really excited to have him back,’ Rice added.

Squire Patton Boggs went both ways in London with the hire of banking partner Ian Yeo from Herbert Smith Freehills. The firm also lost employment partner Natalie Bellwood, however, to B2B IT services provider DXC Technology, where she becomes global head of employment.

Elsewhere, DLA hired Amrit McLean from Aviva, where she was propositions and sales director, as a partner to launch the firm’s pensions de-risking service. McLean has 13 years’ experience in pensions de-risking and pensions bulk annuity work.

UK head of pensions at DLA Piper Ben Miller told Legal Business: ‘There’s an awful lot of insurance that is being issued. There is a real need within the market for a really strong and comprehensive team led by somebody who has that sector experience and that’s what we’re able to do here.’

Finally, Osborne Clarke made a lateral hire from Thrings, bringing in Steve Schofield to its UK real estate practice, while in Poland, DWF appointed partner Paweł Stykowski as head of insurance in the firm’s Warsaw office. He joins from Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland where he headed the financial services and compliance practice.

Legal Business

Former Ashurst managing partner Collis quits for Squire Patton Boggs

Former Ashurst managing partner Collis quits for Squire Patton Boggs

Ashurst lifer and former managing partner James Collis has quit the firm to join the London arm of Squire Patton Boggs.

The finance partner, whose practice focuses on acquisition finance and general banking law, was at the helm of Ashurst for four years until June 2016, when he was replaced by current managing partner Paul Jenkins.

Collis took over from Ashurst litigation partner Simon Bromwich in May 2012 and was among the people guiding the firm through the 2013 merger with Australia’s Blake Dawson, becoming the first managing partner of the merged entity.

After training at Ashurst, he became a partner in 2005 and operated out of the firm’s Paris branch before taking on the management role. He announced in January 2016 that he would step down at the end of his four-year term, kicking off the selection process that resulted in Australia-based Jenkins’ anointment in June that year. Collis’ successor was then confirmed in his role in May this year.

Squires’ European managing partner Jane Haxby said Collis was ‘one of the City’s leading legal professionals, an outstanding practitioner in finance law, and a skilled and highly respected managing partner, who has successfully overseen one of the largest law firm mergers’.

The hire comes amid a turbulent period for Squires’ London arm, marked by a number of partner departures since the beginning of the year mainly to the London arm of Crowell & Moring. Financial litigation partner and former City head Robert Weekes quit at the beginning of the year, followed in February by former colleagues including litigation partner Laurence Winston, London insolvency head Cathryn Williams, insolvency partner Paul Muscutt, energy partner Robin Baillie and finance partner Andrew Knight.

This month, UK head of litigation Laurence Winston followed his former colleagues to Crowell. Squires also lost 15 lawyers to Morgan Lewis in February.

Haxby added: ‘Our London office is of strategic importance to our global firm and we will continue to build in key areas, including corporate, financial services and international dispute resolution.’

For more on post-Collis Ashurst, see ‘Inflection point – Ashurst steps back from the brink but can the revival last? ’ (£)

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Squire Patton Boggs and Addleshaws hire in Leeds, Taylor Wessing in France, Goodwin in Boston

Revolving doors: Squire Patton Boggs and Addleshaws hire in Leeds, Taylor Wessing in France, Goodwin in Boston

A steady pace of lateral hires continued into the second half of 2017, with Squire Patton Boggs and Addleshaw Goddard both taking on partners in the UK, Taylor Wessing in France and Goodwin Procter in Boston.

Addleshaws has hired experienced private equity partner Pete Wood from Pinsent Masons in Leeds. Wood advises clients in private equity and M&A across retail, financial services, manufacturing and consumer goods.

Addleshaws mergers and acquisitions partner Garry Elliott said Wood’s experience and track record will ‘further enhance our team’.

He described Wood’s hire as ‘testament to our ambition to remain as the number one Corporate team operating in the region’ and which would ‘bring further Private Equity experience and capability to our local and national teams’.

Squire Patton Boggs also announced the appointment of partner Simon Jones to its Birmingham office. Jones is the former Eversheds Sutherland’s Leeds head of technology and global head of automotive, and was previously head of technology and sourcing at DLA Piper, also in Birmingham.

Jones advises on a range of IT and outsourcing projects, with a particular focus on the impact of technology on the automotive and manufacturing sectors.

Squire Patton Boggs’ head of intellectual property & technology practice in Birmingham Stuart James said: ‘[Jones] has a very successful track record in advising on high profile IT and outsourcing projects in both the private and public sector.’

Held ‘in high regard by his clients for his commerciality and technical expertise, Simon will be a great asset; we are excited to welcome him to the firm,’ James said.

A rare loss for Latham & Watkins enhanced Taylor Wessing’s corporate capabilities in France. François Mary joins as a partner in the firm’s Paris office, after over 10 years at Latham. He specialises in corporate law, advising on mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, restructuring operations and minority investments.

Taylor Wessing Paris managing partner Gilles Amsallem said Mary’s expertise ‘adds to and reinforces the corporate platform of our firm in Paris.’

Meanwhile, Goodwin enhanced its real estate platform in Boston with partner Marc Lazar from Ropes & Gray, where he was co-head of the real estate investments and transactions group.

Lazar is experienced in real estate finance and investments, representing institutional investors, hedge funds, real estate and other private equity funds as well as lenders and developers, throughout the capital stack and across all asset classes.

‘Marc’s arrival deepens the industry reach of our fund formation, transactional, portfolio and public company teams, said Minta Kay, partner and chair of Goodwin’s global real estate.

His ‘strong technical skills and ability to execute multijurisdictional transactions for high-profile European clients will be extremely valuable to our group,’ said Samantha Lake Coghlan, partner and co-chair of Goodwin’s London office.

Legal Business

Squires former leader Crossley steps into disputes role as LLPs reveal 13% profit boost for Europe

Squires former leader Crossley steps into disputes role as LLPs reveal 13% profit boost for Europe

Squire Patton Boggs former Europe and Middle East managing partner Peter Crossley has returned to his old beat as a litigator, heading up the firm’s international disputes practice in London.

The move for the firm’s former European head (pictured) comes as Squires LLPs accounts reveal the firm’s UK and European operations had seen an increase in turnover of 3%, from £126.2m in the financial year ending 30 April 2015 to £129.5m last year.

The accounts include the firm’s Spanish, Belgian, German and Middle Eastern business. A breakdown showed UK revenue was up to £111.4m from £108m while continental Europe revenues were up to £17.9m from £17.5m.

Profitability also saw a significant boost, up 12.8% from £34.2m in 2014/15 to £38.6m in 2015/16. The top earning member saw pay up from £739,000 to £894,000 last financial year. 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.

Key management personnel, which includes the firm’s management committee, designated members and global support directors, were paid £3.4m, down from £3.8m the year before.

The firm also cut its bank overdraft from £22m to £16.6m. While UK and European turnover was up, separate Middle East LLPs revealed turnover fell from £1m to £320,000.

The UK firm is made up of the legacy Hammonds practice under a verein structure following its merger with US practice Squires Sanders in 2011 and Washington DC firm Patton Boggs in 2014.

Crossley stepped down from his role leading the firm’s European arm last year, ending his 12 years in leadership having first been elected as legacy Hammonds managing partner in 2004. Before becoming managing partner, Crossley also served as the Hammonds head of litigation. He will now lead the London disputes offering, which includes 10 partners and 24 other lawyers.

The litigation veteran is succeeded as managing partner by former European corporate chair Jane Haxby. Crossley said: ‘It is a great honour to join our highly successful international dispute resolution practice. This a team of extremely talented lawyers with a global market leading reputation and I am very much looking forward to working together with George in London and playing a part in the continued success of our international practice.’

The international dispute resolution practice is led by global chair George von Mehren, who splits his time between Cleveland and London. The practice will add to its European bench strength with the hire of former ICC deputy secretary general José Ricardo Feris, who joins the firm as a partner in Paris in May.

Read more in: ‘We have enough of a say’: Squire’s Peter Crossley on retirement, leadership and the US’

Legal Business

Squires continues German growth with three-partner Frankfurt team from WilmerHale


Transatlantic firm Squire Patton Boggs has recruited three litigation and competition partners from US firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, including the firm’s former Frankfurt office head.

Intellectual property and trademark litigator Reinhart Lange will join Squires in Germany, where he was partner-in-charge of the firm’s Frankfurt office. He joins with IP partner Christofer Eggers and counsel Eva Schalast, who joins as a partner.

All three are known for brand management and competition disputes and join along with a five-strong brand management team.

Lange has over 25 years of intellectual property and trademarks experience. He spent eight years at the US firm having joined along with Eggers from Mayer Brown in 2008 to launch WilmerHale’s Frankfurt operations.

Squires international dispute resolution global chair George von Mehren said: ‘We have a strong cartel litigation and competition dispute practice in Germany and this team’s arrival, coupled with the continued growth in competition-related litigation, will lead to further opportunities for the expansion of our practice as one of the leading firms for this type of specialist work.’

The firm has been expanding its operations in Germany, with Squires merging at the start of the year with San Francisco firm Carroll, Burdick & McDonough giving it an additional office in Böblingen, as well as its offices in Berlin and Frankfurt.

Squires recently appointed Jane Haxby as its new Europe and Middle East managing partner. Haxby was the firm’s chair of global corporate group for Europe, the Midde East and Africa and previously the firms Manchester managing partner.

Long-time European managing partner and former legacy Hammonds head Peter Crossley is understood to be remaining at the firm after stepping down from the leadership role at the end of the year.

Legal Business

‘Bringing fresh thinking’: Manchester-based Haxby wins Squires EMEA managing partner job


Transatlantic firm Squire Patton Boggs has appointed Jane Haxby as its new European managing partner, taking on the role from Peter Crossley who is set to step down at the end of the year.

Haxby will take on the role from January serving a three year term. She was previously head of the firm’s Manchester office and chair of the firm’s global corporate group for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Haxby has spent most of her 23-year career in the Manchester office, where the firm has a strong history.

In September, Legal Business revealed Crossley was set to step down from his leadership role but remain at the firm. He confirmed to the partnership his retirement from the role earlier in the year, ending his 12 years leading the European branch having first been elected as legacy Hammonds managing partner in 2004.

Under Crossley’s watch, Squire has moved into the top 40 of the Global 100 with a turnover of $929.1m and a presence across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Crossley helped guide legacy Hammonds through its US merger with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in 2011 and a merger with influential Washington DC lobbying firm Patton Boggs in 2014. A further merger with California disputes boutique Carroll, Burdick & McDonough in February this year added 50 lawyers creating a 1,500 lawyer firm with around 500 partners.

Haxby said: ‘I am delighted to take on this exciting new challenge. Having worked with many colleagues across the globe during my career with the firm it is clear that we are well-positioned to serve the evolving needs of our clients and unlock even greater potential from the vast talent and resources within our organisation.’

Global chair and chief executive Mark Ruehlmann said: ‘As the legal services industry goes through fundamental change, Jane will continue to bring fresh thinking that will advance our focus on collaboration, performance and delivering top-notch service to clients.’

The firm has also appointed top sports lawyer Fred Nance as its US global managing partner, based in Cleveland, succeeding Steve Mahon.

For the full interview with Crossley from earlier this year, see ”We have enough of a say’: Squire’s Peter Crossley on retirement, leadership and the US’

Read Peter Crossley’s Life During Law here.

Legal Business

King & Wood loses five-lawyer energy team to Squire Patton Boggs


King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has lost a five-lawyer team including global energy and infrastructure co-head Neil Upton to Squire Patton Boggs in the latest exits from its London office.

Upton joins the transatlantic firm with a team of four associates and two other staff. His practice focuses on advising utilities, banks and financial institutions on energy projects. Upton had worked on deals including financing several UK gas-fired power stations as well as power plant projects in Africa, Europe, China and the Middle East.

Squire has recently hired into its UK practice. In March, the firm added Andrew Herring into its real estate practice from DWF to its London office and last year hired James Duckworth as a construction partner in Sheffield from Nabarro. The firm also notably added to its energy disputes practice with the hire of Ben Holland from CMS Cameron McKenna in 2014.

Squire London managing partner Robert Weekes (pictured) said: ‘Neil fits so well with our teams here and globally. His appointment is a continuation of our strategic hiring in London, joining up practices and industry groups more closely and creating stronger links between international offices.’

The firm is currently approaching a leadership election after long-term EUME managing partner Peter Crossley confirmed he was stepping down from his leadership role after 12 years while remaining at the firm.

KWM has seen a number of partner exits in the last 12 months, most recently seeing four big billing City partners confirm their departures.

Last week, private equity partner Michael Halford, former managing partner Rob Day, corporate finance partner Andrew Wingfield and Jonathan Pittal all resigned from the firm.

The Asian legal giant has looked to shore up its European business after the string of high-profile exits. However, the legacy SJ Berwin practice was forced to halt a planned recapitalisation in the wake of the resignations.

The firm recently also replaced its senior leadership for EUME, electing Frankfurt-based Michael Cziesla as senior partner and Tim Bednall as managing partner.

Read more on Squire Patton Boggs in: ‘We have enough of a say’: Squire’s Peter Crossley on retirement, leadership and the US

Legal Business

Contenders step forward as race for Squires European head begins


Longstanding leader Crossley set to retire at year end

Frontrunners have emerged in the contest to become the new Europe and Middle East managing partner at Squire Patton Boggs, after longstanding leader Peter Crossley confirmed his retirement in September.

Two senior partners have been touted internally and externally as favourites for the role: London managing partner Robert Weekes and EMEA global corporate chair Jane Haxby.