Legal Business

If it ain’t broke: Verrier gets fourth term as White & Case chair

If it ain’t broke: Verrier gets fourth term as White & Case chair

Hugh Verrier’s term as White & Case chair will extend to 16 years after he was re-elected for another four years.

First elected to the helm in 2007, he will start his next stint in September, running until 2023. New York-based Verrier’s tenure has seen successive years of expansion recently, most notably in its London office. The firm declined to comment on whether the election was contested.

The City office was responsible for 17% of firm-wide revenue in the 2018/19 financial year, having increased 7% to $350m. Firm-wide revenue rose 14% to break the $2bn mark at $2.05bn, while profit per equity partner (PEP) grew 6% to $2.40m and revenue per lawyer increased by 8% to reach $954,000.

The 2018 results perpetuated a blistering run for the firm, building on the previous year’s 13% uptick in City revenue while firm-wide revenue saw a pacey 10% increase to $1.8bn in 2017. PEP rose more than 6% to $2.4m and equity partner headcount globally rose by more than 7% to 342 from last year’s 319.

White & Case in 2018 proved itself to be something of a hiring whirlwind in the City having gone great guns with its NY-London focus and ambitions to go ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Magic Circle in London as part of a 2020 plan led by Brettle.

The firm also made up the most London partners of all the US firms in London last year, promoting 13 to the partnership as part of its largest ever promotion round, in which 41 lawyers were minted globally.

The promotion round, effective from January, represented a 32% increase on last year, when 31 were minted. London sees 13 promotions, up from seven last year, and ahead of the 12 in the US. The overall round is one up on the firm’s previous record of 40 two years ago.

For more on the unlikely revolution of White & Case, read Reborn Supremacy.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: Enforcement reimagined

Sponsored briefing: Enforcement reimagined

Chris Brennan follows on from his panel discussion at the Financial Services Regulation and Disputes Summit to explore the options for reforming investigations and enforcement

The closing panel of the recent Legal Business Financial Services Regulation and Disputes Summit was asked to discuss how they would approach the establishment of a new regulatory enforcement body. This article picks up on some of the themes discussed.

Legal Business

White & Case duo among four solicitors made up in reduced silk round

White & Case duo among four solicitors made up in reduced silk round

Four sets boast the highest number of successful QC applications

White & Case arbitration partners Dipen Sabharwal and Aloke Ray made up half of the solicitor-advocates taking silk in this year’s Queen’s Counsel (QC) appointments, with 108 making the cut overall.

Legal Business

‘Poised for great things’: White & Case City revenue tops $350m as Milbank sees 25% turnover spike

‘Poised for great things’: White & Case City revenue tops $350m as Milbank sees 25% turnover spike

White & Case’s expansive London office was responsible for 17% of firm-wide revenue as Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy has a hiring spree to thank for its pace-setting 25% uptick in City turnover.

White & Case’s City revenue was up 7% to $350m, as firm-wide revenue increased 13.7% to break the $2bn mark at $2.05bn. Profit per equity partner grew 6% to $2.40m and revenue per lawyer increased by 7.8% to reach $954,000 from last year’s $885,000.

The 2018 results continue a blistering run for the firm, building on last year’s 13% uptick in City revenue while firm-wide revenue saw a pacey 10% increase to $1.8bn in 2017. Profit per equity partner rose more than 6% to $2.4m and equity partner headcount globally rose by more than 7% to 342 from last year’s 319.

Strong performing practice areas included banking, disputes and private equity, according to Oliver Brettle, member of the global executive committee and London executive partner Melissa Butler.

White & Case in 2018 proved itself to be something of a hiring whirlwind in the City having gone great guns with its NY-London focus and ambitions to go ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Magic Circle in London as part of a 2020 plan led by Brettle.

Sixteen London laterals included high-profile infrastructure partner Simon Caridia from Herbert Smith Freehills in October and the same month, Weil counsel Thomas Falkus as a partner for its thriving capital markets practice.

The firm also added David Robertson, formerly of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, to its arbitration practice, Royal Bank of Scotland’s former head of litigation and investigations Laura Durrant as a partner, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft litigation partner Steven Baker for the firm’s commercial litigation practice.

White & Case also hired from Weil Gotshal & Manges with mixed results. The start of 2018 saw Weil’s co-head of dispute resolution, Hannah Field-Lowes, join White & Case in London while the hire of Weil’s head of banking Mark Donald later in the year proved to be Ill-fated. Donald was prevented from joining because of a historic issue concerning a Weil associate on secondment at JP Morgan sharing confidential documents.

Oliver Brettle is keen to stress the strength of internal partner promotions as well as laterals. Brettle told Legal Business: ‘This is extremely strong growth on top of very high growth in 2017. That growth has been achieved without the lateral hires. With them, we are poised for great things going forward.’

Last October, White & Case announced a bumper promotion round of 41, of which 13 were in the City, up from seven new London partners the previous year. Butler points to 38% of the new partner promotions in London being female and 46% at the firm globally.

Milbank, meanwhile, has celebrated its 40th anniversary in London by posting a substantive 25% revenue hike for its City branch to $156m from $125m. The financials build on last year’s success when the firm posted its highest ever London revenue, a 9% increase on its 2016 performance.

The firm cited London as a key driver of the firm’s global financial performance and points to its financial restructuring group more than doubling in size and its capital markets group almost tripling in terms of headcount.

Milbank kicked off 2018 with a number of lateral hires, including a four-partner restructuring team from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft comprising Cadwaladers’ global financial restructuring co-chair Yushan Ng, Jacqueline Ingram, Karen McMaster and Sinjini Saha. Clients of the team included brand name sponsors Oaktree, KKR, Centerbridge Capital Partners and Blackstone.

Within days of those laterals, Milbank also hired high-yield guru Apostolos Gkoutzinis and his capital markets colleague Rebecca Marques from Shearman & Sterling.

For more on White & Case’s unlikely revolution read: Reborn supremacy.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

White & Case duo among four solicitors made up in reduced 2018 silk round

White & Case duo among four solicitors made up in reduced 2018 silk round

White & Case arbitration partners Dipen Sabharwal (pictured) and Aloke Ray make up half of the solicitor-advocates taking silk in this year’s Queen’s Counsel (QC) appointments, with 108 making the cut overall.

Completing the all-male group of solicitor-advocates taking silk were Allen & Overy partner Mark Levy and Stephen Fietta, founder of disputes boutique Fietta.

Sabharwal is head of White & Case’s EMEA international arbitration practice, and was promoted to partner in 2012. Ray joined the firm in 1999, and was promoted in 2006.

Sabharwal described taking silk as ‘the ultimate badge of recognition’. Ray, meanwhile, told Legal Business: ‘The pleasure and privilege comes from the fact it is associated with the high quality standard of work we do as a firm. Not all clients will react the same, but I can’t see how the extra recognition would hurt.’

The four solicitors appointed in this round marks the third consecutive year of decline, however: five solicitors took silk in 2017, and six the year before.

Solicitors were far more successful on average this year, however, with four out of five succeeding in their applications. Last year, only half of the ten solicitor applicants were successful.

There were also significantly less overall appointments, falling 9% to 108 from 119. There was an even greater fall in applicants, however, to 240 from 272.

Four barristers’ chambers shared the honour of having the highest number of tenants take silk: Brick Court Chambers, 39 Essex Chambers, Red Lion Chambers and Littleton Chambers each had four barristers appointed.

It continues a strong run for Red Lion Chambers, which topped the list outright last year with six barristers taking silk. For elite London set Brick Court Chambers, it is a return to form after only one tenant was made up last year.

Male appointees far outweighed successful female applicants: 78 to 30. Women were more successful on average though, with 55% of female applicants making the cut compared to 42% for men.

Ethnic minority representation remained sluggish, with 13 out of 30 non-white applicants taking silk compared to 18 out of 33 last year.

Sir Alex Allan, chair of the Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel, commented: ‘We remain concerned that the number of female applicants remains comparatively low, but I am pleased that of those women who did apply, well over 50% were successful. I was also pleased to note that the number of BAME applicants appointed was in proportion to their representation amongst applicants, and amongst the relevant cohort of the profession.’

Sabharwal added: ‘The Queen’s Counsel Appointments and the Bar Council have been making strenuous efforts in improving diversity in recent years. Why the needle isn’t moving in the right direction is a complex story, but perhaps it’s a case of laying the groundwork now for a better result in a few years’ time.’

The silk swearing-in ceremony will be held on 11 March 2019.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

For a longer read on the pageantry and magic of the ceremony, read ‘The Silk Round: One fine day’.

 

The full list of appointments (in alphabetical order):  

Zubair Ahmad, 2 Hare Court

Narita Bahra, 2 Hare Court

James Bailey, Wilberforce Chambers

Charles Banner, Landmark Chambers

William Bennett, 5RB

Balraj Bhatia, No. 1 High Pavement Chambers

Anna Boase, One Essex Court

Tim Buley, Landmark Chambers

Edmund Burge, Five St Andrew’s Hill

Peter Burns, Byrom Street Chambers

Victoria Butler-Cole, 39 Essex Chambers

John Cammegh, 9 Bedford Row

Giles Cannock, Kings Chambers

Lorraine Cavanagh, St John’s Buildings

Mark Chacksfield, 8 New Square

Richard Chapman, 18 St John Street Chambers

Nicholas Corsellis, QEB Hollis Whiteman

Catherine Cowton, Queen Elizabeth Building

Nicholas Craig, 3 Verulam Buildings

Timothy Cray, 6KBW College Hill

Clifford Darton, Ely Place Chambers

Andrew de Mestre, 4 Stone Buildings

Peter de Verneuil Smith, 3 Verulam Buildings

Katherine Deal, 3 Hare Court

Kevin Dent, 5 St Andrew’s Hill

Thomas Dumont, Radcliffe Chambers

Rory Dunlop, 39 Essex Chambers

David Durose, Furnival Chambers

Nigel Edwards, St Pauls Chambers

David Emanuel, Garden Court Chambers

Stephen Fietta, Fietta

Dean George, 2 Bedford Row

Katherine Goddard, Bank House Chambers

Michael Goodwin, Red Lion Chambers

Nina Grahame, Garden Court North Chambers

Margaret Gray, Brick Court Chambers

Jaime Hamilton, Nine St John Street

Jonathan Hand, Outer Temple Chambers

Mark Harries, Carmelite Chambers

Christopher Harris, 3 Verulam Buildings

Alec Haydon, Brick Court Chambers

Thomas Hickman, Blackstone Chambers

Isabel Hitching, Crown Office Chambers

Fiona Horlick, Outer Temple Chambers

Mozammel Hossain, 187 Fleet Street

Nicola Howard, 25 Bedford Row

Nicholas Isaac, Tanfield Chambers

Sarah Jones, Pump Court Chambers

Robert Kellar, 1 Crown Office Row

Charlotte Kilroy, Doughty Street Chambers

Ronit Kreisberger, Monckton Chambers

Lindsay Lane, 8 New Square

James Leabeater, 4 Pump Court

Mark Levy, Allen & Overy

David Lewis, Hardwicke

Richard Littler, Exchange Chambers

Dale Martin, Littleton Chambers

Jane McCafferty, 11KBW

Constance McDonnell, Serle Court

Nicholas Medcroft, Fountain Court Chambers

Christina Michalos, 5RB

Sian Mirchandani, 4 New Square

Keir Monteith, Garden Court Chambers

Giles Mooney, 9 Gough Square

Alison Morgan, 6KBW College Hill

Aparna Nathan, Devereux Chambers

Michelle Nelson, Red Lion Chambers

Brian Nicholson, 11 South Square

Robert Palmer, Monckton Chambers

Christopher Paxton, Red Lion Chambers

Alan Payne, 5 Essex Court Chambers

Simon Pentol, 25 Bedford Row

Fionn Pilbrow, Brick Court Chambers

Nigel Povoas, 7 Bedford Row

Steven Powles, Doughty Street Chambers

Sarah Pritchard, Kings Chambers

Aloke Ray, White & Case

Jonathan Rees, Churchers Solicitors

Jamie Riley, Littleton Chambers

James Rivett, Pump Court Tax Chambers

James Roberts, 1 King’s Bench Walk

Daniel Robinson, Red Lion Chambers

Dipen Sabharwal, White & Case

Daniel Saoul, 4 New Square

Diya Sen Gupta, Blackstone Chambers

Mohinderpal Sethi, Littleton Chambers

Daniel Shapiro, Crown Office Chambers

Neil Sheldon, 1 Crown Office Row

Nicholas Sidall, Littleton Chambers

Katherine Sloane, Monckton Chambers

Julia Smart, Furnival Chambers

Christopher Smith, Quadrant Chambers

Jessica Stephens, 4 Pump Court

John Thackray, Wilberforce Chambers

David Thomas, 39 Essex Chambers

James Todd, 39 Essex Chambers

Stephanie Tozer, Falcon Chambers

William Upton, Six Pump Court

Guglielmo Verdirame, 20 Essex Street

Jeremy Wainwright, 3 Temple Gardens

Victoria Wakefield, Brick Court Chambers

Robert Walton, Landmark Chambers

David Whittaker, 2 Hare Court

Adam Wolanski, 5RB

Damian Woodward-Carlton, 42 Bedford Row

Richard Wormald, Three Raymond Buildings

David Yates, Pump Court Tax Chambers

Hossein Zahir, Garden Court Chambers

Legal Business

Globetrotters in Europe: Dentons and White & Case expand operations as Weil scales back in CEE again

Globetrotters in Europe: Dentons and White & Case expand operations as Weil scales back in CEE again

Global players scaled up their investment in continental Europe this autumn, with Dentons launching its fourth German base and White & Case growing its French team. Meanwhile, Weil, Gotshal & Manges has shut its doors in Prague, its second office closure in central and eastern Europe (CEE) in 2018.

Dentons’ fast-growing German branch hired Taylor Wessing’s former head of competition, EU and trade, Andreas Haak, and employment partner Sascha Grosjean to lead the opening of the new outpost in Düsseldorf in January 2019. Germany managing partner Andreas Ziegenhagen told Legal Business the firm aims to have around 30 lawyers in the city in Germany’s industrial heartland, bringing the total headcount in the country to over 200.

Legal Business

Disputes round-up: Simmons wins Petrofac mandate as White & Case makes key regulatory hire

Disputes round-up: Simmons wins Petrofac mandate as White & Case makes key regulatory hire

Simmons & Simmons has landed a major Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation mandate at the expense of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Simmons’ crime, fraud and investigations head Stephen Gentle and partner Nick Benwell have been enlisted to defend oil and gas company Petrofac in the SFO probe, taking on the mandate from Freshfields.

The Magic Circle firm had been appointed to advise Petrofac after the SFO confirmed in May 2017 it was investigating the company due to ‘suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering.’ The probe formed part of a wider investigation into Unaoil, which is accused of the same offences.

In addition to Freshfields, Petrofac called on Ashurst’s veteran dispute partner Edward Sparrow in August 2017 to advise as a ‘senior external specialist’.

Freshfields declined to comment. Simmons was approached for comment.

Meanwhile, White & Case’s London lateral hiring spree has continued with the appointment of financial regulatory partner Jonathan Rogers.

Rogers joins from Taylor Wessing, where he had been a partner since 2008. At his time of leaving, Rogers was head of Taylor Wessing’s financial services regulatory group in London.

Carrying 20 years’ experience advising financial institutions on a full range of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigations, Rogers has a particular focus on asset management, private banks, the payments industry as well as investment and lending platforms.

Eric Leicht, head of White & Case’s global banking practice, commented: ‘Banks continue to demand expert advice on regulatory regimes around the globe. Jonathan is well positioned to step in and assist our large, sophisticated financial institution clients on the most complex regulatory issues they face.’

Rogers’ arrival marks the second major lateral hire White & Case has made this month, following the recruitment of Weil Gotshal & Mages’ well-regarded banking head, Mark Donald.

Other recent laterals at White & Case include high-profile infrastructure partner Simon Caridia from Herbert Smith Freehills in October and in the same month, Weil counsel Thomas Falkus as a partner for its capital markets practice.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Real fire power’: Weil loses banking head to White & Case’s unrelenting hiring spree

‘Real fire power’: Weil loses banking head to White & Case’s unrelenting hiring spree

White & Case’s City hiring spree continues to go great guns with the recruitment of Weil Gotshal & Manges’ well-regarded head of banking, Mark Donald.

Donald has been at Weil for six years, taking on the head of banking role vacated by Stephen Lucas when he left for Kirkland & Ellis in 2014. Before Weil, Donald had spent 15 years at Hogan Lovells.

A leveraged finance lawyer by trade, Donald is experienced in acquisition finance, advising sponsors and banks on leveraged buyouts and mid-market transactions, as well as real estate acquisition finance and fund financing.

Eric Leicht, head of White & Case’s global banking practice, said: ‘We continue to build our leading banking practice in London, advising sponsors and lenders under both English and New York law on their most important transactions.’

He added: ‘We expect our leveraged finance work to grow as financial markets continue to evolve after the financial crisis, and Mark further strengthens our team, adding real fire power to the brand.’

White & Case has been on something of a whirlwind in the City, having gone full steam ahead with its NY-London focus and ambitions to go ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Magic Circle in London as part of a 2020 plan led by Oliver Brettle, member of the global executive committee and former London executive partner.

Brettle, London-based member of White & Case’s global executive committee, pointed to a strengthening of the banking practice this year, including through the internal promotions to partner of Richard Lloyd and Shameer Shah, and the lateral partner additions of Shane McDonald from Hudson Advisors and Sudhir Nair rom Baker McKenzie.

Other recent laterals at White & Case include high-profile infrastructure partner Simon Caridia from Herbert Smith Freehills in October and in the same month, Weil counsel Thomas Falkus as a partner for its thriving capital markets practice.

White & Case also recently added David Robertson, formerly of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, to its arbitration practice, Royal Bank of Scotland’s former head of litigation and investigations Laura Durrant as a partner, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft litigation partner Steven Baker for the firm’s commercial litigation practice.

Another high-profile move from Weil to White & Case came at the start of the year in Weil’s co-head of dispute resolution, Hannah Field Lowes.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

London gets lion’s share of White & Case’s largest ever partner promotions round

London gets lion’s share of White & Case’s largest ever partner promotions round

White & Case has promoted 41 lawyers to partner in its largest ever promotion round, with London seeing more promotions than the whole of the US.

The promotion round, effective from January next year, represents a 32% increase on last year, when 31 were minted. London sees 13 promotions, up from seven last year, and ahead of the 12 in the US. The overall round is one up on the firm’s previous record of 40 two years ago.

Speaking to Legal Business, executive committee member Oliver Brettle (pictured) highlighted the firm’s focus on London and the US, which ‘in line with our strategic priorities’, accounted for 61% of the promotions.

London’s promotions include five in M&A, two in finance and two in capital markets. The City’s white collar, international arbitration, litigation and tax will get one new partner each. The promotions in the US include ten in New York and two in Washington.

‘We have a strong global footprint and we have always been very clear about our strategy: our geographic focus is to build further in New York and London,’ said Brettle, who stepped down as London executive partner in May to focus on the firm’s global strategy. He was replaced by US securities partner Melissa Butler.

In Europe, the firm promoted three in Paris, while Frankfurt, Berlin and Brussels got two each; Moscow, Prague and Geneva, just one. In Asia, Hong Kong saw two people promoted, while Abu Dhabi and Dubai had one each.

Women make up almost half of the lawyers promoted at 19.

The largest promotion round in White & Case’s history follows an 11% growth in revenue and 10% rise in profits per equity partner at the US-bred firm, to $1.8bn and $2.26m respectively. The London office outpaced the global revenue growth, hiking income 13% to $328m.

Its promotion round is, however, dwarfed by Kirkland & Ellis’ 122-strong cohort this year, although White & Case promoted more in London than the Chicago bred giant, who minted ten in the City.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

For more on White & Case’s unlikely revolution, see ‘Reborn Supremacy’ (£)

Full list of London promotions:

  • Jonah Anderson – white collar
  • Lucy Bullock – M&A
  • James Holden – Arbitration
  • Monica Holden – Capital markets
  • Laura Hoyland – Tax
  • Hyder Jumabhoy – M&A
  • Helen Levendi – M&A
  • Richard Lloyd – Banking
  • Tom Matthews – M&A
  • Michael Mountain – M&A
  • Heather Rees – Capital markets
  • John Rogerson – litigation
  • Shameer Shah – Banking
Legal Business

White & Case continues City hiring spree with Herbert Smith infra heavyweight

White & Case continues City hiring spree with Herbert Smith infra heavyweight

White & Case’s aggressive sweep on the City lateral market has continued with the hire of Herbert Smith Freehills infrastructure partner Simon Caridia.

The high-profile Caridia joined Herbert Smith as a partner in May 2015 from Magic Circle firm Linklaters, where he worked for nearly ten years, latterly for two years as counsel. He started his career at CMS, and is expected to start at White & Case by the end of the year.

White & Case’s thirteenth lateral this year alone, Caridia advises on both greenfield and brownfield transactions, focusing on debt financings for infrastructure M&A and private equity transactions. He will join the global project finance practice, and counts infrastructure investors Arcus, Goldman Sachs, OMERS and DIF among his clients, as well as major European sponsors including Strabag, Skanska, Acciona and Hochtief.

While at Herbert Smith he worked on some high-profile transactions, including advising the commercial banks and the European Investment Bank on the €800 million financing of the IJmond Sea Lock PPP project in the Netherlands, which reached financial close in October 2015.

At Linklaters he led a team advising the lenders on the £1.2bn financing of the UK’s M25 motorway expansion project, a PFI that made it over the line in 2009 in spite of the financial crisis.

White & Case has been on something of a whirlwind in the City, having gone full steam ahead with its NY-London focus and ambitions to go ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Magic Circle in London as part of a 2020 plan led by Oliver Brettle, member of the global executive committee and former London executive partner.

Already this month, the firm snapped up a Weil, Gotshal & Manges counsel Thomas Falkus as a partner for its thriving capital markets practice and also added David Robertson, formerly of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, to its arbitration practice.

Other recent hires include Royal Bank of Scotland’s former head of litigation and investigations Laura Durrant as a partner, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft litigation partner Steven Baker for the firm’s commercial litigation practice.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

For more on White & Case’s expansion strategy, read: Reborn supremacy – inside the unlikely White & Case revolution