Legal Business

On a roll: BPP picks up another client as White & Case switches from ULaw

On a roll: BPP picks up another client as White & Case switches from ULaw

In a further blow to its client roster, White & Case has ended its training contract deal with The University of Law (ULaw) and switched to rival BPP Law School.

Under its previous contract, ULaw took on 30 trainee solicitors per year to earn a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC) over a period of two years.

Ulaw is undergoing a period of transition after being sold in June by Montagu Private Equity to Global University Systems (GUS), less than three years after the private equity house acquired it, and after ULaw’s chief executive John Latham departed the institution by ‘mutual consent’, with chief operating officer David Johnston stepping in as his replacement from 1 August.

The school is also trying to recover from losing several law firm clients including Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Baker & McKenzie who switched to BPP at the end of last year.

On a more positive note, Linklaters – which acted for Montagu on the ULaw sale while Eversheds advised buyer GUS and Travers Smith represented ULaw management – renewed its partnership for five years with ULaw providing an increase in business management modules.

Mayer Brown also teamed up with ULaw to offer a ‘direct to solicitor’ apprenticeship in June, while the school also won Shearman & Sterling and Trowers & Hamlins this summer, and counts Ashurst as key clients.

ULaw now faces fierce competition from key rival BPP after it was revealed yesterday [25 August] that Kaplan Law School is set to close at the end of 2016 after several clients turned to other legal practice course providers.

White & Case declined to comment on the switch.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

White & Case follows project finance clients to launch in Seoul

White & Case follows project finance clients to launch in Seoul

South Korea is continuing to prove its attraction for Global 100 firms as White & Case launches an office in Seoul with plans to relocate three partners and build on relationships with project finance clients.

The office, which is the firm’s seventh in Asia and number 39 globally, will be headed by James Lee, who leads the Korea practice group and will relocate to Seoul from Los Angeles.

Lee specialises in cross-border commercial litigation and has been working with Korean clients for more than 15 years. He will be joined initially by Mark Goodrich, a construction partner in London who will also transfer to Seoul, and Hong Kong partner Kyungseok Kim, who recently joined the firm’s M&A practice from Linklaters where he was an associate.

‘We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new office in Seoul,’ said Eric Berg, head of Asia for White & Case. ‘This allows us to provide local support with UK and US law capability for our Korean clients, which include a broad spectrum of organizations and government agencies. It is a natural next step for the firm.’

The firm has serviced clients in Korea for the past 20 years but the new outpost will provide ‘on-the-ground support for our clients in their complex, cross-border work’, adds White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier. The aim is to advise existing project finance clients while broadening out into M&A, private equity, commercial litigation and international arbitration. 

Other firms interested in the Seoul market include, Latham & Watkins, which in June tasked a group of partners to review its Asia strategy ahead of a push in the region. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy opened in the city in February this year.

EY Law enhanced its Asia-Pacific presence in March after forming an alliance with South Korean firm Apex Legal, in a bid to align its advisory and legal businesses throughout the region.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

O’Melveny hires new European corporate head from White & Case as it makes moves in burgeoning private bond market

O’Melveny hires new European corporate head from White & Case as it makes moves in burgeoning private bond market

With €31bn in debt having been issued through private placements (PP) in Europe in 2014, O’Melveny & Myers has made a strategic move in the sector by hiring White & Case PP specialist Andrew Weiler to heads up its European M&A and corporate finance practice. 

Weiler was a key part of White & Case’s PP offering in the City and joins O’Melveny with 15 years of experience in the cross-border market. He also advised both multinationals and private equity firms on M&A and joint venture deals.

Dual-qualified in New York and England and Wales, Weiler joined White & Case in 1993 and worked in the firm’s New York, Stockholm and Helsinki offices prior to moving to London. He was made partner in 2003 and comes recommended in debt capital markets by The Legal 500, for which White & Case is ranked second tier.

Some of his recent work includes advising Coca-Cola on its formation of a Nordic joint venture with Carlsberg and its restructuring of a global joint venture with Nestle; and acting for De’Longhi on its €214m perpetual licensing of the Braun household products brand from Procter & Gamble.

The hire comes as O’Melveny looks to boost its international M&A and finance offering – though the firm lost private equity partner Daniel Oates after less than a year in its City office to Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in January. Weiler said: ‘O’Melveny is well known for its entrepreneurial and client-centred culture. I am excited to be part of the continued growth of the firm’s transactional practices, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to serve our clients.’

A White & Case spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that Andrew Weiler has left White & Case. We wish him well in his future endeavours.’

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

For more on firms’ moves to position themselves in the growing PP market see: The Finance View: Private bonds – can Europe bring it home?

Legal Business

Re-elected Verrier shuffles the White & Case pack

Re-elected Verrier shuffles the White & Case pack

White & Case announced last month the re-election of executive chair Hugh Verrier, who takes on the role for a third time at the US firm.

First elected in 2007, Verrier will start another four-year term on 1 September. Having won re-election, the project finance partner also made appointments to the firm’s executive committee, gifting places to London managing partner Oliver Brettle, São Paulo-based Donald Baker, and banking partner David Koschik in New York. The body is responsible for decision making for the 38-office firm and will see the trio also take up their positions on 1 September 2015.

Legal Business

White & Case appoints management as Verrier re-elected while CMS hands Brandi a second term

White & Case appoints management as Verrier re-elected while CMS hands Brandi a second term

Both White & Case and CMS announced yesterday the re-election of their executive chairmen with Hugh Verrier taking the role on for a third time at the US firm while CMS’ Cornelius Brandi was elected for a second term.

Verrier, who was elected to his first term as chairman in 2007, will start another four-year term on 1 September. Having won re-election, the project finance partner also made appointments to the firm’s executive committee, gifting places to London managing partner Oliver Brettle (pictured), São Paulo-based Donald Baker, and banking partner David Koschik in New York. The body is responsible for decision making for the 38-office firm and will see the trio take up their positions on 1 September 2015.

The firm also carried out elections for its other management body, the partnership committee. The eight partners elected to the body comprise: New York partners James Hayden, David Hille, Someera Khokhar and Heather McDevitt, Frankfurt’s Jochen Artzinger-Bolten, Paris-based M&A partner François Leloup, Jacquelyn MacLennan based in Brussels, and Jason Yardley in London. The eight partners will also serve on the Compensation Committee and the New Partners Committee.

Verrier said: ‘I am grateful for the opportunity to lead White & Case for the next four years. As we move forward, we are focused on smart growth and strengthening our capabilities in key markets, attracting and retaining the best talent, and building relationships with clients to support their evolving needs.’

Meanwhile, CMS re-elected executive chairman Cornelius Brandi for a second four-year term. The role is responsible for the firm’s growth and strategic direction, something which Brandi claimed was given backing by his re-election.

Brandi said: ‘Over the years, CMS has achieved a dominant position in transactional work. Our excellent 2014 financial results, with a year-on-year revenue increase of 11%, reflect this. The results show that we have substantially increased our market share in jurisdictions we want to be in. Additionally, the level and quality of mandates that we receive have continually improved. CMS is on the right track.’

michael.west@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

White & Case’s City office wins first work from CVC as PE house leads on $2bn Alvogen acquisition

White & Case’s City office wins first work from CVC as PE house leads on $2bn Alvogen acquisition

White & Case, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Slaughter and May have all won roles as CVC Capital Partners, Vatera Healthcare and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek teamed up to buy a controlling stake in pharmaceutical firm Alvogen.

Although White & Case has an historic relationship with CVC stateside, this is the first work led out of London for the European private equity fund that led on the deal for the consortium. The firm’s team was led by partners Ian Bagshaw (pictured) in London and Oliver Brahmst from New York and included New York partner Brian Smarsh, plus Justin Wagstaff and Marcus Booth, both in London.

Bagshaw told Legal Business the deal played to the firm’s strengths: ‘It was one of those deals where you needed to be strong in New York and strong in London to get the deal away as the M&A was done in the US while I could lead the deal and the investment work out of London.’

The deal, which reportedly values Alvogen at $2bn, saw a club of investors including CVC, Temasek and Vatera Healthcare purchase a controlling stake in the pharma company from Pamplona Capital Management. Simpson Thacher led for Alvogen and Pamplona with a team including Peter Martelli in New York and Clare Gaskell in London. Lowenstein Sandler provided additional advice to Pamplona, which only bought its stake in the company with operations in 35 countries last year.

Bagshaw added: ‘Ultimately, it was a complex deal because of the nature of the consortia and the different drivers within it meant there were a number of points of view to reconcile. The deal played to the strengths of the firm, as Alvogen’s revenues are US but the growth areas are Central Europe and Asia. We were able to look at the due diligence in the US, and then when it comes to looking at comparable issues in Romania or Korea or Taiwan, we had teams on the ground to apply local knowledge.’

Those other point of views saw Slaughters win a role acting for Temasek with a team led by Nigel Boardman while biotech/pharmaceutical investment specialist Vatera was advised by Wilkie Farr & Gallagher.

The company has over 200 projects in development and registrations plus 350 marketed products. Aztiq Pharma, an investment vehicle led by Alvogen’s chief executive Robert Wessman, is retaining a stake while Pamplona will also keep a small stake.

CVC has previously turned to a raft of firms for its corporate work including Clifford Chance and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

michael.west@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

White & Case’s NQs get 20% salary bump to £90,000 – firm extends pay gap over Magic Circle

White & Case’s NQs get 20% salary bump to £90,000 – firm extends pay gap over Magic Circle

White & Case has announced it is making significant increases in salaries across its associate pay scale with newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers set to receive 20% more in 2015 and take home £90,000.

Effective form 1 May, the move sees the firm paying more than those Magic Circle firms that have announced across trainees and junior lawyers pay bands. The NQ rise from £75,000 is the largest percentage increase but lawyers with one year post-qualified experience (PQE) will also receive a £15,000 boost taking wages from £80,000 to £95,000.

Those with two years PQE will now be paid £101,000, an £8,500 increase to last year’s £92,500 while lawyers with a further year’s experience will be paid £5,000 more, taking home £110,000.

Trainees are also seeing their incomes rise with first years having a £1,000 extra with a salary of £44,000 while year 2 trainees will get £48,000 – up from £46,000.

Both Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance have revealed their salary bands for this year, taking NQ pay to £70,000 and, while Linklaters gave a more modest boost to NQs, its three year PQEs salaries neared £100,000 at £98,500. The move also follows Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer decision to freeze salaries for junior lawyers at 2014’s levels.

White & Case’s pay bands comprise:

Trainee Year 1: £44,000

Trainee Year 2: £48,000

NQ: £90,000

PQE 1: £95,000

PQE 2: £101,000

PQE 3: £110,000

michael.west@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Dealwatch: White & Case, CC and Debevoise among raft of firms on SPIE’s €700m revived float

Dealwatch: White & Case, CC and Debevoise among raft of firms on SPIE’s €700m revived float

White & Case capital markets duo Thomas Le Vert and Philippe Herbelin, alongside corporate partner François Leloup, have resurrected the listing of electrical engineering group SPIE after an eight-month postponement.

The Euronext Paris Stock Exchange initial public offering sees White & Case’s client issue €700m worth of new shares and sell 6.3 million of existing shares owned by management. Trading is expected to begin on 12 June.

Clifford Chance was instructed by SPIE’s consortium of owners, private equity houses Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Ardian, as well as the state-backed investment fund of Québec, with a team comprising Gilles Lebreton, Alexandre Lagarrigue, Thibaut Cambuzat, Katia Gruzdova, Stéphanie Giuliani and Marion Finzi.

Meanwhile, Mayer Brown’s Paris-based corporate and securities partner Jean-François Louit is advising SPIE’s management, which own a minority stake in the company. Allen & Overy is representing the underwriters on the deal.

Longstanding adviser Debevoise & Plimpton also secured a senior role on the deal, advising SPIE on the €1.53bn worth of new senior loans. The seven-lawyer Debevoise team was headed up by London-based partners Alan Davies and Raman Bet-Mansour, who executed a €2.16bn refinancing of SPIE’s debt earlier this year, with City partner Matthew Saronson providing tax advice. Latham & Watkins has been instructed by the banks.

Debevoise has advised SPIE since handling the Clayton, Dubilier & Rice-led consortium’s €2.1bn acquisition of SPIE in 2011 from PAI Partners.

Founded 115 years ago to engineer parts of the Paris Metro, SPIE’s revenue climbed by 15% to €5.22bn last year, boosted by a string of acquisitions and international growth.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Asia: Sidley builds Singapore M&A team with White & Case’s Indonesia chief as KWM loses an arbitration partner

Asia: Sidley builds Singapore M&A team with White & Case’s Indonesia chief as KWM loses an arbitration partner

Sidley Austin has boosted both its M&A and private equity offering in Southeast Asia with the hire of White & Case partner and Indonesia chief Charlie Wilson into its Singapore office.

Wilson joined White & Case in 2009 from an in-house role at specialist finance company Linq Asia Capital and acted as the firm’s Indonesian head.

A specialist in private equity and sovereign wealth fund investments and disposals in Southeast Asia, Wilson is ranked as a leading individual by The Legal 500 and has worked on deals including Pertamina, Indonesia’s state oil monopoly, purchase of Venezuelan oil assets.

Thomas Albrecht, managing partner for Sidley Asia Pacific, said: ‘Charlie has a particular strength in understanding the investment philosophy of, and legal requirements for, private equity investment in the region, and we believe that investment sector will continue to expand along with the regional economy.’

‘He also brings valuable Indonesia experience to the firm, and we expect that country to continue to attract the attention of our international clients,’ added Matthew Sheridan, head of international corporate finance practice in Asia and a member of Sidley’s executive committee.

In Indonesia White & Case recently established a new alliance with local, Jakarta-based firm Witara Cakra Advocates, after its previous ally also suffered partner exits.

Meanwhile, also in Singapore, King & Wood Mallesons lost Hong Kong-based international arbitration partner David Bateson to 39 Essex Chambers. He joins the set on 1 July 2015, with a focus on commercial arbitration and construction and will work alongside Ben Olbourne who joined in 2014.

michael.west@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Emerging markets: White & Case sets up another Indonesia alliance

Emerging markets: White & Case sets up another Indonesia alliance

Moving on from its former association in Indonesia after it suffered several key exits, White & Case has forged a new alliance with local, Jakarta-based firm Witara Cakra Advocates.

The decision comes after two partners of its former Indonesia alliance firm, MD & Partners, left to join Baker & McKenzie best friend firm Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners and Norton Rose Fulbright respectively.

White & Case said in a statement: ‘White & Case has been active in Indonesia for more than 40 years, and we continue to work with leading Indonesian law firms to provide the best advice to our clients.’

The US firm is known to enjoy many associations in the region having partnered with local firm MD & Partners in 2013, after ending its non-exclusive agreement with Jakarta-based Ali Budiardjo Nugroho Reksodiputro (ABNR).

The firm currently has six outposts across Asia, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Shanghai, Tokyo and Singapore – where it was granted renewal of its Qualifying Foreign Law Practice licence last month till April 2019.

In 2014, Bird & Bird signed strategic cooperation agreements with two Indonesian law firms – intellectual property specialists K&K Advocates and business law firm Nurjadin Sumono Mulyadi & Partners (NSMP), while Clifford Chance also entered a formal association with Indonesian firm Linda Widyati & Partners (LWP) to service the country’s market.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk