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.

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.

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

Legal Business

Disputes round-up: White & Case continues hiring drive with RBS litigation head as HSF partner appointed deputy High Court judge

Disputes round-up: White & Case continues hiring drive with RBS litigation head as HSF partner appointed deputy High Court judge

White & Case is continuing its bid to add firepower to its London disputes bench with the hire of The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)’s former head of litigation and investigations Laura Durrant as a partner.

Meanwhile, Swiss disputes firm LALIVE is opening an arbitration-focused office in London and Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) litigation partner Adam Johnson QC has been appointed a deputy High Court judge.

Durrant started her career as an associate with HSF in 2006, before opting to move in-house to RBS in 2010 where she went on to occupy a number of roles. Most recently, she acted as the banking giant’s head of litigation, regulatory and investigations.

For White & Case, Durrant’s arrival continues a recent trend of hiring ex-banking lawyers. The firm brought in fellow litigation partner Chris Brennan in June, after previous spells at Lloyds Banking Group and the Financial Conduct Authority.

It also marks a concerted attempt by the expansive US firm to aggressively hire for its City disputes bench to enable it to contend with the Magic Circle. Last month, the firm enlisted contentious construction and engineering partner David Robertson to its arbitration team from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft litigation partner Steven Baker to its commercial litigation practice.

John Reynolds, White & Case disputes partner, told Legal Business: ‘We have made a concerted effort to bring in the right people for the banking litigation team, we’ve made four laterals in the area this year. The combination between Chris, myself and Laura I feel fantastically optimistic about, we all get on really well.’

Charles Balmain, head of EMEA disputes for White & Case, commented: ‘As we continue to compete toe-to-toe with the magic circle, it’s exciting to welcome an experienced and accomplished lawyer like Laura, who has a strong market profile and excellent relationships with key figures in the banking industry.’

Elsewhere, Withers has taken advantage of the recent exodus at the newly-formed Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, appointing legacy Bryan Cave’s head of arbitration Emma Lindsay.

Lindsay, who will be located in Withers’ New York office, is a dual-qualified international disputes lawyer and typically represents corporates and sovereigns across a range of jurisdictions.

Peter Wood, head of Withers’ disputes division, said: ‘Her arrival at the firm extends our international arbitration capabilities to the US. With Emma in place in New York, we can now offer our clients expert arbitration advice across the US, Asia and Europe.’

After the emphatic endorsement of being appointed to Queen’s Counsel in 2017, HSF litigation partner Adam Johnson QC has now been elected to serve as a deputy High Court judge.

Johnson QC will act on a four-year term and is expected to sit for around 30 days a year, dealing with complex cases which would otherwise be undertaken by permanent High Court judges. He has substantial experience from his time at HSF, joining the firm in 1988 and acting on high-profile mandates such as representing RBS in the litigation arising out of the 2008 rights issue.

Out of a total of 32 deputy High Court judges appointed, only four were solicitors. Picked alongside Johnson QC was Bristows’ competition and regulatory head Pat Treacy, former Powell Spencer and Partners lawyer Margaret Obi, and former Thompsons partner Mary Stacey.

Johnson QC told Legal Business: ‘I have been practising law for over 30 years and the profession has given a lot to me, so there is a sense that it was important for me to give something back. As a solicitor I hope that the expertise I have had in that role will provide a slightly different and valuable perspective.’

Finally, Swiss outfit LALIVE has announced that it is opening an office in London. The new outpost, which will be focused on commercial and investment treaty arbitration, will be led by a two-partner team consisting of Marc Veit and Timothy Foden.

Veit has been with LALIVE since 2014 while Foden has recently joined the firm after previously acting as of counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

LALIVE has bucked recent fears by placing its faith in the UK as a post-Brexit arbitration hub. Veit commented: ‘We believe that the UK will remain a key location for international arbitration post-Brexit. London’s attractiveness as a seat for international arbitration may actually increase as third parties may see England as being a more neutral venue outside of the EU.’

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Sullivan & Cromwell ends City recruitment hiatus as White & Case lead firms strengthening in Asia

Revolving Doors: Sullivan & Cromwell ends City recruitment hiatus as White & Case lead firms strengthening in Asia

There are signs the summer hiring lull is coming to an end after Sullivan & Cromwell and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) made significant London plays, while White & Case led an array of firms looking East.

Sullivan & Cromwell broke a five-year duck in the City by hiring Jeremy Kutner from Shearman & Sterling. Kutner, who was made partner in 2012, had headed up Shearman’s technology, media and telecoms (TMT) industry group, advising a plethora of major media companies including Liberty Global, Virgin Media and Vivendi.

Sullivan’s last City lateral before Kutner was restructuring partner Chris Howard, who joined from Linklaters in 2013. The firm claims it is looking to strengthen its City corporate practice further.

A spokesperson for Shearman commented: ‘We can confirm that Jeremy Kutner will be leaving the firm. We wish him all the best for the future.’

BCLP, meanwhile, made an addition with Elizabeth Hicks, who will spearhead the firm’s family asset protection team in London. Hicks joins from Irwin Mitchell, where as partner she acted as head of family law. She previously worked at Kingsley Napley, where she was made partner in 2001.

The move comes as BCLP looks to improve its wider private client capability. Global co-head of the firm’s private client practice, Damian Bloom, commented: ‘Elizabeth’s arrival furthers the family asset protection group’s ambition of seamlessly servicing high net worth clients on complex high value family and asset protection matters. There are growing opportunities in this space across the private wealth sector, and a global commercial law firm with international family disputes capability is an attractive proposition for prospective clients.’

Finishing off the domestic recruitment round, RPC announced the hire of professional indemnity partner Rhian Howell from Beale & Co to the firm’s Bristol office. Howell had previously acted as head of the Bristol office for Beale.

Meanwhile, American heavyweight White & Case kicked off an international recruitment round dominated by appointments in Asia, announcing the hire of Bingna Guo as partner in the firm’s Beijing office. Guo joins from O’Melveny & Myers, where she had spent her entire career and was made partner in 2012.

Guo has experience in international investigations and providing compliance advice on domestic and cross-border matters for multinational companies.

White & Case’s China head Alex Zhang said: ‘China continues to be a key Asia-Pacific jurisdiction in which White & Case is targeting further growth. Bingna, an experienced and highly capable partner with strong client relationships and an excellent market reputation, is an exciting addition to our team who adds further breadth and depth to the firm’s practice in China.’

Elsewhere in Asia, DWF continued its run of hires with the appointment of Jonathan Goacher to its Singapore office. Goacher joins from Kennedys, where he led the firm’s regional corporate insurance practice, and was previously a consultant at DLA Piper’s Bangkok office for more than a decade. Goacher is also a New York-qualified lawyer.

Oommen Mathew, managing partner of DWF Singapore, said: ‘Jonathan will be a very strong addition to our Singapore practice as we look to build our corporate and transactional offering to further capitalise on the opportunities in the market.’

Finishing off the international round, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan joined the Asia hiring spree in securing the services of former Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garret & Dunner partner York Faulkner. Faulkner’s practice focuses on intellectual property litigation, adding to Quinn’s Tokyo litigation offering, as well as bringing experience from acting as a federal prosecutor in the U.S Department of Justice.

Managing partner, John Quinn, welcomed the hire: ‘We have been looking to add the right person to the Tokyo office for a while now. We are very excited to have York join us.’

Legal Business

White & Case doubles up in the City in continued disputes drive

White & Case doubles up in the City in continued disputes drive

White & Case is continuing its aggressive City expansion with two disputes hires, the firm’s eighth and ninth laterals this year.

Contentious construction and engineering partner David Robertson is joining White & Case’s arbitration team from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP), while Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft litigation partner Steven Baker joins the firm’s commercial litigation practice.

Robertson joined legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner in 2013, and has experience acting on major construction, energy and infrastructure projects, while Baker acts on technology disputes, a sector White & Case has highlighted for growth.

Dipen Sabharwal, regional section head of EMEA disputes, told Legal Business: ‘Disputes in London is a core part of our 2020 strategy, and these two hires ticked all the boxes.’

The firm’s much-touted 2020 strategy is about going ‘toe to toe with the Magic Circle’. London-based executive committee member Oliver Brettle, the firm’s former City office head, commented: ‘As we continue to take the fight to the Magic Circle, the arrival of leading partners such as Steven and David propels us forward.’

The headline hires follow that of Chris Brennan’s arrival at the firm in June, with the experienced litigator arriving from Addleshaw Goddard. The latest arrivals take White & Case’s City lateral recruitment count up to nine this year.

Sabharwal added that more disputes hires would be needed if the firm is to make good on its commitment to surpass the City elite: ‘We’re at the halfway mark of our 2020 strategy and we’re not there yet, but it’s a continuing ambition of ours.’

Meanwhile, last month White & Case announced the opening of a new office in Chicago, as the firm continued its dynamic growth drive globally.

Legal Business

Their kind of town: White & Case hires in Chicago as firm launches in the Windy City

Their kind of town: White & Case hires in Chicago as firm launches in the Windy City

More than 100 lawyers are eventually expected to join the new office

White & Case is continuing its dynamic growth drive by launching an office in Chicago, spearheaded by Jason Zakia, the head of its disputes practice in the Americas.

Legal Business

Ashurst taps Mayer Brown’s City office in disputes drive as White & Case adds Macfarlanes rising deal star Jones

Ashurst taps Mayer Brown’s City office in disputes drive as White & Case adds Macfarlanes rising deal star Jones

The City lateral market has kicked off after an uncharacteristic hiatus in recent weeks, seeing Ashurst recruit disputes partner Tom Duncan from Mayer Brown as Macfarlanes loses private equity rising star Emmie Jones to White & Case’s relentless hiring spree.

Macfarlanes-bred Jones, who featured in Legal Business’ analysis on the female City private equity players to watch in the mid-tier, was made up to partner in 2013. She has joined White & Case’s global M&A and private equity industry group as the firm sallies forth with its 2020 strategy, which includes going ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Magic Circle in London, led by erstwhile London executive partner Oliver Brettle.

Brettle, partner and member of the firm’s global executive committee, commented: ‘Our 2020 strategy includes a focus on profitable growth in London, in the global private equity industry and in mergers and acquisitions. The arrival of Emmie represents clear further progress in all three areas.’

John Reiss, head of White & Case’s global M&A practice, added: ‘The addition of Emmie sends a clear message to the market that we’re determined to continue growing our role advising the leading private equity firms and their portfolio companies on their most important, complex, cross-border matters.’

Jones has advised clients on the structuring, negotiation and execution of complex, cross-border private equity transactions across multiple sectors. She has totted up more than 150 deals, in both traditional private equity and advising portfolio companies, with a combined enterprise value of £10bn.

She has more than 13 years of experience advising private equity sponsors, corporates and management teams on acquisitions, disposals, management equity deals and distressed situations.

M&A partner John Cunningham said that Jones’ client relationships are an exciting fit with the firm’s client portfolio and the hire will play an important role in the ongoing institutionalisation and growth of the firm’s client base.

White & Case bolstered this same team as recently as March with the hire of former Jones Day partner Mike Weir. Jones is the seventh lateral in London so far this year, in addition to seven internal partner promotions in January.

City firm Ashurst, meanwhile, is upping its dispute resolution game in London with Tom Duncan, who has been a partner in Mayer Brown’s construction and engineering and international arbitration groups since 2012. He advises on all aspects of construction and engineering law with a focus on complex disputes. He has acted for clients in a number of different jurisdictions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia and has broad experience in arbitrations, adjudications and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
This is the seventh dispute resolution partner hire for the firm this year, having recently appointed partners David Wilkinson and Alison Hardy in London, Emmanuelle Cabrol and Hortense de Roux in Paris, Nicolas Nohlen in Frankfurt and Melanie McKean in Canberra.

Simon Bromwich, head of Ashurst’s global dispute resolution practice, said: ‘Both in the UK and across our offices we are continuing to see high levels of infrastructure and construction disputes. These cases typically involve our growing and highly rated international arbitration team. I am confident that [Tom] will help our global team to capitalise further on the major opportunities in the market.’

Duncan added: ‘The strength of Ashurst’s credentials and client base in the infrastructure and construction sectors, together with its significant international network, provide an ideal basis to help develop Ashurst’s excellent disputes practice in those sectors. I have been impressed by the quality of the firm’s infrastructure and construction disputes capability and I am looking forward to working with the team.’

Legal Business

A&O lures FinReg head Penn back from Cleary as White & Case makes City funds play with partner hire

A&O lures FinReg head Penn back from Cleary as White & Case makes City funds play with partner hire

In a surprise move, Allen & Overy (A&O) has taken back its erstwhile financial services regulation head Bob Penn from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton after only two years away, while White & Case eyes the lucrative funds market with the addition of a new partner to its global banking practice in London.

Penn’s departure in April 2016 from A&O after 17 years to Cleary was a rare high-profile exit for the Magic Circle firm and a rarer-still  acquisition for Wall Street-bred Cleary.

He had been A&O’s head of non-contentious financial services regulation practice and is re-joining the firm as a partner. His start date is yet to be confirmed.

Penn joined A&O in 1999 and was made up to partner in 2007. His experience covers the full range of non-contentious financial services regulation, advising banks, asset managers, market infrastructure providers and financial institutions on national and international regulation.

With Penn’s return, the Magic Circle firm will have six regulatory partners in London, having hired Herbert Smith Freehills partner Nick Bradbury in 2016 and fintech specialist Ben Regnard-Weinrabe from the London arm of Paul Hastings earlier this year.

The financial services regulatory practice in London is led by Damian Carolan, with partners Etay Katz and Kate Sumpter making up the rest of the team.

Damian Carolan said: ‘[Bob’s] depth of experience is an invaluable addition to our team at a time when the volume, complexity and breadth of financial regulation has increased exponentially.  This is driving continued investment in the team to continue to support our financial services clients in facing sophisticated and evolving challenges.’

A spokesperson for Cleary said: ‘We wish Bob all the best for the future. Our financial services regulatory practice is an important global and cross-border practice. We will continue to support our financial institution clients across the world, with expertise from our offices in the Americas, Asia, London and the rest of Europe.’

Meanwhile, White & Case is persevering with its prolific recruitment drive with the addition of London partner Shane McDonald, who was previously senior vice president at Hudson Advisors, a fund manager with links to private equity firm Lone Star Funds.

At Hudson he was responsible for the financing of a large number of investments, including the acquisitions of non-performing loan portfolios and private equity portfolio companies.

Dual-qualified to practise in England and Australia, he was previously an associate at Ropes & Gray and, before that, at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Eric Leicht, head of White & Case’s global banking practice, said: ‘White & Case offers sophisticated sponsors and financial institutions a compelling proposition as counsel of choice for leveraged finance transactions. Clients benefit from our unique blend of US, UK and European law capabilities across our established EMEA network, including our strength in “US products” such as high yield and covenant-lite Term Loan Bs.  Shane’s arrival supports our ambition to continue building on our reputation as preeminent leveraged finance counsel.’

Oliver Brettle, London-based member of White & Case’s global executive committee, said: ‘Our 2020 strategy includes a focus on profitable growth in London, and in the global financial institutions and private equity industries. Shane’s arrival propels us forward in all three areas, and he joins a strong banking team in both London and globally.’

Legal Business

White & Case sets ambitious Chicago growth plans after opening office with corporate and white collar hires

White & Case sets ambitious Chicago growth plans after opening office with corporate and white collar hires

White & Case is continuing its dynamic growth drive apace as the US vanguard opens an office in Chicago to be spearheaded by Jason Zakia, the head of its disputes practice in the Americas.

The firm has nailed its colours to the mast with a pair of laterals in corporate and white collar, in the form of Gary Silverman and Carolyn Gurland, but plans to expand to more than 100 lawyers in short time.

Zakia, who joined White & Case as an associate in 2003 from Chicago-bred rival Kirkland & Ellis, is relocating to the Windy City from the firm’s Miami office. The new office is part of the firm’s 2020 strategy, which involves targeted, profitable growth, particularly in the US and London, with the aim of cementing a position among the global elite firms.

Silverman is a private equity partner who joins from Greenberg Traurig’s Chicago office where he worked for seven years. Like Zakia, he also has Kirkland pedigree, having worked at that firm for 18 years until 2004. He acts for clients across industries including manufacturing, consumer products, hospitality, life sciences, and media, entertainment and technology.

Gurland is a white collar criminal defense attorney who is returning to White & Case as a partner having worked at the firm’s New York office as an associate. She has been a sole practitioner for the last four years and, before that, served as assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office prosecuting complex, high-profile financial crimes.

The firm’s 2020 strategy is focused on growth in four key industries—financial institutions, private equity, technology and oil & gas—and three key practices—M&A, capital markets and disputes. Oliver Brettle last month stepped down as White & Case’s London executive partner in order to focus on this strategy.

Brettle told Legal Business: ‘The Midwest economy is as big in GDP terms as the UK or France. It’s a real corporate centre that is home to organisations which are already global or have global ambitions. Opening an office in Chicago that appeals to these businesses will, in time, benefit the rest of the firm including EMEA and Asia-Pacific.’

While only three lawyers strong, the Chicago office is intended to grow dramatically. John Reiss, White & Case’s global head of M&A based in New York, said: ‘We expect the office to expand to 100 lawyers and become a full service location over the next couple of years, and we are working actively to accomplish that.’

In February, the firm acted on its strategic ambitions when it launched a four-partner oil and gas office in Houston. James Cuclis joined from fellow US firm Vinson & Elkins to head up the office, Christopher Richardson and Charlie Ofner went over from local Houston outfit Andrews Kurth Kenyon, while Saul Daniel relocated from the firm’s London office.

At the time, Dave Koschik, head of White & Case’s US growth team, said the firm intended to have at least 15 partners and 50 total lawyers in Houston across the core transactional practices of corporate, finance and projects.

Legal Business

White & Case makes another City litigation play with Addleshaw Goddard hire

White & Case makes another City litigation play with Addleshaw Goddard hire

Expansive US firm White & Case is continuing to walk the talk on its going ‘toe to toe with the Magic Circle’ mantra after making another City hire in its litigation practice.

The experienced Chris Brennan is joining White & Case from Addleshaw Goddard, where he headed the firm’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigations and enforcement team and was a partner since 2012. Before that he was head of regulatory at Lloyds Banking Group, general counsel for a global inter-dealer broker and a senior lawyer in the FCA’s enforcement arm.

Brennan is White & Case’s second City litigation lateral hire this year, following the recent recruitment of well-regarded tax litigator Hannah Field-Lowes from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Brennan joins the firm from next week (4 June).

White & Case partner and EMEA disputes head Charles Balmain told Legal Business: ‘Chris’ hire fits squarely with the firm’s 2020 strategy, an important part of which is to strengthen the firm’s disputes practice in London and across the region. It’s another example of our aim to go toe to toe with the Magic Circle.’

The firm has made five lateral hires in the City this year. Its 2020 strategy, which former London executive Oliver Brettle recently shifted his full attention to after stepping down as London head, is about profitable growth in London with a focus on the global financial institutions industry and in disputes.

An Addleshaws spokesperson said: ‘Chris leaves with our best wishes.  Contentious regulatory work continues to be a key area for investment and our market leading global investigations team, led by Nichola Peters, goes from strength to strength servicing our deep client base.’

Brennan’s departure from Addleshaws follows a spate of hiring at the firm in early 2018, most recently expanding its Asia practice with the hire of Bob Charlton from legacy BLP.

White & Case’s hiring spree, meanwhile, was recently tempered by the departure of highly-rated regulatory lawyer James Greig, who left after just two years for a senior in-house role at banking giant Barclays.

For more on White & Case’s city ambitions read ‘Reborn supremacy – inside the unlikely White & Case revolution.