Legal Business

JP Morgan

  • General counsel: Stephen Cutler.
  • EMEA general counsel: John Tribolati.
  • Team headcount: 115 lawyers in London.

JP Morgan remains one of the most coveted and lucrative legal clients in the world. From transactional, regulatory and compliance instructions, and a legal expense bill that totalled more than $1.1bn in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone as a result of major government probes, law firms are chomping at the bit for business. But aside from size, JP Morgan’s legal team has long been admired for its technical polish and pragmatic approach.

JP Morgan’s strategic investment in its legal function was evident with the hire of Piers Le Marchant from Nomura last April as its EMEA GC.

Le Marchant has moved into the role of global head of compliance for corporate and investment banking, with JP Morgan last month recruiting prominent Goldman Sachs counsel John Tribolati as its new regional legal head.

Tribolati has moved to one of the world’s largest investment houses at a time when JP Morgan faces intense scrutiny from regulators. In 2013 it paid out nearly $20bn in settlements to regulators, while in 2014 the bank was one of a dozen facing a global investigation into whether traders colluded to manipulate the estimated $5.3trn-a-day Forex market.

Major corporate work last year saw JP Morgan club together with Barclays and Morgan Stanley to arrange £6.6bn in loans for BSkyB to take full control of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, while its work on Liberty Global’s purchase of Germany’s third-largest cable TV operator KBW from EQT was cited by market commentators as one of the most innovative acquisition financings in recent years.

The EMEA team is described by Allen & Overy finance partner Sally Onions as ‘not just focused on deal management but is also interested in shaping the future of the market’.

In particular, legal counsel Liz Tippins, a former Allen & Overy lawyer, is described as ‘very pragmatic and efficient in her approach’ and ‘interested in wider market developments’, while other notable names include executive director and assistant GC, Emma Smith, an employment law specialist who joined from Old Square Chambers in September; and dual-qualified Simone Paul, also executive director and assistant GC, who serves in the derivatives legal department. Paul also previously served as investment compliance manager at Citibank followed by a six-year run at State Street Bank’s global markets legal department. The team also includes high-profile associate GC Tim Hailes.