Global 100: Branded – Inside the troubled takeover of SJ Berwin

Global 100: Branded – Inside the troubled takeover of SJ Berwin

Since merging with King & Wood Mallesons, legacy SJ Berwin has lurched from one disaster to the next. Can the firm recover?

A dire 2015 brought matters to a head at the firm now known as King & Wood Mallesons (KWM). On a wet and windy evening on 22 March, 24 partners from legacy SJ Berwin were hauled in front of global managing partner Stuart Fuller and European and Middle East senior partner Stephen Kon to be told that they were to depart.

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Panel review: Taylor Wessing and KWM SJ Berwin secure spots on property developer Essential Living’s ten-strong panel

Panel review: Taylor Wessing and KWM SJ Berwin secure spots on property developer Essential Living’s ten-strong panel

Newly-formed rental property developer Essential Living has appointed a ten-strong panel of law firms to its roster as it focuses on ambitious development targets for the coming year, with Taylor Wessing and King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin securing advisory roles ‘with an overarching brief to provide corporate, finance and delivery advice,’ a statement said today (26 November). Continue reading “Panel review: Taylor Wessing and KWM SJ Berwin secure spots on property developer Essential Living’s ten-strong panel”

It’s big, it’s here – King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin launches and unveils global management team

It’s big, it’s here – King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin launches and unveils global management team

It’s big, spanning continents, oceans, hugely disparate cultures and a complex governance and profit-sharing model and it’s going live today (1 November) – welcome to King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin.

The firm has now confirmed who will be taking on the task of managing the newly-merged giant after announcing the line-up of global practice heads and its new management committee. (For lawyers who spent their summer in a cave, the firm is the combination of top 25 UK practice SJ Berwin and Asia-Pacific giant King & Wood Mallesons).

Continue reading “It’s big, it’s here – King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin launches and unveils global management team”

As Brazil cools Latam heat – Garrigues moves into Colombia; SJB primes Saudi move

As Brazil cools Latam heat – Garrigues moves into Colombia; SJB primes Saudi move

With Brazil’s economy continuing to disappoint during 2013, there is increasing focus on other economies across Latin America. Moving to meet that demand Iberian giant Garrigues has announced that it is to acquire Colombian outfit Zarama y Asociados.

Garrigues has secured the signatures of Zarama y Asociados sole partners, Fernando Zarama and Camilo Zarama, along with the rest of the fee earners at the firm. The deal allows Garrigues to make a significant play in one of the fastest growing and most touted of Latin America’s economies, combining the practice with the Spanish firm’s Bogota branch.

Continue reading “As Brazil cools Latam heat – Garrigues moves into Colombia; SJB primes Saudi move”

SJ Berwin to collect on unpaid legal fees from Qatari sheikh

SJ Berwin to collect on unpaid legal fees from Qatari sheikh

Middle-Eastern high-net-worth individuals are probably the last clients you would expect to be forced to chase for money but SJ Berwin is set to receive over £260,000 in unpaid fees from a Qatari sheikh client in a judgment revealed last week.

Reported on Bloomberg Businessweek on Friday (20 September), the decision was handed down by the High Court in April after Sheikh Saud Bin Ali Al-Thani failed to respond to a lawsuit brought by the City firm. SJ Berwin, which will merge with King & Wood Mallesons on 1 November, is owed $419,000 for its advice when Al-Thani’s assets were frozen last year after he failed to pay auction houses for bids that he won. Continue reading “SJ Berwin to collect on unpaid legal fees from Qatari sheikh”

Revolving doors: Linklaters boosts Asia restructuring practice while SJ Berwin makes key disputes hire

Revolving doors: Linklaters boosts Asia restructuring practice while SJ Berwin makes key disputes hire

In the second recruit to its Hong Kong office in the last couple of weeks, Linklaters has hired former Allen & Overy (A&O) partner David Kidd to lead its restructuring & insolvency (R&I) practice as the Magic Circle firm strengthens its finance and litigation teams in the region.

Kidd, who has operated under his own banner for around a year since leaving A&O in 2012, will make the move to Linklaters next month, joining former Herbert Smith Freehills Asia disputes head Gavin Lewis, whose appointment as partner to Linklaters litigation team was announced in August.

Continue reading “Revolving doors: Linklaters boosts Asia restructuring practice while SJ Berwin makes key disputes hire”

SJ Berwin’s high stakes tie-up with KWM dares to bring a new equation to global law

David Stevenson and Alex Novarese assess SJ Berwin’s audacious Asia-Pacific tie-up and ask if the union can truly propel the firm into the global premier league

‘This isn’t about doing anything with our backs against the wall,’ says Jonathan Blake, the former senior partner of SJ Berwin, and one of the architects of his 165-partner firm’s impending tie-up with King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

Despite some well publicised reverses in recent years for the mid-pack City player, Blake’s comment is undoubtedly true. But as to what the deal that goes live on 1 November does signify, well, opinion is sharply and starkly divided. Continue reading “SJ Berwin’s high stakes tie-up with KWM dares to bring a new equation to global law”

What’s in a name? SJ Berwin and King & Wood Mallesons seal union

What’s in a name? SJ Berwin and King & Wood Mallesons seal union

Forming a ground-breaking union between a leading City firm and an Asia powerhouse, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) partners confirmed this morning (31 July) that the Hong Kong-headquartered firm would merge with the UK’s SJ Berwin.

KWM partners in Australia and China voted simultaneously in favour of the merger at 1pm Hong Kong time and 3pm Sydney time in person, while SJ Berwin partners have voted electronically over the last five days. The merger will go live on 1 November, creating a firm with combined revenues over $1bn and 2,223 lawyers, including 553 partners.

KWM operates three separate partnerships in China, Hong Kong and Australia and although the Chinese partnership was given a longer time to consider the deal, all votes were in by today’s deadline. Continue reading “What’s in a name? SJ Berwin and King & Wood Mallesons seal union”

A high-stakes global play – SJ Berwin to vote next week on tie-up with Asian giant King & Wood Mallesons

A high-stakes global play – SJ Berwin to vote next week on tie-up with Asian giant King & Wood Mallesons

Arguably the most ambitious deal to hit the global legal market since the 2010 tie-up between Hogan & Hartson and Lovells looks set to go ahead as it emerges that SJ Berwin is to vote next week on its proposed merger with Asia-Pacific giant King & Wood Mallesons.

Legal Business understands that SJ Berwin partners were given a week’s notice this morning of the vote, which will close at the end of the month. Continue reading “A high-stakes global play – SJ Berwin to vote next week on tie-up with Asian giant King & Wood Mallesons”

Comment: SJ Berwin’s choice – to soar or crash with an Asian giant

Comment: SJ Berwin’s choice – to soar or crash with an Asian giant

If you are going to finally do a global merger, it would be fitting for one of the most distinctive City practices to hook up with the great outlier of the Global 100. That is what is on the agenda for SJ Berwin as it this summer mulls an outline deal to combine with King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), the ground-breaking union between the top commercial law firms in China and Australia. Continue reading “Comment: SJ Berwin’s choice – to soar or crash with an Asian giant”