Tag: strategic recruitment

Paul Weiss and Kirkland break revenue records amid London lateral shakeout

Paul Weiss has broken through the $2bn global revenue mark, posting a 10.8% hike on last year, as the firm’s bold London recruitment drive continues to make headlines.

The firm’s 178 equity partners took home an average of $6.5m in 2023, with profit per equity partner (PEP) up 14.8% from $5.73m the previous year.

Overall profit came in at $1.17bn, while revenue per lawyer was up 5.3% to $1.98m from last year’s $1.88m.

In recent months, Paul Weiss has recruited some of the City’s biggest hitters, among a total of 17 partner hires. Most have joined from Kirkland & Ellis, following the defections of debt finance superstar Neel Sachdev and big-name corporate partner Roger Johnson in August. The duo joined to lead the US firm’s London office, initiating a wave of hires aimed at building up a substantial English law practice.

Sachdev brought with him a Kirkland team including debt finance partner Kanesh Balasubramaniam and capital markets partners Matthew Merkle and Deirdre Jones, while Johnson has assembled an M&A practice with ex-Kirkland partner Andreas Philipson, as well as a tax practice featuring former Kirkland partners Timothy Lowe and Cian O’Connor.

Other names joining from Kirkland have included debt finance partner Stefan Arnold-Soulby and technology and intellectual property transactions specialist John Patten.

Paul Weiss has also targeted the Magic Circle, starting with the hire of Linklaters M&A partner Will Aitken-Davies in September. Notably, Lowe, O’Connor and Patten also had stints at Linklaters.

In December, it came as no surprise when Paul Weiss hired from Linklaters again, bringing on Nicole Kar, the former head of the Magic Circle firm’s antitrust and foreign investment practice. Adding to the Linklaters alumni, the following month the firm hired public M&A partner Dan Schuster-Woldan.

Clifford Chance has also been a target, with high-profile private equity partner Christopher Sullivan and acquisition finance partner Taner Hassan coming over in December, and just last week (18 March), junior private equity partner Oliver Marcuse followed suit.

Outside of the Magic Circle, Paul Weiss has also hired former Ropes & Gray competition partner Annie Herdman, who also served at Kirkland earlier in her career.

The recruitment drive has seen a complete changing-of-the guard for Paul Weiss in London, which has had a modest City presence without English law capability since 2001. Last May deputy London head Ramy Wahbeh and corporate partner Kaisa Kuusk both left to join Sidley, followed by the departure of London managing partner Alvaro Membrillera to Kirkland in early August, a move which was one of a number of factors which sparked the flurry of moves in the opposite direction.

On the back of the new additions, the firm announced in October it was set to move into Twitter’s former UK headquarters in Soho.

Recent London deal highlights for Paul Weiss have included advising General Atlantic on its acquisition of a majority stake in coffee shop Joe & the Juice from Valedo Partners, with Johnson and Balasubramaniam working alongside partners in the US.

The seven billion dollar law firm

Despite the departures in London, Kirkland has consolidated its position as the largest law firm in the world, with global revenue increasing by 10% last year to $7.2bn, according to The American Lawyer.

The firm’s 539 equity partners took home an average of $8m as PEP increased 5.8%, with overall profit standing at $4.3bn. RPL also increased by 7.5% from $1.9m last year, to $2.05m.

As well as highly regarded private equity partner Membrillera, the firm has made a number of other significant recent additions to its team, including debt finance partners Ian Barratt and Sinead O’Shea, who joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, while Herbert Smith Freehills ESG head Rebecca Perlman also recently came on board in London.

O’Shea, alongside London debt finance colleague Jerome Hoyle, were recently part of a global team advising KKR on financing for its voluntary public takeover offer to all shareholders of Encavis, a leading German wind and solar park operator.

The firm’s restructuring team has also handled a number of significant mandates of late, such as advising global engineering and construction business McDermott International on the cross-border restructuring of around $2.6bn of the group’s secured debt facilities.

In 2023 Kirkland also opened a new office in Riyadh, recruiting corporate partner Noor Al-Fawzan and capital markets Manal Al-Musharaf from Latham & Watkins and White & Case respectively, to join the 20th global office of the Chicago giant.


This story first appeared on Legal Business.

Revolving doors: Kirkland adds more magic circle partners as Akin Gump strengthens restructuring team

As the pound reached a record low against the dollar, US firms have continued to wield their hiring power in the City, adding several high-profile laterals to their ranks.

Kirkland & Ellis bolstered its infrastructure funds practice with two magic circle hires. It recruited the Legal 500-ranked leading individual James Boswell from Clifford Chance and Paul Sampson (who was described by Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee, as a ‘a rising star in the European funds world’) from Allen & Overy. These hires follow the arrival of A&O’s global co-head of infrastructure Sara Pickersgill last week.

Meanwhile, Akin Gump welcomed restructuring partner Sam Brodie back to the firm after 18 months at Shearman & Sterling. Brodie first joined Akin Gump as counsel as part of a team from Bingham McCutchen led by James Roome and was promoted to the partnership in 2018. He re-joins as Roome readies to retire, marking an end of an era for the City restructuring practice.

Of his return, Brodie told Legal Business: ‘It was a really compelling opportunity for me to rejoin Akin Gump not only to help manage the ever-increasing client demand, but also to help develop the restructuring and special situations practices, as well as to help bring on the next generation of talent within the team.’

Elsewhere, CMS’s co-head of construction has joined Clyde & Co after more than 28 years at the firm. Victoria Peckett, who was promoted to partner in 2002, has a breadth of contentious and non-contentious experience, including in projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Clyde & Co’s chief executive officer Matthew Kelsall said: ‘Construction is one of our core sectors and we have ambitious plans to continue to grow the practice globally in both depth and breadth, as contractors face both huge opportunities and significant risks as they continue to navigate today’s challenging business environment. Attracting a lawyer of Victoria’s calibre is clearly aligned with that focus on growth.’

Osborne Clarke added corporate energy partner Matt Lewy from Womble Bond Dickinson. He has more than a decade of experience in renewable energy and infrastructure M&A having previously worked at CMS and Baker Botts. Lewy is the fifth partner to join the firm’s renewable energy sector group this year following the arrivals of projects partners Hugo Lidbetter (who joined in January from Fieldfisher) and John Deacon, Hannah Roscoe and Dominic O’Brien, who all joined from Orrick in March.

Finally, in Madrid, Pinsent Masons strengthened its European finance capabilities with the addition of José Millán from Penningtons Manches Cooper, where he headed the banking and finance team. This follows the launch of the firm’s financial services-focused Luxembourg office in July.


This story first appeared on Legal Business.

Revolving doors: Orrick adds four-partner WFW projects team as Taylor Wessing invests in employment bench

After an eventful week and with many lawyers  working from home until further notice, City firms and US rivals continue to ramp up hires as Orrick, Herrington & SutcliffeTaylor Wessing and Pinsent Masons all made hires in London.  

Orrick appointed a four-partner team to its energy and infrastructure practice in London from Watson Farley & Williams. The team includes energy and infrastructure partners Evan Stergoulis, SimoAlsey and Ravinder Sandhu, as well as real estate partner Simon FolleyStergoulis will co-head the firm’s global renewables practice. 

The team advises investors on mergers and acquisitions, project development and financings involving offshore wind, onshore renewable energy and gas and power projects in the UK, Europe and Asia.  

Orrick’s energy and infrastructure sector lead Blake Winburne told Legal Business: ‘London is an incredibly important market for our energy & infrastructure practice. Our strategy in London is to field a team of highly-collaborative, market-recognised practitioners that connect with our global platform. We have certainly achieved that objective with the team led by Evan Stergoulis and we will continue to invest in our global practice with that same strategic objective.’ 

Meanwhile, Taylor Wessing recruited employment partner Helen Farr to its London office. Farr joined from Fox Williams and advises on financial and professional services, private equity and FinTech with a focus on workplace discrimination, equal pay, team moves and boardroom disputes. 

Executive board member and partner James Goold told Legal Business: ‘Helen’s appointment enhances our employment offering by bringing together experience in the financial and professional services sectors. She is known for her advice on strategic matters, TUPE and boardroom disputes, and her expertise in FinTech also complements our sector focus on technology. The continued growth of our international employment capability is essential and Helen is an important part of our offering.’ 

Elsewhere, Pinsents added Totis Kotsonis from Eversheds Sutherland to lead the firm’s state aid and public procurement team within its competition, EU and trade group in London. Kotsonis acts on compliance and contentious matters, including litigation, in national courts and the Court of Justice of the EU. 

Head of competition, EU & trade Alan Davis told Legal Business: ‘Totis’ experience across the energy, TMT, infrastructure and transport markets aligns well with the firm’s sector expertise. His experience working across public procurement and state aid matters, both contentious and non-contentious, strengthens our capabilities and offering to clients.  

‘The demand for procurement and state aid advice in the UK will increase. Totis’ expertise will enable us to respond to the rapidly changing requirements of the government as it manages the existing procurement and state aid regimes and develops new policy and legislation in a post-Brexit era,’ Davis added. 

Pinsents also hired in Paris, appointing project finance partner Eran Chvika from Norton Rose Fulbright. Chvika advises banks, international financial institutions, sponsors, investment funds and developers on domestic and cross-border complex financing and acquisition transactions in France and Francophone Africa. 

Elsewhere, McDermott Will & Emery hired commercial litigation partners Josh Simon, Warren Haskel and Dmitriy Tishyevich to its healthcare litigation practice in New York.  

Global head of McDermott’s litigation practice group, David Rosenbloom, said: ‘Josh, Warren and Dmitriy are all precisely that kind of lawyer – they understand the ever-changing health law and regulatory landscape and are well equipped to respond to complex matters, even before they result in litigation. The foresight and synergy between the members of this group already exists, and we look forward to advancing that using the McDermott platform.’  

Finally, in an unusual departure for Slaughter and Maycorporate partner Susannah Macknay left the firm’s London office to join the Sydney office of Australian firm Gilbert + Tobin. Macknay joined Slaughters in 2007 and became a partner in 2014. She acts for corporate and private equity clients on public and private M&A and equity capital market transactions.  


This article first appeared on Legal Business.

Revolving doors: Swings and roundabouts for Squires and Addleshaws as 2Birds fills real estate gap

City hires picked up pace again last week after a fallow patch as leading firms made prominent additions to a number of key practice areas. Squire Patton Boggs hired to its private equity practice while Bird & Bird and Addleshaw Goddard strengthened their real estate benches.

Squires added to its global corporate practice in London with the hire of Stephen Ball. He joined the firm’s international private equity team as a partner from KPMG where he served as chief executive and vice chairman. Ball advises on financial services, risk, strategy and corporate governance for global banks, companies, private equity firms, hedge funds and governments.

Squires’ European managing partner Jonathan Jones commented: ‘Stephen’s reputation precedes him, as a widely respected, highly trusted advisor on business strategy and decision-making at the highest level. He brings with him years of experience, in terms of personally leading global teams and firms and of advising international businesses – global private equity houses, major corporates, banks and financial institutions – on the most complex of matters.’

Bird & Bird meanwhile added Addleshaws partner James Salford to its real estate finance practice in London. Salford advises lenders and borrowers on debt and also reviews and negotiates hotel operating agreements.

Co-head of the retail & consumer sector group at Bird & Bird Mark Abell told Legal Business: ‘We decided to go the market and bring someone with the right seniority and right level of skills into the team and I think we’ve made an exceptionally strong recruitment. It’s not one of those roulette hires- there’s a real need and real opportunities. In the hotel sector we are growing at a pretty phenomenal pace and the main strategic goal is to fulfil that potential. There’s plenty of opportunities that are there for the taking.’

To mitigate the loss, Addleshaws hired Squires partner Rachel Orton to its real estate team in London. Orton acts for investors, developers and finance clients on transactions in the healthcare, retirement living and build-to-rent sectors.

Head of Addleshaws real estate division Adrian Collins commented: ‘Senior living and healthcare within the BTR sector is expanding rapidly, with an ageing population and longer life expectancy driving the requirement. Rachel is a fantastic addition to the team not only as her clients provide existing synergies with our real estate offering, but she can draw on strong support from our market leading construction and infrastructure teams.’

Orton told Legal Business: ‘I am excited to be joining a firm with such a high calibre real estate team as Addleshaw Goddard. In light of their existing impressive credentials in the build-to-rent sector and enthusiasm for and willingness to invest in the senior living and extra care sector, Addleshaw Goddard was an obvious choice for me.’

Orton’s hire follows the recent addition of former Linklaters real estate disputes head Frances Richardson to Addleshaws’ real estate team.

Elsewhere, Dentons recruited partner Shane O’Donnell to its corporate team in Dublin. O’Donnell joined the firm from William Fry where he has been head of corporate for the last five years. He advises leading domestic and international corporations, financial institutions and government organisations on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, fundraisings and take-private transactions.

Dentons managing partner in Ireland Eavan Saunders said: ‘Attracting such a high calibre partner demonstrates the ambitions we have for the Dublin office. Shane is an acknowledged leader in his field and will be a tremendous addition to the Dentons offering in Ireland.’

Finally, in Los Angeles, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett made a rare lateral play with the additions of Gregory Klein and Michael Kaplan from Irell & Manella to its M&A practice.

Klein and Kaplan are experienced in private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and related corporate matters, as well as advising venture investors, hedge funds and other institutional money managers, founders, startups and early-stage companies on investments, debt and equity financings and governance issues.

Chairman of Simpson Thacher’s executive committee Bill Dougherty commented: ‘Their addition will further enhance our ability to meet our clients’ needs both in California and beyond. Their experience advising on mergers and acquisitions, particularly in the middle-market, as well as on growth equity investments, is an ideal complement to our strength in private equity across the board.’


This article first appeared on Legal Business.

In-house: Trustpilot bags former Skyscanner legal chief as Gowling scores sole Commonwealth Games mandate

Adding to recent high-profile in-house appointments, former Skyscanner legal chief Carolyn Jameson (pictured) has been appointed chief legal and policy officer at consumer review website Trustpilot, while Gowling WLG has become sole legal adviser to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

GC Powerlist-regular Jameson, who earlier in the year announced her departure from high-profile travel metasearch engine Skyscanner after six years, will oversee global legal and public affairs at Trustpilot from the UK and Denmark.

She also joins the company’s executive leadership team, reporting to chief executive Peter Holten Mühlmann, and replaces former general counsel (GC) Kasper Heine. Jameson ran a legal team of 12 at Skyscanner and was involved in its £1.4bn acquisition by Chinese online travel giant ctrip.com in 2016.

Jameson said: ‘I am hugely excited to be joining Trustpilot at a time when it is continuing to grow more important every day.’

Muhlmann added: ‘[Jameson’s] experience in helping brands navigate the issue of trust online makes her a fantastic addition to the team. As Trustpilot continues to grow and continue its ambition to bring consumers and businesses together, Jameson’s expertise will only help improve the experiences of everyone using the platform.’

Her move to Trustpilot follows former Worldpay GC Ruwan de Soyza decamping to FTSE 100 technology company Halma earlier in the month. Jameson, meanwhile, was replaced at Skyscanner by former Deliveroo legal head Rob Miller.

Elsewhere, Gowling has won a competitive tender to be exclusive legal advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for the next three years.

A team from the firm will advise on a range of legal matters, including brand reputation and disputes management, led by partner and Commonwealth board member Michael Luckman, alongside the event’s chief legal officer Caroline McGrory.

Commonwealth event chief executive Ian Reid said it already works closely with Gowling: ‘This is a very exciting time as we’ve just passed our three years to go milestone and our profile and workload is really starting to increase.’

Gowling chief executive David Fennell added: ‘This appointment builds on our strong track record of advising on major projects across the public and private sectors’.

By Legal Business anna.cole-bailey@legalease.co.uk