ES and HSF advise on $2.6bn Chinese investments in Abu Dhabi oil venture

Eversheds Sutherland (ES) and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) have advised two Chinese energy companies on their combined $2.6bn (£2.1bn) investment in a joint venture with state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Abu Dhabi Skyline, United Arab Emirates

In a deal announced on 19 February, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) – one of the three top oil producers in China – agreed to pay $1.76bn (£1.4bn) for an 8% stake in the $22bn (£17.5bn) Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations concession.

LawManlia

Harvey Law Group expands in Asia via new Manila office

Canada-based firm Harvey Law Group (HLG) has opened an office in the Philippines that is expected to offer immigration and business legal services to corporations and individuals.

LawManlia

Located in business hub Makati City, the new branch will have a 10-member team and replaces HLG’s eight-year-old representative office in Pasig City.

HLG’s other areas of expertise includes commercial law, contracts, naturalisation and citizenship. “Our new office in Manila reflects the firm’s continuing commitment to the Philippines as well as Asia’s growing role in the global economy,” said managing partner Jean François Harvey, in a statement.

Established in 1992, HLG has offices across the globe, including Montreal, Hong Kong, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok.

NewYork

Allen & Overy continues finance drive in the US with PH hires

Allen & Overy (A&O) has continued to drive its US finance team with the hire of a three-partner team from Paul Hastings.

The magic circle firm made headlines last year as it broke lockstep for the first time through the recruitment of four finance partners from White & Case and Proskauer Rose.

NewYork

The new hires from Paul Hastings expand A&O’s leveraged finance capabilities in New York and take partner numbers to 12.

The team is led by Paul Hastings former head of leveraged finance Bill Schwitter, alongside partners Michael Chernick and Jeffrey Pellegrino.

Schwitter joins A&O as its co-head of global high yield and head of US private equity.

A&O has been on a recruitment drive in the US, also hiring Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft partners Gregory Mocek and Anthony Mansfield in Washington DC.

It did, however, lose its US senior partner Kevin O’Shea last year for Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy along with two real estate partners from the firm.

Hong Kong

Ashurst Hong Kong exits continue as project finance partner joins DLA Piper

Matthias Schemuth leaves firm after nine years for move to DLA Piper.

Ashurst has seen another departure from its Hong Kong office, with project finance partner Matthias Schemuth leaving for DLA Piper.

Schemuth, who is joining DLA in Hong Kong, advises lenders and sponsors on projects in the oil and gas, petrochemical and mining sectors. In 2014, he led the team representing a consortium of Japanese and Korean export credit agencies and commercial lenders on a $2.8bn (£2.2bn) liquefied natural gas project in Indonesia.

White House considering writing ‘brand new’ immigration order

President Trump has said that he is considering rewriting his executive order temporarily barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country, indicating that the administration may try to quickly restore some aspects of the now-frozen travel ban or replace it with other measures.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he would probably wait until Monday or Tuesday to take any action, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said several options — including taking the case to the Supreme Court — were still on the table.

Trump hinted that the ongoing legal wrangling might move too slowly for his taste, though he thought he would ultimately prevail in court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled unanimously Thursday that Trump’s travel ban should remain suspended, allowing people previously barred to continue entering the United States. While the judges were deciding only whether national security concerns necessitated immediately reinstating the ban — and not whether it could ultimately pass constitutional muster — their ruling put the future of Trump’s order in doubt.

White House and Justice Department officials began mulling several options as new Attorney General Jeff Sessions was briefed on the matter. They could rewrite the order in hopes that modifications would help it pass legal muster. They could ask the Supreme Court or the full 9th Circuit to intervene immediately. Or they could wage a battle in the lower courts, hoping that judges considering more squarely whether the issue ran afoul of the Constitution would land on Trump’s side.

On Friday, the White House injected an element of confusion when an official told reporters that the administration would not seek Supreme Court intervention, only to take it back and be contradicted by Priebus minutes later. Meanwhile, a 9th Circuit judge, without prompting, called for a vote to determine whether the entire court should rehear the case. The court asked for briefs from those involved in the case by Thursday.

 

 

Tokyo

EY Law appoints Japan managing partner from Freshfields

EY Law has hired Junzaburo Kiuchi as managing partner in Japan from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Tokyo office. Kiuchi’s practice covers M&A, private equity, restructuring and general corporate matters.

Tokyo

He has broad experience in capital markets, acting for Japanese clients on secondary listings and offerings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Kiuchi joined Freshfields in 2000, starting as an associate, moving on to a senior counsel role and then becoming a partner in 2007.EY Law also recently added Kelly Ho to Lin and Associates. Its member firm in Hong Kong, to lead the corporate and capital market teams.

Baker&Partners

Baker & Partners Launches Jersey’s First Trust Litigation Text

Baker & Partners has launched Litigating Trust Disputes in Jersey: Law, Procedure & Remedies. This substantial new book is Jersey’s first practitioner text dedicated exclusively to trust litigation in Jersey’s courts.

Litigating Trust Disputes in Jersey is an indispensable tool for trust professionals and legal practitioners with clients exposed to a Jersey trust structure working with or against trustees or beneficiaries. The book will also be of interest to international practitioners seeking information about Jersey trusts in foreign proceedings or wishing to recover or enforce against trust assets in Jersey. The book brings together detailed analysis of Jersey’s trust law, guidance on civil procedure and litigation remedies.

The text was authored by Senior Associate, James Sheedy, who has continued the firm’s predilection for achieving dual-qualification as an English barrister and Jersey advocate. Senior Partner, Stephen Baker, also acted as Consultant Editor of the text.

James Sheedy commented:

“I’m immensely pleased to launch Litigating Trust Disputes in Jersey: Law Procedure & Remedies. Baker & Partners continues to be involved in some of the most legally and factually complex trust cases in Jersey. Trust administration remains an extremely important part of the Island’s financial services industry. When disputes do arise, Jersey’s mature legal system and internationally respected judges enable the Island to remain one of the leading jurisdictions in which to resolve high value and complex trust litigations. Jersey’s Royal Court is at the cutting-edge of fashioning modern, practical remedies to trust disputes, and this is the first occasion that the law, civil procedure and remedies relevant to trust litigation have been brought together in a dedicated volume. I hope it will prove to be a useful reference work for both trust industry professionals and legal practitioners within and beyond Jersey.”

William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey (who wrote the book’s foreword) commented:

“It is fundamentally important for Jersey law and cases to be brought together in a comprehensive way, and the extensive use of footnotes in Litigating Trust Disputes in Jersey makes it easy to check the source material for authenticating the summary that the book contains. I warmly congratulate Advocate Sheedy and the Consulting Editor, Advocate Baker, on this very substantial piece of work, which adds greatly to a bibliography of Jersey law.”

HSF to close second Middle East office with Qatar exit

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is to join the growing rank of firms scaling back in the Middle East, with plans to close its Qatar office this summer.

News of the planned closure comes around four years after HSF opened in Doha and less than two years after the firm opted to pull the plug on its base in Abu Dhabi.

LeadersInLaw Shanghai

Fieldfisher launch four-partner office in Shanghai

Fieldfisher has launched a four-partner office in Shanghai and has plans to double its partner count there by June.

LeadersInLaw Shanghai

The firm’s China managing partner, Zhaofeng Zhou, said: “Shanghai is a truly global city and was the natural location for our next office. Growth is an important part of our plan in China and we expect a further four partners to join the Shanghai office by June.”

Zhou joined JS Partners as managing partner in July last year from Bird & Bird’s Beijing office.

Fieldfisher managing partner Michael Chissick added: “We’ve been working closely to ensure continued growth of the firm in China – and the opening of a Shanghai office is a natural next step.”

Fieldfisher corporate partner and competition law specialist Liang Xing will lead the office. Xing is joining the firm from Chinese firm MyLink, where he was a partner.

He is joined by patent litigation partner Rocky Wu, who previously worked for Chinese firm JT&N.

Two of the firm’s Beijing partners – tax partner Baoen Bai and corporate partner Ming Zhang – will transfer to Shanghai.

Two additional partners are set to join the new office in March, with another two arriving in June.

Three years ago, Fieldfisher secured a presence in Shanghai through a Swiss verein combination with three-partner firm Ryser & Associates. However, that tie-up has since ended.

Under the verein structure, Fieldfisher operates as a licensed Chinese law firm, with access to all aspects of Chinese legal practice. The setup was pioneered in 2012 by legacy King & Wood when it merged with Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques. Last year, the same structure was used by Dentons when it merged with Beijing-based Dacheng.

Separately, it has emerged that Fieldfisher is in early discussions to hire partners in Olswang’s Munich office.

Source: Legal Week

Eversheds Sutherland transatlantic tie-up goes live

Eversheds Sutherland has unveiled its joint leadership team as the combination between Eversheds and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan went live yesterday (1 February) following a partner vote in December.

Eversheds Sutherland will be led by chief executive Lee Ranson who takes over as Eversheds chief executive in May, alongside Sutherland’s managing partner Mark Wasserman on a six-person global executive team which will be overseen by a global board of ten people with equal representation from each firm.

Keith Froud, who will take over as managing partner of the UK firm in May, as well as executive partner Ian Gray, will also sit on the global executive team, along with Sutherland partners Victor Haley and Thomas Gick; however Gick will be replaced in April by Cynthia Krus.

On the Eversheds side Ranson (pictured), Froud and chairman Paul Smith will also sit on the global board along with two rotating members from their international board and regional managing partner team. Gick will sit on the board for Sutherland alongside Wasserman, Robert Pile, Eric Tresh and Ben Clark with Krus replacing Gick in April.

Eversheds is the larger partner with revenue of £406m in the financial year 2015/16 compared to Sutherland’s top-line of $300m in 2015.

Both firms claim shared values and similar cultures were key factors in the tie-up, with Eversheds and Sutherland having a broadly comparable compensation system. Eversheds’ top of equity sits at about £1.2m while Sutherland has some partners sitting at more than $2m.

It is also understood that both firms will have separate bonus pots for partners who exhibit behaviour that helps to progress the combination and smooth the transition to a combined firm through client referrals.

Said Ranson: ‘There are a number of things that are helping to work a common approach. The global executive and the global board are going to bring a consistency in approach. Both firms’ remuneration structures take into account behaviours and cross-selling. Then we have got the bonus points and we are encouraging people within our practice groups, sectors and within our international operations teams to make contact with their opposite numbers, to talk about client opportunities and best practice. We are encouraging that interaction as much as possible.’

Priorities for the combined firm will be building out Eversheds’ insurance and tax practice while investing in finance, particularly in New York, where the firm has 55 lawyers.

Pursuing a US tie-up has been a high priority for Eversheds since 2014 when the partnership heavily backed the strategy through a vote. The firm held discussions with Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner, which emerged as the preferred firm. However, these talks quickly fell through after a memo from Foley’s chair and chief executive Jay Rothman said no decision was made to pursue such an affiliation.

The deal with Sutherland has also delayed the firm’s Singapore merger with Harry Elias Partnership by three to four months, as Eversheds will need to reapply to Singapore’s Ministry of Law due to the name change resulting from the US combination