Bakers picks Florida for third business services centre

Baker McKenzie is set to open its third support centre in Florida as it kickstarts a business services overhaul.

The service roles that will be based in Tampa, Florida, include legal services, finance, IT, knowledge management, operations, business development, marketing and communications, and talent. The new office is expected to employ 300 people and will be fully operational at the beginning of 2020.

The announcement of a new service office comes just weeks after Bakers revealed it was launching a consultation over business service roles in the London office, which will begin at the end of the month.

The firm stated that the three-year reorganisation will form a “dual-track” approach – first assessing the professional and business services teams globally and then looking at investments in new capabilities and technologies, which are intended to “modernise, simplify and enhance the quality of services” the firm provides. Other firms to have concluded business services consultations include AshurstPinsent Masons and Hogan Lovells.

Jamie Lawless will be the new executive director for the Tampa centre, having previously served as director of implementation and chief operating officer of Baker McKenzie’s Washington DC and New York offices.

Bakers will be the largest global law firm to establish operations in Tampa.

The firm already has back office operations in Manila, which opened in 2000 and Belfast, which opened in 2014. Over the summer, Bakers added 150 new roles to its Belfast centre after securing extra space in the city. A building for the Tampa support centre has not yet been decided.

The firm’s global chair Paul Rawlinson said:

“We need to be continually innovating as a business and investing in ways to do things better, smarter and more efficiently. It is our people who help us achieve these ambitions. Our centres, and our plans to grow them, show that we are serious about innovating to provide faster, more efficient and more cost-effective services. And the new location in Tampa is the latest example of this.”

Norton Rose Fulbright Recruits Corporate Partner in Melbourne

James Crowe joins the Melbourne office as a partner specializing in mergers and acquisitions. He will also help with the firm’s technology-related products and services.

Withers Recruits Disputes Partners in Hong Kong, Singapore

Soo Khim Keoy and two associates join the Hong Kong office from Baker McKenzie, while Amarjit Kaur joins Withers KhattarWong in Singapore from Morgan Lewis Stamford.


Withers has hired dispute resolution partners in Hong Kong and Singapore, hiring them away from Baker McKenzie and Morgan Lewis.

abu dhabi

HFW launches in Abu Dhabi as part of regional expansion

Global law firm Holman Fenwick Willan has expanded its Middle Eastern presence, with the launch of a new Abu Dhabi office.

It comes as two new partners join the firm to begin in the Abu Dhabi office, nabbed from fellow global firm Reed Smith.

Finance and corporate partners Vince Gordon and Tania de Swart have taken up their new positions, with more than 23 years of experience in the Middle East between them.

Mr Gordon leaves his role as Reed Smith’s Middle East regional managing partner for the gig. He has advised clients on a range of complex corporate, finance, infrastructure and projects transactions and has worked across debt capital markets, M&A and joint ventures, funds, corporate and trade finance, regulation and project finance work.

He previously chaired Reed Smith’s Africa and Australia business teams, vice chaired its business and finance department, as well as sat on the management committee of the firm’s global financial industry group.

Ms de Swart is a corporate and commercial law specialist, with a focus on M&A, joint ventures, restructurings, corporate governance, foreign direct investments and employment law.

She has advised clients across a range of industry sectors, from defence and aviation to construction, oil and gas, healthcare, manufacturing, communications, hospitality and education.

Speaking on the firm’s launch in Abu Dhabi, HFW’s Dubai office head Richard Gimblett said the move is “an important step in the continued development of our Middle East offering.”

“We’ve been looking at the market for some time, but we wanted to make sure we found the right people to lead our practice.”

Regarding the appointment of Mr Gordon and Ms de Swart, Mr Gimblett said he was thrilled that the firm had “managed to attract two such experienced and high-quality partners.”

“Vince and Tania have outstanding reputations in the market and their arrival is a big boost to our corporate and transactional practice, which is one of the fastest growing parts of our business,” he noted.

“We’ve been in the Middle East for a long time and we’re now one of the biggest law firms in the region, but we plan to continue to strengthen across our core industry sectors.”

Speaking on his own appointment, Mr Gordon said he was excited to be joining a firm with “such a deep and longstanding commitment to the Middle East.”

“My clients will really benefit from HFW’s extensive network in the region and globally, and I’m looking forward to helping the firm continue to strengthen its position as one of the leading practices in the Middle East.”

Joining offices in Dubai, Riyadh, Beirut and Kuwait City, the new office is HFW’s 20th worldwide. It is the eighth international office opening, merger or association for the firm since January 2016.

Hufriz Wadia and Suharsh Sinha promoted as partners by AZB Mumbai

AZB & Partners has promoted banking counsel Hufriz Wadia and insolvency consultant Suharsh Sinha as partners in its Mumbai office.

Wadia had joined AZB around a year ago as a counsel from Kochhar & Co in Chennai.

The 2002 KC Law College graduate had worked in Dubai as a banking lawyer at law firm Al Tamimi & Co for five years, before returning to India, joining Juris Corp in Chennai. In January 2014, she had joined Kochhar in Chennai.

Sinha has been with AZB as a consultant since September 2016, having joined from the Reserve Bank of India and the Bankruptcy Law Reform Committee (BLRC), for both of which he’d been working as a consultant for a year.

The NLSIU Bangalore graduate, who also holds a masters in in law and finance from Oxford University (2014-15), an Wharton Business and Law LLM from the University of Pennsylvania (2011-12), and has completed an Indian School of bridge programme in business (2008).

Between 2008 and 2009, he had worked at McKinsey & Co as a business analyst, followed by more than five years at Linklaters in London until 2014.

Their promotions took effect on 1 October 2018.

In April, AZB’s Delhi partnership promoted five to partner, while in March 2018, AZB Mumbai promoted a total of four.

Shine Lawyers acquires boutique class action firm

National personal injury firm Shine Lawyers has acquired a boutique class actions firm that it says makes it the “second largest player” by number of cases in Australia.

ACA Lawyers has been acquired by Shine, effective 1 October 2018, marking the first such acquisition by the latter since 2015, according to Shine Corporate managing director Simon Morrison.

“ACA Lawyers is a Sydney-based firm with several shareholder class actions in progress. All actions are funded by litigation funders,” Mr Morrison explained.

“The ACA Lawyers team, lead by Craig Allsopp, will be located with Shine’s existing Sydney class actions team.”

Mr Allsopp – who is a principal of ACA – added that joining Shine provides a “great opportunity” to leverage the skillsets of ACA’s class action teams.

“It is the next step for us in continuing to develop an industry-leading class actions practice,” he posited.

“Our specialist shareholder class actions expertise, combined with Shine’s depth of resources and knowledge, will lead to better outcomes for our clients now and into the future.”

Speaking further about the acquisition, Shine national special counsel for class actions Jan Saddler said that Mr Allsopp and his ACA team “perfectly complement” the Shine class actions practice and will “enhance and strengthen our already high-performing team”.

“We now have one of the broadest class actions practices in Australia, including many high-profile shareholder, product liability, financial services and environmental actions,” she said.

“This new acquisition places Shine as the second largest player by number of cases in Australia.”

flag of japan

Ex-regulator launches Japanese antitrust boutique

Tsuyoshi Ikeda, a former investigator for Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), has left Japanese Big Four law firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto to start an antitrust and consumer protection boutique called Ikeda & Someya.

During his time at the JFTC, Ikeda participated in around 20 dawn raids, prepared the implementation of the leniency system and investigated a case involving standard-essential patents.

At Mori Hamada, where Ikeda was a counsel, he worked on cartel, merger review, and other types of antitrust/competition cases. Earlier, he was an associate attorney at Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners.


Sidley, Debevoise star in China Re’s $950 mln acquisition of Chaucer

Sidley Austin has advised China Reinsurance Group (China Re) on its $950 million acquisition of Chaucer Insurance, a unit of Hanover Insurance Group that underwrites risks at insurance market Lloyd’s, with Debevoise & Plimpton advising the seller.

According to Reuters, China Reinsurance will fund the deal to buy Chaucer with $865 million in cash and $85 million in dividends from the unit. In a statement, Hanover said that sale of Chaucer would reduce its catastrophe and tail risk exposure and improve long-term operating return-on-equity potential.

The Sidley team was led by London-based partner Martin Membery and Beijing-based partner Henry Ding.

The Debevoise team was led by London-based partner Jeremy Hill.  The transaction is expected to close late this year or in the first quarter of next year, subject to the approvals from the general meeting of China Re and domestic and foreign regulators.

Sports Law – French Football

Sports Law (football / tort)

On 5 July 2018, the French Cour de cassation (civ. 2), ruled that violence against a referee made within the sports facilities by a player constitutes an infringement of the rules of the game linked to the sportive activity, even if such an assault is committed after the football match (from which the said player has previously been excluded).



India’s HSA absorbs four-lawyer Bengaluru boutique

Indian law firm HSA Advocates has taken over four-lawyer Bengaluru-based firm Atman Law Partners, which is led by partner Chinmay Mirji. Atman’s practice areas include corporate, litigation and real estate.

Mirji, who will become a partner at HSA, specialises in negotiations and transaction advisory roles, and incorporate, M&A and investment transactions.

HSA has offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. The Bengaluru office was opened in 2016.