DLA Piper Boosts Australian Restructuring Practice

DLA Piper has hired restructuring partner Lionel Meehan for its Melbourne office ahead of an expected spike in pandemic-related restructures.

Meeham, who starts on August 1, joins from his own boutique insolvency and restructuring firm Edwin Legal. He has experience in financial restructuring, large-scale insolvency and commercial law, and knowledge across the resources, construction, financial services and fintech sectors, DLA Piper said.

Before founding Edwin Legal in October last year, Meehan was a partner at Ashurst in Australia for a decade and a senior associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London for five years.

“Given the current global economic conditions and the recently announced temporary changes to Australian insolvency laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect to see an increase in global restructuring activity,” said DLA Piper’s managing partner in Australia, Amber Matthews.

“Lionel will form a key part of our international restructuring practice, supporting clients across the Asia Pacific region.”

Meehan’s experience in front-end restructuring and special situations, as well as transactional banking and back-end insolvency, will be a valuable addition to DLA Piper’s Australian and global Restructuring practice, said firm’s Australia head of finance, projects and restructuring in Onno Bakker.

Sydney

K&L Gates Hires Sydney Finance Partner From Hogan Lovells

Global law firm K&L Gates continues to expand its finance practice with the appointment of Richard Hayes as a partner in the Sydney office. Hayes, who brings a dedicated focus on acquisition and funds financings and general corporate finance, joins K&L Gates from Hogan Lovells.

With admissions and extensive experience in Australia, England, and New York, Hayes represents many international organizations with their multi-jurisdictional financing arrangements. His lender clients include global investment banks, commercial banks, and debt funds while, on the borrower side, he supports private equity and other investment firms and corporations.

For over 25 years, Hayes has advised clients in relation to the financing of acquisitions, refinancings, restructurings, recapitalizations, and work-outs. With current market conditions having forced these latter practices to the fore, the ability to work with the practitioners at K&L Gates was pivotal in Hayes’ decision to join the firm.

“My practice is truly international and I look forward to leveraging the strength of K&L Gates’ global platform, including collaborating with the firm’s highly regarded restructuring and insolvency, tax, and corporate teams, to the benefit of my clients,” said Hayes.

Nick Nichola, K&L Gates’ Managing Partner, Australia, stated: “Richard’s appointment provides our finance practice with a broader service offering and significantly deeper coverage in relation to the financing of acquisitions and debt capital markets generally. Richard has a reputation for taking on tough and complex work. As our clients respond to the challenges of 2020, he is the ideal lawyer to assist them in achieving the best possible risk mitigation and in seizing the opportunities that are available in today’s market.”

The arrival of Hayes builds on other recent appointments in Australia since late 2019, including Melbourne corporate partner Harry Kingsley, Perth corporate partner James Clyne, and financial services partners Kane Barnett and Paul Faure in Sydney and Melbourne, respectively. K&L Gates’ corporate practice also has continued to expand across the firm’s global platform in recent months through the appointments of new partners in BostonFrankfurtHong Kong, and Paris, with the firm having welcomed a total of more than 25 new partners and of counsel during 2020.

Curtis Mallet Swipes Africa Specialist From Simmons Dubai

U.S. law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle has hired an Africa specialist from Simmons & Simmons in Dubai, signalling the growing importance of the city as a hub for Africa work.

New partner Paul Bugingo joins the firm having spent over 20 years advising governments, state-owned corporations and investors on large-scale energy and infrastructure projects across Africa, including in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somaliland, Djibouti, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, the firm said in a statement.

“In the span of his career, he is also credited with spearheading the Africa practice at Dentons,” the firm said. “Qualified to practice as a solicitor in England & Wales, Mr Bugingo brings with him a wealth of experience in the energy and infrastructure sector and a particular focus on Africa.”

Bugingo joined Simmons & Simmons as partner in Dubai in 2015, after a 17-year stint at Dentons as partner in London and Dubai.

“We are very pleased to have Paul join us. His broad experience in advising on Africa-related projects and his overall projects background will be a tremendous asset. He adds a new dimension to our Dubai-based offerings,” said Jeremy Miocevic, managing partner of Curtis Dubai.

Curtis Mallet has been expanding its international presence this year, in July making a rare partner hire to its London office from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

HONG KONG HK

K&L Gates Expands Hong Kong Office With Former Orrick Team

K&L Gates has recruited a team of three partners specializing in an integrated funds and private equity practice.

Sook Young Yeu, Scott Peterman and William Ho all join from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, which has decided to close its Hong Kong office. Yeu and Peterman, both funds specialists, were partners with Orrick while Ho, who advises on private equity transactions, was of counsel with the firm. The trio are joined by two associates at K&L Gates.

Yeu, who led Orrick’s Hong Kong office since joining in 2005 through Orrick’s takeover of legacy Coudert Brothers’ China offices where she had been practicing since 1989. She’s advised Asian investors on investing U.S. and other cross-border funds and on private equity investment.

Peterman has an active fund formation practice advising the structuring of various private, investment and real estate funds. Last year, he advised Hong Kong-based fund manager Pacific Hawk Ltd. on launching the first open-ended fund in the city following legislative change. He joined Orrick in 2017 from Jones Day where he was of counsel. Before that, he was a partner with Sidley Austin.

Ho focuses his practice on advising private equity houses and companies on fund raising transactions, investments and mergers and acquisitions. In May, he advised Taiwan-based live streaming site operator M17 Entertainment Ltd. on a $26.5 million Series D from investors including Singapore-based venture capital fund Vertex Growth Fund. Ho joined Orrick in 2018 from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison where he was an associate for three years. Earlier in his career, he trained and practiced with Slaughter and May.

The trio bring in-depth industry experience in the technology, media, telecommunications, and fintech sectors, said David Tang, K&L Gates’ Hong Kong-based Asia managing partner, in a statement. “The additions of Sook, Scott, and Will significantly broaden and deepen our funds and private equity practices in Asia,” he said.

Last year, K&L Gates added in Hong Kong capital markets partner Guiping Lu from elite Chinese firm Haiwen & Partners.

Simpson Thacher Adds To London M&A With Gibson Dunn Partner

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has made a rare lateral partner hire in London, bringing in private equity partner James Howe from U.S. rival Gibson Dunn.

Howe is set to join Simpson Thacher after four years at Gibson Dunn, which he joined in 2016 from Proskauer Rose.

He is the latest addition for the usually lateral-averse Simpson Thacher in London, though the firm brought on board Linklaters’ former global tax head Yash Rupal as a partner in February.

The firm’s last heavyweight hire prior to that was in 2018, when the firm hired Clifford Chance M&A infrastructure partner Amy Mahon to its ranks following a trend of recruiting from the Magic Circle firm, where the firm’s London managing partner Jason Glover joined from in 2010.

Glover said in a statement: “Given his experience advising many of the most sophisticated private equity sponsors on a wide range of high-profile transactions, James is a perfect fit for the firm.

“His dealmaking prowess further bolsters our existing top-notch global private equity mergers and acquisitions capabilities, adding further depth to our extraordinarily talented bench of lawyers in London.”

Gibson Dunn has seen several exits from its London office in recent months, including leveraged finance partner Amy Kennedy who joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in March, and corporate partner Jonathan Earle, who left the firm at the beginning of 2020.

 

Latham & Watkins Hires Paris Restructuring Partner From Willkie

Latham & Watkins has hired a restructuring partner away from Willkie Farr & Gallagher in Paris, the latest in a series of high-level moves by firms based in the French capital to bolster their teams in anticipation of increased work in the area.

Alexandra Bigot joins as a partner in the restructuring and special situations practice, Latham & Watkins said in a statement. Prior to practicing at Willkie as a partner for 16 years, she spent four years at Lazard Frères as an investment director, managing the firm’s portfolio of distressed companies.

“We are delighted to welcome a partner of Alexandra’s experience and market standing to the firm,” Olivia Rauch-Ravisé, managing partner of Latham & Watkins in Paris, said in a statement. “Alexandra has a terrific track record advising on complex domestic and cross-border restructuring transactions, and she will play a key role in the continued expansion of this strategically important growth practice in Paris.”

Bigot is the latest partner to join Latham’s restructuring and special situations practice this year, following the arrival of Jessica Walker in London and Suzzanne Uhland in New York, the firm  said in a statement.

Law firms in Paris have been on a restructuring hiring spree this year in anticipation of new business related to the COVID-19 crisis. In April alone, Paul Hastings hired an eight-lawyer team from the French boutique firm Bremond to create a restructuring department in Paris, and Baker McKenzie added a restructuring partner, also from Bremond.

Latham partner moves to DLA’s Frankfurt office

DLA Piper has snared a corporate partner from Latham & Watkins‘ Frankfurt office, as the firm continues to bolster its capital market divisions in Germany.

Roland Maass will be joining the firm from Latham, where he has been a partner since 2006.

His practice mainly focuses on capital markets transactions, advising domestic and international companies on IPOs, rights issues and convertible bonds. He will be joined by associate Juliane Hack, also from Latham.

Commenting on his appointment, DLA Piper’s managing partners in Germany Benjamin Parameswaran and Konrad Rohde said: “Roland’s appointment, which follows the recent arrival of partner Gerald Schumann, is a further step in the development of our German capital markets offering,”

Schumann joined the firm in Munich, specialising in corporate M&A and private equity work.

Alongside the German hire, DLA Piper has also announced that it has taken Shearman & Sterling counsel Yang Ge in Beijing.

She is a US capital markets partner, who focuses on equity and debt securities offerings.

handshake deal

Mourant Ozannes hires Farrer & Co’s former senior partner

Offshore firm Mourant Ozannes has hired Farrer & Co’s former senior partner Jim Edmondson as head of its international trusts and private client practice.

Edmondson will join Mourant Ozannes as a consultant in London on 1 May. He will take over as head of the trusts and private client team on 1 September when incumbent Douglas Close steps down after three years in the post.

jim edmondson
Jim Edmondson

Edmondson spent two years as joint senior partner for Farrers (3 May 2011) and also headed the firm’s private client team until he stepped down last May to become a consultant. He joined the firm in 2001 from Nabarro (25 June 2001).

Mourant Ozannes managing partner Jonathan Rigby said the private client team had exceeded its growth targets under Close’s leadership. “It’s testament to that success that we have been able to recruit someone of such international standing as Jim Edmondson,” he added.

Edmondson said in a statement that he was sorry to leave Farrers, but was looking forward to working with another firm which was not in competition with his former practice.

“I’m particularly grateful for the support and cooperation of my colleagues at Farrers in enabling me to take on this exciting new challenge,” he said.

Mourant Ozannes, formed through the 2010 merger between Jersey firm Mourant du Feu & Jeune and Guernsey’s Ozannes (3 February 2010) has a team of private client lawyers advising on British Virgin Island, Cayman, Guernsey and Jersey law.

handshake deal

McDermott recruits four-strong team from Dechert

Dechert life sciences exits continue as Frankfurt team leaves for McDermott.

McDermott Will & Emery has sealed the hire of a four-lawyer Frankfurt team from Dechert’s life sciences practice.

City of London

Willkie Farr & Gallagher adds partner to its London office

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has added a partner to its London office with the hire of Slaughter and May associate Simon Osborn-King, as the US outfit continues to build out its corporate crime and investigations practice in the City.

Osborn-King, who has spent more than 10 years at Slaughters after joining as a trainee in 2007, has worked on a number of high-profile investigations during his time at the magic circle firm. These include Deutsche Bank’s interbank rate-rigging probe, which settled in 2015, as well as an unsuccessful attempt by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to prosecute Japanese camera maker Olympus, which was dropped the same year.

Willkie London litigation, compliance and enforcement and white-collar defence practice head Peter Burrell told Legal Week: “Investigations and compliance are one of the core practices of the firm globally. We have been expanding our London and Europe teams, and in the City we’ve seen real growth in the amount of work we’re doing.

“We’re acting for corporates, financial institutions and individuals across the space, in areas including contentious regulatory work and SFO investigations.”

Burrell joined Willkie in 2012 from legacy Herbert Smith to launch the London practice for the US firm, and since then it has grown from one partner and an associate in the City, to three partners, 10 associates and two paralegals.

The team is currently advising Barclays on fraud charges brought by the SFO last year relating to the bank’s capital raising arrangements with Qatari investors during the 2008 financial crisis.

Burrell added: “We’re in a unique position in London because we have a mixture of US- and UK-qualified lawyers and we’re seeing more demand from our English clients for assistance. Simon has a fantastic pedigree and background across financial services and regulatory work, including contentious matters for the SFO and civil litigation. He is the perfect fit as we continue growing our European offering.”

While at Herbert Smith, Burrell secured a formal corporate plea bargain for client Mabey and Johnson, the first UK company to be convicted for overseas bribery and corruption and violations of sanctions laws. His other clients have included Virgin, Severn Trent, Weir Group and Willis Limited.