William Fry takes on new pensions head from Eversheds

William Fry has appointed a new head of pensions, taking partner Ian Devlin from Eversheds Sutherland.

Ian Devlin

Devlin had been at the Dublin office of Eversheds for 18 years, having trained at the firm at the turn of the Millennium.

At Eversheds, he advised employers, pension scheme trustees and pension providers on pension issues. He was formerly a chairman of the Association of Pension Lawyers in Ireland and is currently a member of the DC sub-committee of the Irish Association of Pension Funds.

Devlin replaces William Fry’s former head of pensions, Liam Connellan who has since become head of pensions at ByrneWallace.

Spotlight on Dublin

Brexit has created fresh business opportunities for Irish law firms. In April 2015, William Fry moved to what is dubbed Dublin’s “Silicon Docks”, a formerly derelict area within the Grand Canal Dock. During the green pastures of Ireland’s economic uptick, the area has ripened from a flood of tech employees, including the European headquarters of Google, Facebook and Airbnb.

Barclays, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan are among the financial institutions that also plan to establish or expand their Irish operations.

Last year, it was announced that Trinity College Dublin is planning to build a technology-focused campus at at the Grand Canal Dock as part of €1bn plans to develop the area as an “innovation district”. The initiative aims to make Dublin ranked among the top 20 most innovative cities in the world by 2030.

One of the key events that rocked Ireland’s legal market in 2017 was the opening of several new offices by international law firms in Ireland, and in particular Dublin. With Brexit looming, firms in the UK have directed their gaze towards Ireland.

The first of the pack to set up shop was Dechert, which launched its Dublin office in July 2010 with the hire of William Fry Declan O’Sullivan.

In May this year, DLA Piper finally confirmed its launch in Dublin, taking on William Fry partner David Carthy. Its launch came hot on the heels of Simmons & Simmons, which officially opened its office the same month.

In June 2017, Pinsent Masons became the first UK firm to announce its plan to launch an office in Dublin since the UK’s Brexit vote, taking on a three partner team from Walkers. Lewis Silkin and US firm Covington & Burling followed shortly after.

Eversheds’ Belfast operation is currently undergoing a period of growth. In August, it released plans to double its headcount to 30 by 2020, with a focus on litigation, real estate, employment and banking. Having originally set up as a satellite office 2015 with just six employees, it now has 15 employees including three partners.

The firm’s Dublin office currently employs 275 people including 34 partners.

It entered the Irish market back in 2005 through an alliance with legacy Irish firm O’Donnell Sweeney. In 2011, the firm, which was known as Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney, rebranded and dropped O’Donnell Sweeney from its name.

DHH launches a presence in Seattle (双语)

The Opening Ceremony of Beijing DHH Law Firm Seattle Office was held at the Safeco Plaza Building on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle, which witnessed the establishment of the 47th office of Deheng Law Group as well as the 9th overseas office.

On the opening ceremony, the Seattle office of Beijing DHH Law Firm and DHH Washington D.C. Law Office held the seminar on the recognition and enforcement of U.S. judgments in China, and Chinese judgments in the U.S., as well as on the parallel litigation.

Beijing DHH Law Firm and DHH Washington D.C. Office co-launched the Seattle Initiative calling for both sides to make more efforts to stop any malicious flight of debts and transfer to abroad.

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.

Addleshaws Scots private client team breaks away to join local firm

Ten-strong team leaves Edinburgh firm Morton Fraser











Addleshaw Goddard has cut ties with its 10-strong Edinburgh private client team, with the two-partner-led team leaving to join Scots firm Morton Fraser.

Addleshaws private capital head Gregor Mitchell leads the exit, and is joined by legal director Euan Fleming, alongside a team of support staff, including solicitors, consultants, paralegals and executive assistants.

Costs mount as KWM administration rumbles on

Progress report from administrators of KWM’s former European arm reveals payments made to advisers in last six months











The latest progress report from the administrators of King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) former European arm has revealed the payments made to advisers in the last six months, as the winding up of the collapsed firm continues.

The report reveals that administrator Quantuma received £113,830 for its work on wrapping up the firm’s limited liability partnership and its employee holding services company during the period from 17 January to 16 June this year.

DLA Piper offloads stake in ALSP to Big Four accounting firm EY

The Big Four’s march into Big Law territory continues as accounting giant EY has taken over Riverview Law, an alternative legal services provider backed financially by DLA Piper.

EY’s acquisition of Riverview Law means DLA Piper has offloaded its stake in the ALSP, which focuses on fixed-fee, process-driven work through managed services, legal operations and technology offerings.

The Big Four accounting firm said that the purchase—which will create a new company called EY Riverview Law—will help it to provide a more efficient service to clients by improving transparency and reducing the costs of routine legal activities.

“Legal managed services is one of the fastest growing segments of the legal market,” said Cornelius Grossmann, EY’s global law leader. “This acquisition underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services; it will provide a springboard for current EY legal managed services offerings and bolster the capabilities that we can help deliver for EY clients.”

“We recognise the expertise that Riverview Law has in this growing market area, which when married with the global EY footprint and legal understanding will help drive significant opportunities for EY clients.”

Riverview launched in 2012 with financial backing from DLA Piper, which initially took a 21 percent stake in Riverview’s parent company, LawVest. That ownership stake has reduced over time to 14 percent.

A number of senior DLA Piper partners also had personal investments in LawVest, including former joint CEO and managing partner Sir Nigel Knowles—now chairman at DWF—who is non-executive chair of Riverview and held shares amounting to a 0.9 percent stake in the business. Those partners have now also sold their shares as part of the deal, The American Lawyer affiliate Legal Week has reported.

A DLA Piper spokesperson said “We can confirm that the firm has sold its minority shareholding in Riverview Law and we wish them every success in their next venture.”

DLA has, however, retained a small stake in Kim Technologies, an artificial intelligence platform that was acquired by Riverview in 2015 but demerged from the company in September 2017.

Chris Price, EY’s global head of alliances for tax, led the team advising on the Riverview acquisition and will become CEO of EY Riverview Law once the transaction is complete, which is expected to take place at the end of August.

A Manchester-based Fieldfisher team, led by corporate partner Tom Ward, advised EY on cross-sector issues across Fieldfisher’s technology and outsourcing teams alongside the rest of its M&A team. Technology partner Sam Jardine advised on technology and software matters, with Ward being supported by corporate solicitor Rachel Leigh and tax and structuring counsel Andrew Loan, who led on tax matters.

EY now has more than 2,200 legal practitioners in member firms across 81 jurisdictions. The accountancy giant has recruited a number of partners from private practice competitors in recent years, including former Addleshaw Goddard managing partner Paul Devitt and corporate head Philip Goodstone, who now serves as head of law for the UK and Ireland.

The news comes after Deloitte last month became the final member of the Big Four to receive an alternative business structure license, as the accountancy giants continue to make inroads into the legal services market. Deloitte’s UK arm also recently agreed to an alliance with US immigration firm Berry Appleman & Leiden, a deal that has seen it acquire the law firm’s operations outside of the United States.

HSF’s corporate partner trio exit for Morgan Lewis

Morgan Lewis & Bockius has ramped up its London corporate team with a triple partner hire from Herbert Smith Freehils (HSF), including London private equity head Mark Geday.

Geday is joined in the move by corporate partners Nicholas Moore and Tomasz Wozniak.

Geday, who had spent more than 22 years at the firm and became head of its London PE practice last year, specializes in asset management and private equity.

Moore, meanwhile, who joined HSF as a trainee in 1998 and made partner in 2007, focuses on M&A in the technology, media and telecoms sector, while Wozniak joined HSF’s Moscow office in 2011 from Clifford Chance and was promoted to partner the following year, before relocating to London in 2015.

The trio have worked together for a number of years, and all three have spent time in HSF’s base in the Russian capital, with Geday there between 2012 and 2015, and Moore from

Earlier this year, Wozniak acted as part of the HSF team advising Uber on the combination of its ridesharing business in Russia and neighboring Commonwealth of Independent States countries with taxi company Yandex, which was advised by Morgan Lewis.

“Mark, Nick, and Tom have served clients across a range of vital sectors and regions, further deepening the ability of our corporate and business transactions practice to facilitate the kinds of deals that are critical to our clients’ global growth strategies,” said Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon.

Steve Browne, the leader of Morgan Lewis’s corporate and business transactions practice, added: “Growing our corporate transactional and private equity team in London with Mark, Nick and Tom is a key step in expanding our capabilities and deepening our services to clients in London, throughout Europe, and around the globe.”

Morgan Lewis’ London office now has more than 80 lawyers, with other recent hires including finance partners Paul Denham and Georgia Quenby, who joined from Dorsey & Whitney and Reed Smith earlier this year.

With the addition of the HSF trio, Morgan Lewis will have eight partners on its corporate team in London.

Last year, the firm also picked up two partners from Norton Rose Fulbright—global head of investigations Chris Warren-Smith and dispute resolution partner Melanie Ryan.

In a statement, HSF confirmed that Geday, Moore and Wozniak are leaving the partnership. “We thank them for their contribution to the firm, both during their time in Moscow and London, and we wish them well,” the firm said.

Fieldfisher joins NI’s growing legal sector, bringing 125 jobs

The roles will be based at its new offices in the Titanic Quarter and attract average salaries in the region of £25,000, which works out at around £3.6m a year.

Around 10 jobs are already in place at the Old Channel Road HQ, which opened last month.

Fieldfisher employ just over 1,000 people in 22 offices around the world.

Yesterday’s announcement follows the company’s merger with Holywood firm Donaldson Legal Consulting last November.

Managing partner Alison Donaldson, who will head the Belfast operation, said future expansion could involve additional office space in the Titanic Quarter and in Holywood.

Fieldfisher is the latest in a line of major legal firms to set up here.

Invest NI, which is providing £630,000 to support the expansion, said the influx of global legal firms had created around 1,300 jobs in Northern Ireland since 2011.

Firms including Allen and Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills, Axiom and Baker McKenzie have all expanded into Belfast in recent years.

Last month Baker McKenzie announced plans to expand its Belfast office, creating 150 posts.

Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said the agency had been actively targeting legal firms for the past seven years.

He said the pool of 600 legal graduates coming out of our universities every year remained a massive incentive.

“Historically, the graduates have left here and gone elsewhere and we want to provide an opportunity for some of those legal graduates to find employment with blue chips firms here in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Fieldfisher managing partner Michael Chissick said the size of the legal graduate talent pool and the presence of other UK top 25 firms in Belfast were major factors in encouraging the firm’s move.

“The strong partnership between academia and industry was another attraction to investing here and ensures we will be able to work with colleges and universities to develop a future pipeline of qualified graduates,” he added.

Ms Donaldson, who played the key role in bringing Fieldfisher here, said her own firm had reached a time where it needed to link up with a larger company to grow.

“We were at a point where I couldn’t do much more by myself and knew I needed a partner to take it to the next level,” she explained.

“This gives me the ability to do that.”

She said while Fieldfisher employs people who have worked as solicitors and barristers, the new roles offer legal graduates an alternative career pathway away from the highly competitive The Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University in Belfast.

“It’s an alternative career path for people, not every type of law requires that you need to qualify as a solicitor,” she said.

“The legal services path exposes you to different areas and gives you a career.

“That’s what this is about, creating careers in an area of law that isn’t the traditional path, and trying to keep ahead of it.”

Ward McKimm to exit Freshfields after three years

Ward McKimm, the high yield star that made Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer break its lockstep, is leaving the firm after three years.

In a shock lateral move, McKimm is rejoining his old firm Shearman & Sterling as a partner in the capital markets practice.

At the time of his joining Freshfields, The Lawyer reported that a condition of bringing McKimm on board was to tweak the firm’s lockstep to offer him superpoints equivalent to those handed to partners hired in Freshfields’ New York office.

The firm altered its 17.5-50 point lockstep in 2014 allowing a small group of partners to earn between 10 and 30 per cent over the plateau level, which at the time stood at £1.63m for UK partners.

His exit comes after a lockstep revamp at the magic circle firm, which took effect at the start of the this financial year.

McKimm will be Freshfields’ second high-profile exit since December, after private equity heavyweight David Higgins joined Kirkland & Ellis.

McKimm will rejoin Shearman after a seven-year absence, which included a stint at Kirkland & Ellis. McKimm moved to Kirkland in 2011 as part of a push by the firm into the banking market. He was previously co-head of Shearman’s corporate group.

At Freshfields, McKimm was the co-head of the European leveraged finance group and led the high-yield practice on the issuer and sponsor side.

At Kirkland McKimm acted for a number of global banks and financial institutions including BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank, Citigroup, UBS and Bain Capital. At Freshfields, he advised Carlson Wagonlit Travel, CVC Capital Partners, The Carlyle Group and Oaktree Capital Management.

Shearman’s senior partner David Beveridge said: “We are delighted to welcome Ward back to the firm. He has an excellent reputation in the market and will be a fantastic addition to our London office.”

David Dixter, head of the firm’s European capital markets practice, said: “Clients continue to turn to us to help them navigate the most complex and innovative transactions, and Ward will be a major asset in providing our clients with a top of market legal service.“

Freshfields London head of transactions Julian Pritchard said: “Ward helped us build out the high yield piece of our leveraged finance team which advises many of the most sophisticated financial investors in the market.

“We are proud that our market-leading private equity and leveraged finance team supports these clients in delivering outstanding results. We wish Ward well in his new role.”

new york city

Japan’s Nishimura & Asahi enter U.S. with New York office

Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi is set to open an office in New York City, its first in the Western Hemisphere.

The office, which will be launched in the autumn of 2018, will be led by senior corporate partner Katsuyuki Yamaguchi and have eight other lawyers. It will provide legal services across all aspects of Japanese law, including cross-border transactions, business formations, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, licensing of intellectual property, real estate, banking and finance, as well as dispute resolution, including complex, large-scale and highly specialized litigation and arbitration.

The New York City office will also advise on issues involving governmental investigations, white-collar crime, labour and employment, and insolvencies. It will build on N&A’s history of advising clients in the US as well as working closely with different American law firms.

Apart from four offices in Japan, N&A has branches in Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Yangon. The firm also has representative office in Dubai, associations in Jakarta, and an affiliate office in Hong Kong.