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.

Ashurst to open new alternative legal services centre in Australia

The initial team will comprise six to eight legal analysts and business services roles












Ashurst is expanding its alternative legal services offering to Australia, as the firm prepares to launch a global delivery centre in Brisbane in October.

CMS makes legal services and tech push with innovation team launch

New group to help join up the legal services and tech offerings of legacy firms.

CMS has launched a new team responsible for joining up and advancing the firm’s legal services and technology offerings, in a drive to consolidate the ambitions of the three legacy firms which merged last year.

The team, called CMS by design, is led by CMS executive partner Paul Stevens, and also consists of the firm’s head of legal service design and delivery John Craske, head of tech innovation Jane Challoner, IT head Razvan Cretu, head of digital and data Elle Todd and client management head Jo Witham. They will report on progress to both senior partner Penelope Warne and managing partner Stephen Millar.

Global law firms in Myanmar get a reality check

Since 2013, more than a dozen international and regional law firms have opened offices in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. But now, as the country faces international condemnation over the Rohingya crisis and the jailing of journalists, momentum is moving in the other direction.

Myanmar has not lived up to the expectations of Big Law.

Shearman hires Allen & Overy partner for São Paulo office

A New York-based capital markets partner has left Allen & Overy LLP for Shearman & Sterling LLP’s São Paulo office as demand for Brazilian transactional work heats up.

Shearman hires Allen & Overy partner for São Paulo office David Flechner

Shearman announced the hire of David Flechner, 40, yesterday, taking the São Paulo office’s total partner count to two. He has almost 15 years’ experience advising issuers and underwriters on capital markets deals, as well as in financing and corporate governance matters. Flechner focuses predominantly on Brazil, but has also been involved in deals in Argentina and Uruguay.

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.

75% of City partners back second Brexit referendum

Three out of four City partners are in favour of a second Brexit referendum, according to a new a survey which has also found strong concerns among lawyers over the impact of a ‘no deal’ scenario on the legal sector.

Three-quarters (75%) of all respondents to the latest Big Question survey said there should be a second referendum, with a similar proportion saying that Brexit will negatively affect the ability of UK law firms to attract the best talent and compete with increasingly aggressive US rivals.

K&L Gates gets regulatory approval for Singapore merger

K&L Gates is the latest global law firm to receive a regulatory green light to merge with a local firm in Singapore.

The U.S. firm’s Singapore office and local firm Straits Law Practice have obtained approval from the Singapore Legal Services Regulatory Authority to combine as K&L Gates Straits Law in the city-state. Pending agreement from partners at both firms, the merger is expected to take effect on Jan. 1 of next year.

“The combined talents and resources of our lawyers in Singapore will allow us to seamlessly serve both local and international clients in Singapore and in the region,” said K&L Gates Asia managing partner David Tang and Straits Law managing director N. Sreenivasan in a joint statement.

The combination will enable K&L Gates to advise clients on all aspects of Singaporean law. The city-state has allowed for foreign and local law firms to merge since 2012 but so far there have only been two completed deals. In the more recent one, Eversheds Sutherland merged its Singapore outpost with local firm Harry Elias Partnership last year; and in a first-of-its-kind deal, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius combined with local firm Stamford Law Corp. in 2015, although the Philadelphia-based firm did not have an existing Singapore office at the time of the merger.

Straits Law is the product of a series of mergers of smaller Singaporean firms, including most recently in 2016 with insurance boutique M Rama Law Corp. Sreenivasan, a litigation and arbitration specialist, has led the firm since 2003; he had been with one of the predecessor firms since 1990 after a five-year stint as a government lawyer.

The 17-director Singaporean firm specializes in disputes work, including corporate litigation, arbitration and white-collar defense. The firm also has a strong India practice, led by firm executive chairman M Rajaram.

Under Singaporean law, the combination will take the form of a venture in which K&L Gates can take one-third or less of the merged office’s equity. But unlike the other existing options for foreign firms to access local law ability, such as the Formal Law Alliance, the two firms will be financially integrated in Singapore.

So far, most U.S. firms, including K&L Gates, have operated in Singapore as foreign law practices without the ability to advise on local law. The exceptions, aside from Morgan Lewis, include Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose Fulbright, White & CaseGibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Jones Day and Sidley Austin, all of which, alongside the Magic Circle’s Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters, are under the so-called Qualifying Foreign Law Practice scheme.

The QFLP license only allows foreign firms to practice a limited range of Singaporean law, mostly related to corporate and securities transactions; areas such as litigation and conveyancing are off limits. In addition, QFLPs are subject to strict assessment on their financial performance in Singapore by the government.

Bogotá’s first metro gets funding

Duran & Osorio – Abogados Asociados and Garrigues (Colombia) have helped Empresa Metro de Bogotá obtain a US$1.68 billion loan to fund the first metro line in the Colombian capital of Bogotá.