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Allen & Overy Boots European Antitrust Team with Sidley Austin Hire

Magic Circle law firm Allen & Overy has added to its London team with the hire of Sidley Austin’s former global co-head of antitrust.

Kristina Nordlander has over 23 years of experience in broad areas of European Union antitrust litigation and has been with Sidley Austin since 2005. Nordlander focuses on big tech and life sciences, with clients on either side of the Atlantic. She was responsible for founding the Women’s Competition Network (WCN) in Brussels in 2008, an international organisation of female senior competition law and policy professionals. Following the appointment to her new role, Nordlander will split her time between Brussels and her base in London.

In a statement, Allen & Overy antitrust co-head Philip Mansfield said, “Her depth of experience and range of expertise in terms of clients and geography fit perfectly with our strategy for growth. Kristina’s hire is an illustration of our commitment to investing in our global antitrust team, as a strategic priority of the firm.”

2021 Global Awards is LIVE!

The Leaders in Law – 2021 Global Awards commemorates those who have been successful over the past 12 months and who have shown excellence not only in expertise but in service.

You can view the the 2021 Winners in the Publication below. Congratulations to all Winners again on a superb year!

View 2021 Global Awards: https://www.leaders-in-law.com/award-winners-2021/

 

From Paralegal to Lawyer at a Listed Law Firm

Following regulation changes to law firm ownership, in June 2015 Gateley became the first commercial law firm in the UK to list on the London Stock Exchange’s growth market, AIM. Just a few months prior, Zum Mohammed had moved to the legal and professional services group as a newly qualified (NQ) solicitor.

Mohammed recognises a host of benefits from operating as a publicly listed law-led business, with a number of other firms having since followed suit. “For us, it is really about differentiating ourselves in the market,” she tells me when we speak. “It allows us to speak to our clients in their language who in turn are excited to talk to us about our journey. Our experience of floating on AIM and growing through various acquisitions will be similar to the experiences of many of our clients and any new clients who may be looking to take that step.”

From a personal perspective, Mohammed tells me about the appeal in working somewhere which is innovative and constantly changing, and enables you to take ownership of the business from an early stage, in a way that the traditional partnership model does not. “We are encouraged to participate in the financial success of the business. A range of employee share schemes exist, which encourages early and widespread equity ownership. The aim is to attract, retain and motivate talent, so that all employees benefit from the Group’s longer term success.”

Winding back to the beginning of her career journey, Mohammed graduated from Nottingham Law School in 2008 as, what she describes as, a “recession graduate”. Mohammed recalls that at this time training contract offers were extremely hard to come by, as solicitors were being made redundant as a result of a slowdown in corporate transactions taking place. Mohammed decided to undertake a corporate law LLM at Nottingham Law School and worked at the Citizens Advice Bureau alongside her studies. During her time at the Bureau, Mohammed met a contact of the HR director of national firm Roythornes, where she became a litigation paralegal, before moving to paralegal at Shakespeare Martineau’s (Shakespeares, as it was then) Nottingham office.

Mohammed tells me that her experience as a paralegal prepared her well for legal practice, providing her with the confidence to interact with clients from an early stage. She further encourages wannabe commercial solicitors to grasp opportunities as such with both hands. “I see a big difference between trainees who have spent time as a paralegal or legal assistant and those who come to the firm as a trainee straight out of university, just in the way an individual writes emails, drafts or talks,” she explains. “Communicating with clients in reality is very different from the way that you are taught throughout your legal education, and you won’t necessarily receive training on that area straight away.”

During Mohammed’s time at Shakespeare Martineau, there were still few training contracts on offer. After lobbying for greater internal opportunities, Mohammed became one of the first paralegals to achieve a training contract offer at the firm after a freeze of around three years; a moment, Mohammed notes, that she was particularly proud of. Mohammed then undertook a three-seat training contract, before being approached by Gateley, and being signed off as a solicitor by Shakespeare Martineau owing to her lengthy experience as a paralegal. Mohammed came to Gateley’s office in Nottingham as an NQ solicitor in the Group’s corporate team for one year, before moving to the London office where she has remained as a corporate lawyer ever since, and recently made senior associate at the business.

With the year drawing to a close, what is on Mohammed’s radar for 2022? “It has been an extremely busy year for our national corporate team, and I envisage that M&A will continue to be really busy,” she says. Elaborating further, Mohammed explains that private equity houses are ready to deploy more capital than ever before and on more flexible terms than they used to. “With this in mind,” she says, “I think this will open up an avenue for companies who didn’t traditionally look at this type of funding helping them to expand quicker than they could have organically.”

When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, Mohammed responds:

“I think that I would encourage myself not to rush things and remember that everything has its time. Having been a paralegal I often felt behind, and I think that a lot of students believe that if you don’t have a training contract offer lined up straight out of university your career will start to fall apart.”

Mohammed was keen to dispel this misconception, reiterating that time spent gaining complementary experience will enable you to exude confidence when you are successful upon qualification and with more routes to qualification than ever before: “Being the fastest to get there is not always necessarily the best way.”

Protection of Market Image of Space

QUALITY USER EXPERIENCE DURING DIGITALIZATION IS IMPORTANT

Today, search engines can string us 500 million results in half a second and offer and offer us specifically, according to our search habits, profiled results and online ads. The market is increasingly saturated with mass products and services. In an age of increasing digitalization and increasingly present artificial intelligence, we feel that we are constantly short of time.
Uniqueness and originality, as well as a quality user experience in as real a time as possible, are becoming increasingly important. We attract and propose potential new customers and consumers with a unique purchasing and / or user experience of our services and / or products in a very special environment. They return to us again or, with a new purchase, remain loyal to our services / products and thus indirectly to our company.

OUR INVESTMENTS IN DEVELOPING OUR OWN PURCHASE AND USER EXPERIENCE AND THEIR PROTECTION

We invest financial and intellectual capital, our knowledge and experience, our time and the creativity of ourselves and our employees in the development of our own services and products. We transfer the effect of uniqueness and originality to our distribution channels and to the sales service itself and to our sales premises. Our uniqueness and originality is transferred to the shopping experience of our customers and new customers and consumers of our services / products through distribution channels or sales outlets. Therefore, it makes sense to adequately and optimally protect all the intellectual property we create in this way, in accordance with the existing legislation in the countries in which we want to market.

Where the result of our investments and efforts is a special market image of our services / products, our exhibition and sales premises, which differs from competitors and other providers, it makes sense to protect it with the right of registered design to protect the appearance of the product. ).
In the last 15 years, the concept of market image has become more and more popular in Europe, in addition to the concept of corporate image.
With the Slovenian model, the Community model (protected product appearance in all 28 EU countries) and also with the International model, the protection of which is covered by as many as 118 countries, so n. pr. protect different types of market images. Among them are n. pr. market image or corporate image of space, market image or corporate image of interior spaces, market image or corporate image of sales windows, market image or corporate image of the interiors of various other premises, market image or corporate image of the interior of restaurants, market image or corporate image of the interior of ships and other watercraft, market image or corporate identity of the interiors of various land vehicles, etc.

In the next message, we will introduce you to the possibilities of protecting your marketing images in connection with a sound brand.

With our knowledge and many years of experience in our company KETNER d.o.o. we help you compile a patent application for your invention and protect it in the Republic of Slovenia and in many markets abroad, whether in European countries, the United States, Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa or any other market. At the same time, we advise you on how to alternatively protect your inventions and innovations and how to properly document their development. All this in order to help optimally protect your inventions and innovations, and thus to create and increase the value of your company and your business.
Be strategic! Protect your intellectual property! With trust in you and in your company or organization, we always strive for you, for your future and the future of Slovenia.
We are happy to represent you in the procedures for the protection of your intellectual property, which we will also evaluate at your request!

Cyprus Delivers New Boost to Fintech, Funds Innovation Clusters

Cyprus is offering an enticing deal for tech companies and ICT specialists to relocate to the island as they seek more cost efficient and less crowded countries that offer a better lifestyle alongside strong telecommunication and digital infrastructures in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Under the new Immigration Framework initiative, tech companies are entitled to employ up to 15 third-country nationals as directors and middle management executives, and any number of qualified third-country nationals in possession of required ICT skills, including: software and system engineers; ICT and enterprise solution architects; machine learning engineers; web developers and designers; cyber security specialists and AI, robotics and big data specialists.

As a member of the European Union, citizens from all European Economic Area (EEA) member states can freely work in Cyprus, without permission. The Framework means there are now no restrictions on the maximum duration of stay of third-country nationals, while employees with residence and employment permits have direct access to family reunification with their spouse and minor children, provided that the necessary conditions are met.

Investment has been boosted by a low corporate tax of 12.5% and a developed network of over 60 double tax treaties. Cyprus also offers an 80% tax exemption, on qualifying profits arising out of the exploitation of R&D intellectual property qualifying assets (Cyprus IP Regime). The effective tax rate for corporate income, taking advantage of this incentive, can be as low as 2.5%.

The initiative complements existing national strategies to integrate innovative tech that include generous fiscal incentives to attract IT start-ups and regional headquarters and is being spearheaded by Invest Cyprus, the national investment promotion agency.

Invest Cyprus chief executive George Campanellas said: “The world is changing and with Europe fast becoming a tech haven for talent and companies, Cyprus provides a very safe and attractive destination for tech firms and non-EU investors.

“We are now taking enquiries from tech companies on a daily basis. We have visited California and other tech hubs in the US, and cities in Israel, Ireland and Eastern Europe countries and we can see that Cyprus is well positioned to become among the top European destinations for setting up regional headquarters and development centres.”

Cyprus’s commitment to innovative research and its rapidly growing start-up ecosystem is supported by a generous support package with state and EU funds to spend on a number of key projects over the next three years. The funds will go towards various initiatives including the creation of new innovation clusters to bring together entrepreneurs, researchers and academia as well as digitalising over 160 state services and cybersecurity projects.

The dynamic FinTech movement in Cyprus comprises nearly 250 FinTech including start-ups, offering services ranging from real time investment portfolio securitisation and advanced performance analytics to automated order processing.

In Limassol alone, a community of more than 8,000 ICT professionals serve the FinTech industry, and it is home to some of the world’s leading names in RegTech, the ‘Internet of things’ (IoT) and cybersecurity. Among them is AmDocs, which has around 1,000 software programmers living and working in Cyprus, the multi-asset online social trading firm eToro, and Point Nine, an industry leader in outsourced operations, processing and reporting that was recently acquired by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group through its subsidiary in Cyprus.

Gaming platforms also feature prominently in the new tech space in Cyprus. This year Nexters Global, the Cyprus-based mobile and social game developer behind Hero Wars and Throne Rush, cemented a $1.9 billion deal with Kismet Acquisition One Corp, reflecting the strong progress it has made since moving its operations to Cyprus in 2017.

For entrepreneurs looking for a European base to begin operations, Cyprus takes some beating. Strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Cyprus is an internationally recognised financial centre, with a sound banking sector and a well-established common law system. Both the banking sector and the fully comprehensive FX industry in Cyprus have opened to technological development and regulators and competent authorities take a positive pro-business approach to facilitating fintech activity – all of which offers optimal conditions for new and existing players.

To encourage the wide transformation of financial services, the Cyprus Exchange & Securities Commission (CySEC) launched the ‘Innovation Hub’ in 2018, a regulatory ‘sandbox’ to enable a seamless transfer of information as to how existing regulation applies to new products or business models, whilst also helping identify what regulatory frameworks might need to be established to meet evolving needs – all without stifling innovation.

The business models represented in the Hub include regulatory and AML compliance tools based on big data analytics and data reporting, the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), AI tools and a venture capital fund investing in blockchain start-ups.

A recent evaluation of Cyprus’s fintech laws and regulations by the Legal500.com guide concluded: “We do not identify any imminent risks to fintech growth. On the contrary, regulators’ positive disposition towards fintech should encourage its further development.”

“These continuous efforts to upgrade the legislative and regulatory regime in Cyprus, and adoption of new technologies to ensure investor protection and service quality, has also made the island one of the top emerging investment fund centres in Europe,” said Campanellas. “Its visibility has been greatly enhanced by being able to list Cyprus funds on international platforms such as Bloomberg, Clearstream, Morningstar and Refinitiv.”

Other thriving fintech companies include crypto-trading platforms and crypto-exchanges, and companies offering alternative payment solutions. Having adopted a national blockchain strategy in 2019, Cyprus has been highly successful in attracting investment capital, with 27 blockchain startups having raised a total of €142 million in funding. Cyprus has also been a trailblazer in blockchain. The University of Nicosia is the first university in the world to offer a Masters in Digital Currency and also the first to allow fees to be paid by Bitcoin.

“Cyprus has the capacity to become one of the great technology hubs in the world. Amongst our strategic priorities is to showcase Cyprus as an ideal EU location for international high-tech companies to base their operations and scale-up. In this context, we focus our efforts towards empowering a new generation of tech entrepreneurs, and nurturing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Campanellas.

Article By

George Ayiomamitis

 

New Benefits and Incentives for foreigners that qualify as Digital Nomads, Investors, Persons of Independent Means, and Pensioners in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is in the eyes of those who have chosen a new lifestyle that combines work and tourism. These are the so-called Digital Nomads who are looking for new destinations from which they can work remotely and at the same time get to know new places, cultures, and even gastronomic options.

This new concept was born as a variation of teleworking, but much more flexible. It basically implies the possibility to work remotely from any other part of the world, while maintaining a work relationship with their foreign employer or working on their own for clients abroad.

Without doubt, Costa Rica offers multiple tourism advantages and incentives to ensure that a model such as this one will be attractive for these individuals. Hence, the Government of the Republic approved and published a new Law to attract Digital Nomads, offering a series of benefits during their stay in the national territory. Among these benefits, we can highlight the following:

  • Legal visa for a year, extendable for another year, for the digital nomad and his/her immediate family (spouse and underage children)
  • Possibility of opening bank accounts within the local banking system.
  • Validity of their driver’s license in the country.
  • Total exemption from the Tax on profits (income).
  • Exemption from taxes to import their basic personal work equipment.

Therefore, digital nomads are welcome in Costa Rica, and they are urged to consider our country as their temporary or definitive destination.

Additionally, those foreigners that wish to legally reside in Costa Rica are also welcome in our country. Recently, the Government of Costa Rica approved and published a new Law to attract those foreigners that qualify under any of the following immigration categories: investor, person of independent means, and/or pensioner. The new Law contemplates a series of incentives and tax benefits to make their residency in the country even more attractive. Among these benefits, we can highlight the following:

  • Temporary residency for a 2-year term, renewable, for the resident and his/her immediate family (spouse and underage children).
  • One-time exemption from import and nationalization taxes for their home furnishings.
  • Exemption from import and nationalization taxes for two land, air, and/or marine vehicles for personal and/or family use.
  • 20% exemption on transfer taxes for real estate properties acquired while the law is in force.
  • Decrease in the minimum investment capital amount necessary to qualify as an investing resident to US$150,000 dollars; this investment can be made in properties, securities, productive projects, and/or projects of a national interest.

Costa Rica is a magical destination that captivates all those who have the chance to get to know our beaches, oceans, mountains, volcanoes, rivers, savannahs, forests, cities, and most of all our people. At Oller Abogados we are at your disposal to help you become a digital nomad and/or legal resident in Costa Rica.

Jose Andrés Prado, Associate, Oller Abogados

jprado@ollerabogados.com

T: (506) 2257-1290

Law Firms Continue March On Stock Market As Taylor Rose MW Explores Float

Top 60 UK law firm Taylor Rose MW is eyeing a 2022 float, its boss says, as  an “arms race” continues in the legal sector.

An initial public offering is “an active consideration” for the firm, chief executive Adrian Jaggard told Financial News.

“We are actively looking at third-party investment to continue our growth journey,” he said. “To continue that journey, or to do it justice, we are looking at our options in terms of investment. The obvious is debt or equity, both are under consideration at the moment and that includes an IPO.”

Jaggard said the firm was looking for investment within the next 12 months, and said it was a “possibility” that the firm could be publicly traded by this time next year.

Taylor Rose is being advised by broker Arden Partners, which acted on the float of law firm Ince in 2017. It is also working with financial public relations agency SEC Newgate, which boasts of its “award-winning capital markets team” on its website.

Consumer law firm Taylor Rose snapped up struggling rival McMillan Williams in May 2020 in a pre-pack administration deal.

Jaggard said the firm generated revenue of £70m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation “north of £8m” in the year ended 30 September.

That revenue figure would have put the firm within the top 60 largest law firms in the UK last year, according to The Lawyer magazine’s rankings for 2019-20.

The firm has around 500 employees and 350 fee-earning consultants, a spokesperson said.

Its consultants are self-employed lawyers who retain an average of 70% of their billings, with the remainder taken by the firm. The firm said its consultants division had more than doubled its headcount in the last year and was increasing that number by 15-20 lawyers per month.

The move comes as law firms across the City eye up going public in a bid to expand in a fiercely competitive market. Up to a third of law firms are considering floating in the next 12-18 months, according to a recent survey from litigation funder Harbour.

London litigation powerhouse Mishcon de Reya said in April that it had appointed JPMorgan to advise on a float that could value the firm at up to £750m.

Personal injury firm Irwin Mitchell is also working on a listing with Rothschild, according to Sky News, that could value the firm at £500m.

A spokesperson for Irwin Mitchell said: “We have taken no decision to introduce external investment and our balance sheet remains strong.”

The listed legal model in England is still a nascent one, with Birmingham-headquartered firm Gateley’s 2015 float the first in the sector after the Legal Services Act 2007 allowed non-lawyer ownership of law firms in England and Wales for the first time.

Keystone, Knights, Rosenblatt, Ince and DWF have all since floated in London.

Jaggard said part of the rationale for the firm seeking outside funding was to invest in technology.

“There is an arms race going on with technology and systems,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity to improve efficiency, improve risk control and improve interfaces and communications with the clients.”

“When clients are dealing with their lawyer, they are not benchmarking us against other lawyers, they are benchmarking us against interfaces with banks, insurers and customer services from John Lewis. There is an opportunity for us as an industry to up our game there,” he added.

Jaggard said the firm was also looking to grow through mergers and acquisitions and said the firm was in “early stage talks with one or two firms”.

Major Western Region Leasing Markets Predictions and Updates

A panel of commercial real estate leasing experts shared their predictions and updates for major Western region markets at the 14th Annual View From the Top. Panelists included Jeffrey Welch, Executive Vice President of CBRE; Christopher T. Roeder, Executive Managing Director of JLL; David Sternberg, Executive Vice President of Northern California & Mountain Regions of Brookfield Properties; and David Abbot, Executive Vice President of Colliers. The panel was moderated by Allen Matkins partner Tony Natsis.

The panelists agreed that the number one priority at the moment is getting people back to work in the office—a sentiment also shared by tenants and property owners. Overall, the outlook remains positive in the leasing market.

LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles saw the second-lowest occupancy in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The massive 235 million square foot market has seen rents increase in five of the last six quarters despite the fact that the city has been shut down for the last 18 months and vacancy rates are as high as 40%. Driving the rent increases are 12 million square feet of new space scooped up by the tech industry.

There have been pockets of activity in Culver City, Burbank, and Hollywood mostly related to the booming techtainment industry in the area. Demand for entertainment has remained high, increasing the need for soundstages and the like.

In contrast, the downtown Los Angeles market has been stagnant, as the companies that traditionally occupy those spaces have stayed home. These finance, real estate, and insurance companies continue to perform well, but there is some speculation that they will need less space after the pandemic ends.

Across all markets in the Los Angeles area, concessions are at all-time highs. There is no indication that these concessions will fall or rental rates will drop in some of the less popular areas. Moving forward, landlords and tenants are looking for flexibility and efficiency. Flexibility is key, as tenants may not know exactly what they need until they get everyone back in the office and are able to see how they want to use their space.

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as the city shut down. Occupancy rates and public transportation ridership were the lowest in the country. Vacancies reached 20%. With a high density of office space in the downtown area, commercial activity in the city appeared flat. Behind the scenes, business continued from home offices and living rooms. A tremendous amount of wealth generation continued, unemployment rates remained low, and companies in the region continued to hire employees.

The best subleases in the area are moving again, and many of the current subleases will expire in the next three years. Priorities in the city include getting people back to work in the office, and that requires making workers feel safe and comfortable outside their homes. As tech companies begin to return to work, the abundant supply of sublease space should dissipate.

Highlights in the Bay Area include 5M, a mixed-use development in downtown San Francisco. The building will be 100% leased before the end of 2021, and tours have significantly picked up now that people have the ability to physically walk through the facility and see the health and wellness attributes. Progress on Pier 70 continues, and a lot of the infrastructure has been completed, making it possible for people to walk the grounds.

SEATTLE

The leasing market in Seattle has seen an uptick in demand for sublease and new-to-market tenants in the last two to three months. Notably, some sublease space is coming off the market as landlords anticipate companies returning to work in the coming months. Key players in the area include tech companies, as well as life sciences companies gaining momentum.

Bellevue was a bright spot during the pandemic due to Amazon’s expansion in the area. However, the company has been a disruptor in the space. Much of the current construction work downtown is related to Amazon projects, and the company also had incentivized tenants to move before their leases ended, with plans to take over those spaces.

In the South Lake Union area, projects originally constructed as office space have been pivoted to the life sciences. This includes Cascadian and Dexter Yard, which are now targeting tech and life science companies. This trend may continue and lower the amount of office space in the area.

The Puget Sound area should see a robust end-of-the-year. Executive transitions at Amazon and the potential election of a business-savvy mayor are factors that could affect growth in the region.

Article By

Anton N. Natsis
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP

Revolving doors: Cleary makes Bay Area move as HogLov and Squire enhance Africa offerings

In a bold Bay Area play, Cleary Gottlieb has announced that it is opening in California with the arrival of renowned antitrust trial lawyer Heather Nyong’o and the relocation of a team of partners and associates from its New York and Washington DC offices to Palo Alto and San Francisco.

Nyong’o was partner-in-charge of WilmerHale’s San Francisco office and leader of its California antitrust and competition practice. She joins long-standing Cleary antitrust partners Brian Byrne and George Cary, white-collar partner Jennifer Kennedy Park, M&A partner Benet O’Reilly, and a team of six associates.

This move builds on Cleary’s many decades representing California’s leading technology companies, private equity firms, and other clients on transformative global antitrust, M&A, enforcement, and capital market matters.

‘We have long advised California clients on their most complex, sophisticated matters. The shifting regulatory environment and evolving needs of businesses across sectors adds compelling reasons to provide these clients with on-the-ground support,’ said Cleary managing partner Michael Gerstenzang. ‘We’ve assembled an outstanding team with the arrival of Heather and relocation of Brian, George, Jen, Benet, and a half-dozen fantastic associates. We will build on this strong foundation by expanding our Bay Area presence with additional exceptional talent in the coming months.’

Also in the US, Clifford Chance has appointed US and international tax specialist Paul Seraganian as a partner based in New York. Seraganian, who joins from Canadian Global 100 firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, where he was managing partner of its New York office, has more than 20 years’ experience in advising on the tax aspects of cross-border corporate transactions, securities offerings, financings and funds and investment management. He has significant experience in advising clients regarding tax-free and taxable reorganisations and acquisitions as well as structuring, operating and unwinding joint venture arrangements.

Head of CC’s US tax, pensions and employment group, David Moldenhauer, said: ‘As we observe the continued internationalisation of business and investment transactions and the related increase in the complexity of these transactions and client structures, Paul’s arrival to the firm further secures our ability to provide first-class advice on critical tax issues.’

Meanwhile, Hogan Lovells has announced the hire of Pinsent Masons partner Chris Green as it expands its corporate and finance capabilities in Johannesburg.

Green leads Pinsents’ South African transactional services practice, focusing on blue chip cross-border corporate M&A work across sectors that include consumer goods, financial services, telecoms and energy & natural resources for clients such as Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, AB InBev and BASF.

Commenting on the appointment, Johannesburg managing partner, Wessel Badenhorst, said: ‘We present the ideal platform for Chris to grow both domestic and worldwide relationships, significantly enhancing and complementing our expertise as well as our brand and presence in South Africa more generally.’

Meanwhile Squire Patton Boggs has enhanced its Africa offering and continued the expansion of its international disputes practice with the addition of Timi Balogun, an Africa projects and disputes specialist, who joins the firm in London as a partner.

Balogun has extensive experience in dispute resolution and international arbitration, acting for African governments, state entities and national oil and gas companies in high-profile disputes. He spent six years as general counsel of The Infrastructure Bank, formerly the Urban Development Bank of Nigeria, in Abuja, before joining Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle in London in 2015, where he was later promoted to partner.

He recently represented the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in commercial arbitration proceedings regarding disputes over oil lifting entitlements and was part of a team of lawyers that defended Nigeria in efforts to resist the recognition of a $10bn award in favor of P&ID, a BVI entity.

Peter Stewart, co-coordinator of Squire Patton Boggs’ Africa practice, said: ‘Timi is a rare commodity. In addition to his disputes expertise, he is a skilled and experienced project finance practitioner with a strong in-house counsel background. He is also qualified in both the UK and Nigeria, operating at a high level in both jurisdictions and globally. All of these qualities, combined with his deep knowledge of energy projects, make him a natural to take on a leadership role in our Africa practice and serve as a great asset for our clients.’

King & Spalding has boosted its Singapore corporate team with the arrival of Parveet Singh Gandoak from Skadden, where he was counsel.

Gandoak joins King & Spalding as a partner in the firm’s corporate, finance and investments (CFI) practice group, where he will focus on advising multinationals, sovereign wealth funds, private equity sponsors and venture capital firms on cross-border M&A and other deal-related activity in a range of sectors including tech, media, telecoms, energy and insurance.

Todd Holleman, head of King & Spalding’s CFI practice, said: ‘Parveet’s blend of international experience and entrepreneurial spirit further enhances our Asia M&A and private equity practices. He has a strong background in advising blue-chip clients on some of their largest and most complex transactions in south-east Asia and India, which taps straight into our existing transactional practice.’

In London, Kirkland & Ellis has recruited Ashurst private equity tax partner Alexander Cox. Cox focuses on the structuring of investment funds, including advising in relation to management company tax issues and carried interest. In addition, he also has significant experience advising on real estate tax matters covering both the establishment of real estate funds and the M&A transactions they undertake.

‘Alexander is a leading tax partner in the European private equity market who regularly advises financial sponsors on the structuring of their investment funds,’  said Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee. ‘We are delighted that Alexander is joining us and this will further strengthen our global tax team.’

Kirkland shortens path to full partnership amid legal talent war

Kirkland & Ellis’ move to knock one year off its equity partnership track could make the firm more competitive in the battle for legal talent, industry experts said.

The firm, which reportedly posted nearly $5 billion in revenue in 2020, announced internally on Wednesday that partners will be considered for ownership status after their ninth year out of law school, instead of their 10th. A Kirkland spokesperson on Wednesday confirmed the authenticity of the memo, which was first reported by Law.com, but declined to comment on the reasons for the change.

“Given the talent of our partnership and the increased responsibilities and experience gained in today’s environment, we believe that consideration for equity a year sooner is appropriate,” the memo said.

The rewards for those who make equity partner are significant. Kirkland had the third-highest profits-per-equity partner of any U.S. law firm in 2020 at about $6.2 million, according to The American Lawyer. It has topped the magazine’s annual revenue rankings for the last four years.

A shorter partnership track may bolster Kirkland’s appeal to senior associates at other firms and may prompt senior associates and non-equity partners already at Kirkland to think twice before leaving, said Kate Reder Sheikh, managing director of the associate practice group at legal recruiter Major, Lindsey & Africa.

Law firms have been locked in competition for associates this year, raising salaries and doling out large bonuses to keep from falling behind. Partners, depending on their practices and books of business, have also been in high demand.

“I think every firm right now should be thinking about ways to make themselves appealing,” Sheikh said. “The partnership track is one of those levers they can pull.”

Kirkland already has the youngest partnership among the 200 top-grossing U.S. law firms, according to a recent analysis by legal data intelligence provider Leopard Solutions. Three-quarters of its partners got their law degrees in the 2000s, compared to an average of 41% for other top 200 firms.

Kirkland’s partnership structure is somewhat unique among major firms, Sheikh noted. Lawyers become salaried partners after six years, then are eligible for equity partnership after 10 years, which has now been reduced to nine years.

“This is a great way of retaining talent, attracting talent, and remaining competitive,” said Robert Kamins, a law firm consultant with Vertex Advisors. “It will force the market.”