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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.’

A&O launches Silicon Valley tech team as Linklaters hires litigation star

In a major expansion of its US operations, Allen & Overy (A&O) has made an eye-catching move for seven White & Case technology partners to establish a new Silicon Valley presence.

Making the switch are partners Shamita Etienne-Cummings, Bijal Vakil, David Tennant, Eric Lancaster, Adam Chernichaw, Daren Orzechowski and Alex Touma. The new multidisciplinary team will be headed by Orzechowski and Vakil, with all of the arriving partners operating from the current locations in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York and Washington DC.

The team will offer a combined strength in technology disputes, transactions, patent litigation and intellectual property. As well as a new Silicon Valley hub, the team transfer will also provide A&O with a new San Francisco office.

A&O senior partner Wim Dejonghe said: ‘All businesses are technology businesses now. Our clients have been asking us when we will have a presence in Silicon Valley and now we are adding an offering that we will grow to serve as the firm’s centre of excellence in a range of technology areas. This is truly a top team and integrating them into our existing practice will be game-changing for us, not just in the US, but in our capabilities to serve clients in the key markets of Europe and Asia as well.’

Continuing the Magic Circle’s US push this week, Linklaters has appointed litigation heavyweight Richard Smith as a partner in Washington DC, a rare exit from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. With over 30 years’ experience, Smith has an established reputation in litigation, particularly in white-collar defence.

Prior to private practice, Smith spent 15 years as a senior government prosecutor and was the former principal deputy chief for litigation of the fraud section of the US Department of Justice, Criminal Division.

Adam Lurie, head of Linklaters’ dispute resolution practice in the US, commented: ‘I’ve worked across from Richard on high-profile cases and our clients will benefit from his extensive experience, outstanding judgement and exceptional advocacy skills.’

In the UK, Walker Morris has made a significant addition to its real estate group, hiring partner George Bacon from Eversheds Sutherland. Ranked by The Legal 500 as a ‘leading individual’ for real estate in Yorkshire and the Humber, Bacon was previously head of real estate for Eversheds’ Leeds office.

Bacon said: ‘As a unique one-site firm located in Leeds, Walker Morris’ entrepreneurial philosophy, excellent reputation and breadth of expertise give it a distinctive edge and I am looking forward to being a part of one of the strongest specialist real estate teams in the country.’

Bird & Bird has expanded in London with the addition of experienced corporate finance partner Nick O’Donnell, who joins from Baker McKenzie. O’Donnell has spent 20 years advising clients across the technology, healthcare, energy, retail, media and financial services sectors on M&A, equity capital markets and ESG matters.

He has significant pedigree, having worked at Allen & Overy for over a decade with secondments at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Matt Bonass, head of Bird & Bird’s corporate group in London, said: ‘He has an excellent track record of advising on upper mid-market, cross-border deals; and his reputation is outstanding. We’re looking forward to having him onboard!’

Finally, in New York, Squire Patton Boggs has hired tax partner Jeffrey Koppele from Ashurst. Koppele has a wide practice advising clients on both domestic and international transactions, as well as dispositions, bankruptcy and restructurings, funds and investments, capital markets transactions and real estate investments.

Mitch Thompson, global head of the tax strategy and benefits practice group, said: ‘The expansion of our US tax team is an important part of our global growth strategy and Jeff will be significant boost our US and international tax offering to clients.’

Squire Patton Boggs Continues Expansion of Data Privacy Practice

Squire Patton Boggs continues the expansion of its Global Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice (Data Practice), with the addition of a three-lawyer, bi-coastal team from BakerHostetler, based in the firm’s Los Angeles, New York and Miami offices. Their arrival comes on the heel of the firm welcoming Alan L. Friel as Deputy Chair of the Data Practice from BakerHostetler.

The new team comprises: of counsel Kyle R. Fath New York and Los Angeles; senior associate Kyle R. Dull (New York and Miami); and associate Niloufar Massachi (Los Angeles).

“Speaking from personal experience, this is a dynamic team that will give clients a powerful advantage in creating and implementing data privacy compliance programs, commercializing data, assessing cybersecurity risk and responding to incidents and addressing regulatory changes and enforcement actions,” said Mr. Friel. “Kyle, Kyle and Nilou, collectively, bring an enriched perspective to the table, blending industry and public sector experiences that complement the complex work the Data Practice is handling. The team also counsels clients on advertising and sales practices, and has substantial experience with digital advertising and AdTech matters.”

Welcoming the team to the firm, Ann LaFrance, who co-chairs the Global Data Practice, commented, “The continued expansion of our US Data team is an important step in the strategic buildout of our global practice in this area of high and growing demand for our clients, and we are delighted to have these talented and experienced colleagues join our ranks.”

Mr. Fath has developed a practice that offers a unique blend of deep experience in counseling companies through compliance with data privacy laws, such as the CCPA, drafting and negotiating technology agreements, and advising on the privacy, IT, and IP implications of M&A and other corporate transactions. His practice has a particular focus on the ingestion and sharing of data, the implications of digital advertising (as companies look toward the so-called “cookieless future”), and assisting clients through the build-out of e-commerce and other global online platforms.

Mr. Dull, CIPP/US, draws on extensive experience investigating and prosecuting privacy and advertising law violations to advise clients on their own data privacy, cybersecurity and advertising risks. As a former assistant attorney general, he has a solid understanding of consumer protection laws, as well as domestic and international privacy laws, enabling him to counsel clients on technical, contractual, intellectual property and regulatory issues while balancing commercial and consumer interests. Additionally, Mr. Dull has experience defending and resolving privacy and advertising enforcement actions throughout the country.

Ms. Massachi, CIPP/US, focuses her practice on data privacy and protection, advertising, sales and digital media practices counseling, technology transactions, cybersecurity and breach response, and consumer protection law. Her experience includes substantive research and analysis on and application of data privacy laws, including the CCPA, CPRA, the California Shine the Light Act, the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA), the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Ms. Massachi draws on her experience to counsel clients on the development and implementation of information governance and compliance programs, including on conducting data inventory and mapping. She regularly drafts policies and procedures for providing consumer data privacy transparency and choice, as well as drafts and negotiates privacy and data security provisions for various types of multiparty agreements. Ms. Massachi also advises clients on digital media and advertising consumer protection programs, such as enhanced notice requirements for cross-device interest-based advertising and the collection of precise location data.

Squire Patton Boggs Builds Private Equity Growth in London

Squire Patton Boggs’ London Private Equity Practice has seen a significant increase in client transactional activity over the past 18 months, as the firm continues to invest heavily in its London team. The firm’s practice group has recently been recognised, for the first time, in the top 20 of legal advisors to companies by volume of deals globally in Refinitiv’s Global Private Equity Legal Advisor Review for the full year 2020.

Since the start of 2020, the UK Private Equity team, which is highly ranked for Private Equity Transactions – Mid-Market in The Legal 500 UK 2021, has acted on 106 private equity-related transactions, with a total deal value of £11 billion.

The firm has made five strategic Private Equity partner hires into its 32 lawyer-strong London Corporate team in the past 13 months: Ben Squires and Charles Leeming from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Stephen Ball from KPMG in February 2020, and Fergus Gallagher from McDermott Will & Emery and Julian Thatcher from MHMK Capital Group (and formerly Macfarlanes) in February 2021.

Recent highlights for the team include:

  • Advising Broadridge Financial Services on its acquisition of Itiviti Group, a leading provider of trading and connectivity technology to the capital markets industry, from Nordic Capital.
  • Advising the shareholders of Qmee Ltd, a data-driven rewards and loyalty company, on a majority stake investment in the company by Capital D.
  • Advising the management team of Ascential plc’s political intelligence, research and stakeholder engagement business, DeHavilland, on its MBO with Bridgepoint.
  • Advising ECI on its acquisition of CSL (Dualcom), the international critical communications service provider.
  • Advising Inflexion on its acquisition of Sparta Global, the technology and training services provider.
  • Advising Lloyd’s Register in connection with the carve-out and sale of its energy services business to Inspirit Capital.
  • Advising US corporate and PE-backed (Oak Hill Capital Partners), Safe Fleet, on its acquisition of Durite, the UK’s leading brand for electrical, lighting and vehicle safety aftermarket products for commercial vehicles.
  • Acting for the incoming management team of the Addison Lee Group, the private car hire operator, in connection with its acquisition by a consortium of investors.
  • Acting for the management team of a KKR-controlled portfolio company on its management equity plan.
  • Acting for a UK real estate-focused investor and investment manager on its logistics joint venture with a US-headquartered global institutional alternative asset management firm.
  • Advising the management team of LDC-backed ADEY Innovation, a manufacturer and supplier of products and services that improve the effectiveness of heating, cooling and water treatment systems, on the sale of the company to Polypipe Group plc.
  • Advising the shareholders of Helios Medical Communications, a global healthcare communications and strategic consultancy, on the investment by NorthEdge.
  • Advising Baird Capital and the management of Prescient Healthcare Group, a global pharma services firm specialising in dynamic decision support and product and portfolio strategy, on the investment in the group by Bridgepoint Development Capital.
  • Acting for Endless LLP on its acquisition of Amscan International, the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of wholesale party products and supplies, from Party City.
  • Advising Tenzing on its acquisition of Motion Picture Licensing Group, the world’s leading global public exhibitions umbrella licence provider.
  • Advising shareholders and management on the buyout backed by MML of Roboyo, the leading robotic process automation consultant and software provider.
  • Advising MML Capital on its investment in Waystone (formerly DMS Governance), a specialist service provider to the asset management industry, and several subsequent platform acquisitions by Waystone.
  • Advising the senior management team of ERS Insurance, the UK’s largest specialist motor insurer, on the terms of PE investment led by Aquiline and Abry.

“We are keenly focused on our London Private Equity Practice,” commented European managing partner, Jonathan Jones. “We are very pleased with how the team has developed over the past year or so, with our lateral partner hires bringing with them a wealth of experience in advising many of the most sophisticated private equity sponsors on a wide-range of high-profile transactions. They have been a perfect fit for the practice and further bolster the firm’s existing top-notch global private equity M&A capabilities, adding further depth to our highly-talented bench of lawyers in London.”

“Our London Private Equity Practice continues to go from strength-to-strength,” added Paul Mann, leader of the UK Private Equity Team. “We had an extremely busy 2H 2020, which has continued into Q1 2021, with sponsors increasingly looking at healthcare, life sciences and tech-focused investments; the deal pipeline continues to look strong in these and other sectors as our private equity clients seek to deploy their capital. Our private equity lawyers have strong sector experience which, combined with the firm’s global, multi-service platform, means that we are ideally placed to provide best-in-class advice to private equity sponsors and financial institutions on complex deals in the UK, continental Europe and globally.”

Revolving doors: New year hiring spree continues international and UK

Firms have doubled down on their recruitment efforts in the new year as the likes of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP), K&L Gates, Mishcon de Reya, Morrison & Foerster and Keystone Law all made hires.

Shakespeare Martineau, Burges Salmon, Lewis Silkin, McDermott Will & Emery, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Squire Patton Boggs were also active in the recruitment market in the past week.

Listed-firm Keystone Law has greatly expanded its bench with the group hire of 11 senior lawyers, including seven lateral partners, from a host of firms. Nick Robertson and Clive Howard have joined as partners from Mayer Brown and Slater and Gordon respectively to build out the employment practice, while technology partner Daniel Tozer arrives from Harbottle & Lewis.

Commercial property partner Paula Abrahamian was hired from Fletcher Day, Mark Douglas arrives as a corporate and commercial partner from Hierons, Stephanie Thomas has been appointed as a dispute resolution partner from Bishop & Sewell and Hannah Cornish joins from Slater and Gordon, where she was national head of the family team.

Elsewhere, BCLP has hired construction disputes partner Shy Jackson from Pinsent Masons in London. Nathan Willmott, BCLP European leader for litigation and investigations said: ‘Shy‘s excellent reputation and particular expertise will allow us to expand existing and new client relationships, and further develop business in this space.’

Ever-mobile Mishcon has significantly strengthened its litigation practice, hiring Pinsent Masons’ former head of competition litigation, Ben Lasserson. Lasserson, who previously led antitrust specialist Strange & Butler’s London office, will join a Mishcon competition team consisting of four partners.

Morrison & Foerster has continued the growth of its real estate practice in London with the hire of partner Ed Borrini from Jones Day, while Gibson Dunn has similarly bolstered its real estate finance team with the appointment of partner Robert Carr from Herbert Smith Freehills.

Burges Salmon, meanwhile, has made a lucrative in-house hire, appointing Martin Cook, the former general counsel and company secretary of payments at WorldRemit, as the firm’s head of fintech. Cook, who has also held in-house roles at Funding Circle, Wonga Group and Royal Mail said: ‘I am hugely excited to be joining Burges Salmon’s highly regarded funds and financial regulation team. With a focus on building the firm’s fintech practice, I am looking forward to working alongside the wide range of highly experienced lawyers at Burges Salmon.’

Elsewhere, Midlands-based Shakespeare Martineau has launched a new office in Lincoln with two lateral partner hires from local firm Wilkin Chapman. Litigation partner Jonathan Stork will join on 1 February, while corporate and commercial partner Michael Squirrell has already relocated, as Shakespeare Martineau strives to meet its growth mission of doubling in size by 2023.

Lewis Silkin has also been busy bolstering its UK practice, bringing in Geraint Tilsley and Antony Craggs as corporate and intellectual property partners respectively. While Craggs is a boost to Lewis Silkin’s London contentious IP department, Tilsley will oversee the expansion of the firm’s Cardiff corporate offering.

Giles Crown, joint managing partner of Lewis Silkin, said: ‘2020 was no doubt a challenging year, but we remain resilient and quietly confident about the future. As a firm, we are determined to keep bringing in new talent in order to provide the highest level of service to our clients in our chosen sectors and markets.’

On the international front, McDermott has boosted its international antitrust team with the appointment of Hendrik Viaene as a partner to its Brussels office. Viaene joins from the legal arm of accountancy firm Deloitte, where he led its global centre of expertise in competition and regulatory law. His experience includes over 18 years at leading Benelux firm Stibbe, where he specialised in European and Belgian antitrust law, including litigation.

In Paris, K&L Gates has reinforced its contentious practice with the hire of Barthélemy Cousin from Stephenson Harwood. Cousin, who led Stephenson Harwood’s dispute resolution practice in the region, focuses on international commercial disputes in the insurance, banking, transport and energy sectors.

Cousin’s hire is the latest in a string of additions for the firm, as K&L Gates welcomed more than 30 new partners and of counsel in 2020 in a broad range of contentious and non-contentious practice areas.

Finally, Squire Patton Boggs has added to its life sciences expertise in Frankfurt with the appointment of Rüdiger Herrmann as a partner. Herrmann is joined by director Jochen Eimer, both of whom join from McDermott.

Norton Rose Fulbright cuts 132 roles — majority in London

Norton Rose Fulbright’s London office

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) is to cut over 130 roles across its Europe, Middle East and Asia offices, it confirmed on Friday, with London taking the biggest hit.

The international law firm is to make 114 staff redundant in its London HQ, including 19 associates and counsel. The vast majority of cuts affect secretaries and business services staff.

“We have taken the decision to restructure our business services operating model to set us up to lead and thrive in a period of change and uncertainty,” Peter Scott, EMEA managing partner said. “Our resilient performance over 2020 allows us to make these changes now.”

He continued: “Our new operating model will help us serve our clients as effectively and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, a number of colleagues who have made important contributions will leave us. We have followed a process that is as fair, robust and sensitive as possible, to bring a swift resolution.”

In the wake of the pandemic, a number of major legal players have made job cuts.

In December, Addleshaw Goddard cut 19 lawyer roles across its UK offices following a redundancy consultation, while Reed Smith made thirteen lawyers and six support staff redundant last summer. Other firms to make cuts include Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Shoosmiths and Squire Patton Boggs.