In tandem with a high M&A deal flow and a broad availability of cash for acquisition financings, U.S. and Canadian law firms aggressively expanded their corporate practices in late April and early May. One of the latest firms to ramp up its private equity practice is MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY, which lured Michael Sartor to its Boston office as a partner. Sartor, previously with Ropes & Gray in Boston, represents private equity sponsors in M&A transactions and also works on fund formations.

On the opposite coast, SIDLEY AUSTIN recruited emerging companies and venture capital attorney Sam Zucker as a partner in Palo Alto. Zucker specialises in M&A and works with clients in the healthcare technology and life sciences sectors in Asia, the US and elsewhere. Late in April, KIRKLAND & ELLIS announced the opening of a Houston office and the hiring of M&A lawyer Andrew Calder from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, whose clients in the private equity space have included KKR and Blackstone Energy Partners.

On the banking and financial services side, there were also many high-profile moves. James Odell, a former head of the legal division at The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, a former general counsel of UBS and of Citigroup’s investment banking division, and a former partner at O’Melveny & Myers, returned to private practice, entering the partnership of BLANK ROME in New York.

Also in New York, mid-market firm OTTERBOUG welcomed John Hanley, a lawyer specialising in the representation of investment banks, hedge funds, and SPVs on the purchase and sale of bank loans; and MAYER BROWN snagged Henry Liu, the former head of Pillsbury’s financial institutions and infrastructure teams devoted to Asia.

On the restructuring side, mid-market firm FREEBORN & PETERS, which has recently lured attorneys from Kirkland & Ellis and Mayer Brown, gained Shelly DeRousse, formerly with Stahl Cowen Crowley, as a partner in Chicago. DeRousse represents financial institutions, from global banks to local ones, in bankruptcies and restructurings.

In Calgary, BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS announced the hiring of Ira Cooper, who had spent the past 12 years at BLG’s competitor McCarthy Tétrault. Cooper advises lenders and borrowers in corporate and commercial lending transactions, including asset-based and balance sheet lending. Partly offsetting the loss of Cooper, MCCARTHY TÉTRAULT gained transactional lawyer Adam Taylor as a partner in Toronto. Taylor, who was previously with Bennett Jones, advises public and private companies on financings and M&A, concentrating heavily on mining sector deals.

MADRONA HONG MAZZUCO in Brazil has announced that it has added Marcelo Cosac to its partnership. The São Paulo-based firm now has eight partners. Cosac specialises in capital markets and real estate and will be co-responsible, along with Byung Soo Hong, for the practice group. Before joining Madrona Hong Mazzuco, he was a partner at Tauil & Chequer Advogados.


In Hong Kong, US firm WINSTON & STRAWN hired a four-lawyer team from DLA Piper that included Asia corporate head Mabel Lui. DLA PIPER’S response was to appoint US M&A partner Paul Chen – who is to relocate from DLA's Silicon Valley office in June - as its new head of corporate for Asia. Chen was previously Hong Kong managing partner at the now defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Harry Prabawa from Indonesian firm Prabawa & Hayya in Jakarta has joined HANAFIAH PONGGAWA & PARTNERS (HPRP) as partner. Prabawa specialises in World Trade Organisation rules and disputes and will head the firm’s international trade practice group. He also focuses on anti-dumping free-trade agreements and customs issues. For the last 15 years, Prabawa handled international trade remedies proceedings across Europe, Australia, the United States and Brazil. In Asia, his jurisdictions include Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand.

Former Delhi Land & Finance (DLF) legal senior vice president Nipun Malhotra has rejoined Indian law firm O P KHAITAN & CO as senior partner in New Delhi. In Mumbai, Shishir Vayttaden has left Luthra & Luthra for AMARCHAND & MANGALDAS & SURESH A SHROFF & CO, and joins the firm as corporate partner. Ex-White & Case lawyer Kartick Maheshwari is KHAITAN & CO’S newest associate partner in its Mumbai corporate practice, dealing with securities and capital markets deals. KHAITAN & CO’S New Delhi office bolstered its energy, infrastructure and resources practice with the hires of former J Sagar Associates’ Dibyanshu Sinha and Trilegal’s Nishant Beniwal, as associate partner and counsel respectively. 

In Singapore, M&A and private equity partner Shirin Tang joins MORRISON & FOERSTER from Shearman & Sterling. Joining the NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT ranks is partner Sheela Moorthy who was previously head of DLA Piper’s corporate practice. Moorthy has over 20 years of experience in cross-border M&A matters throughout Southeast Asia and South Africa. Head of HOGAN LOVELLS’ corporate and private equity practice, Stephanie Keen is taking over as the firm’s Singapore managing partner. She is taking over from James Harris, who has been in the position for the past 11 years.

There has also been movement in Australia as BAKER & MCKENZIE poached Clayton Utz partner Darren Fooks and Allens partner Jo Daniels in preparation for its plan to open an office in Brisbane. Independent HWL EBSWORTH is opening an office in Adelaide and acquired 14 partners and their staff from local firm Kelly & Co.

Europe, Middle East & Africa

In Brussels the big news was the departure of Clifford Chance EU Competition partner Johan Ysewyn to COVINGTON & BURLING. Having only joined Clifford in 2011 from Linklaters, Ysewyn is on the move again and the news is timely for Covington following its loss last year of its head of competition Lars Kjølbye to Latham & Watkins.

Ysewyn will be joined in the team by another new addition in the form of former Covington lawyer Peter Camesasca who has made a return the firm after running his own outfit.

The beginning of May brought with it several moves in the wider Benelux region. In Brussels public law specialist Barteld Schutyser has rejoined EUBELIUS from DLA Piper, having previously been an associate partner with the firm from 2002-07. In particular his work focuses on public procurement law, public-private partnerships (PPP) and regulatory litigation.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands experienced corporate partner Rob Hendriks has joined international firm SIMMONS & SIMMONS. He had spent 19 years with Banning before moving over. His arrival brings the total number of partners in the Amsterdam corporate team to six.

BIRD & BIRD added two partners to its corporate team in Copenhagen as it looks to expand following its entry into the market through the acquisition of local firm BvHD last year. Experienced M&A practitioner Philip Graff joined from the energy services division of global shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk while Ulrik Fleischer-Michaelsen, an M&A, tax and contracts specialist, came in from Danish firm Rønne & Lundgren.

Over the past month the Paris market has seen a number of interesting moves, particularly in the corporate and contentious spheres. Among the most prominent saw Fernando Mantilla-Serrano leave Shearman & Sterling’s prestigious international arbitration practice for LATHAM & WATKINS. He co-led Shearman’s practice and will take the same role for Latham’s global arbitration practice.

Philippe Hameau, restructuring and insolvency (R&I) and commercial litigation partner of Orrick Rambaud Martel, made a move to NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT. Hameau is one of the leading R&I professionals in Paris and a long-standing IFLR1000 leading lawyer and the move is a big coup by Norton Rose.

The rest of the partner moves were in corporate, M&A and real estate. K&L GATES pinched Nicola di Giovanni from Baker & McKenzie to strengthen its corporate M&A department. After ten years with Freshfields, M&A specialist Denis Charles Barat switched to SQUIRE SANDERS. His primary experience is in advising French clients making outbound foreign M&A, particularly in the food and luxury sectors and he becomes Squire’s tenth Paris partner. Meanwhile earlier in April MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY added Emmanuelle Trombe from Dechert. Trombe focuses on commercial and corporate law in the life sciences sector.

DENTONS added a partner in Alexandre Poupard. Initially announced in January but making the news in April, Poupard leaves Allen & Overy to join Denton’s real estate partnership.

A final notable move saw MORGAN LEWIS & BOCKIUS pinch Stephen Walters from Bird & Bird. Walters also specialises in M&A and will split his time between London and Paris.

BORENIUS’S Helsinki office welcomed back former associate Niina Nuottimäki in a partnership role. Nuottimäki is known as an LBO specialist and had left the firm in 2010 to join Nordea Bank where she mainly advised the corporate and leveraged finance team.

Spring was in the air in Germany during the last four weeks it appears, with a host of firms attracting partners.

The flurry of lateral hires began mid April when KING & SPALDING recruited Werner Meier from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s rival Frankfurt office to launch the Atlanta firm’s European restructuring practice.

A few weeks later NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT was in the market for new talent, and it found some, enticing Milbank counsel and banking and finance specialist, Anthony Morton, to its base in the country’s financial capital with the lure of partnership.

K&L GATES is making a concerted effort to strengthen its German offering it seems. Taking advantage of the demise of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s Berlin office, the US firm took the tally of new partners its recruited in Germany across April and May to three, scooping up fund and tax expert Till Fock. Fock had been left without an office in the German capital after his former employer retrenched its offering following the outcome of the ever ominous strategic review.

There was activity in Bavaria and Hamburg too. In the former, PINSENT MASONS poached two partners from domestic competitor Arqis in Munich. The UK outfit’s new recruits, Michael Reich and Tobias Rodehau, are competition and corporate partners respectively. In the latter area, WHITE & CASE were also active moving for long serving Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer senior associate, Riaz Janjuah. Formerly part of the magic circle firm’s finance group, he is now a partner at the white shoe outfit.

One growing German firm is LUTHER. At the end of April it announced the recruitment of five lawyers from compatriot GSK Stockmann + Kollegen after the latter decided to close its base in Düsseldorf. Two of the new additions are partners Eckart Petzold and Karl von Hase, corporate lawyers who have a focus on M&A for Italian clients with operations in Germany. The team adds to the counsel the firm hired at the beginning of April. 

Unlike their German counterparts, international firms in Prague do not appear to be overcome by the joys of spring, both NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT and, more recently, HOGAN LOVELLS decided it was time to check out of Prague. The former closed the office on May 1 2014, leaving office head Milana Chamberlain to relocate to London. The other half of the former two-partner branch, Pavel Kvíčala, has taken his team and joined domestic firm HAVEL HOLÁSEK & PARTNERS. Hogan Lovells has not set a date on when the winding down of its Czech offering will be complete but it intends to leave in the summer. Led by managing partner Miroslav Dubovsky, the Prague team is considering launching a boutique that will have an informal referral relationship with the international firm.

Independent Russian firm LINIYA PRAVA has also boosted its corporate practice by bringing in a new partner to head up its Moscow team. Ruslan Nagaybekov joined from an in-house role with industrial group Kirovskiy Zavod and has more than 18 years’ of experience working in this area.

Staying in the Russian capital, international firm HOGAN LOVELLS also announced the addition of a new partner this month. Alexander Dolgov has joined the global infrastructure, energy, resources and projects group from rival firm Gide Loyrette Nouel. Dolgov is recognised as one of the leading names for PPP in Russia.

There was sad news in Switzerland as NIEDERER KRAFT & FREY partner Urs Pulver passed away. Pulver was partner at Niederer Kraft & Frey for 17 years and the core of his practice focused on banking and finance. He was highly reputed in the market and listed an IFLR1000 leading lawyer.

In Istanbul MOROĞLU ARSEVEN has brought in a new partner to lead its competition practice. Bora İkiler was formerly a senior associate with leading firm Elig where he had been for eight years

The latter part of April proved to relatively quiet in London though there were a couple of noteworthy moves. LATHAM & WATKINS further reinforced its relationship with Carlyle Group with the hire of partner Tom Alabaster from the group’s in-house team. The move follows the hire last year of David Walker, Clifford Chance’s former Carlyle relationship partner.

Ashurst took a hit to its M&A team when GIBSON DUNN & CRUTCHER stepped in for Jonathan Earle. The cross border M&A specialist is the third corporate partner to have departed in the last year following the moves of Karan Dinamani and Stephen Lloyd, global head of corporate, who both joined Allen & Overy albeit at different times.

Elsewhere in the City EY (formerly Ernst & Young) continued its growth strategy in the legal sphere with the hire of finance partner Matthew Kellett. Formerly head of finance at Berwin Leighton Paisner Kellett will join the team in September. EY has already hired former Addlestone Goddard lawyer Phillip Goodstone this year. The ‘big four’ accountancy outfit is in the process of applying for an ABS (alternative business structure) license, which will allow its legal arm to function independently.

Other UK moves included WHITE & CASE’S capture of Maclay Murray & Spens banking partner Colin Harley; DLA PIPER’S acquisition of private equity specialist Tim Wright from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin; and MCGUIREWOODS’ addition of restructuring and insolvency partner Simon Neilson-Clark.

The past four weeks have been relatively quiet across the Middle East region on the lateral hire front with one notable exception. KING & SPALDING welcomed back a familiar face, recruiting Iraqi outfit Confluent Law Group’s managing partner Zaid Al-Farisi. A former counsel in the US firm’s New York and Riyadh offices, Al-Farisi will join the finance practice working across the Dubai and Riyadh offices.

International firm NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT recruited a new director for its South African competition practice. Mark Griffiths joined the firm from an in-house role with Barclays Africa Group.

Also in South Africa, international firm CLYDE & CO has announced it will enter the market with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The confirmed team includes five lawyers from Linklaters ally Webber Wentzel, though there are plans to increase this figure prior to the launch. Initially the focus of the work will be dispute resolution and insurance but there are plans to expand this practice to include trade and infrastructure.