WFW reveals half-year results as management duo extend their reign

Watson Farley & Williams has re-elected its co-managing partners for a further five years, with the firm also revealing its half-year results for 2018/19.

London-based Chris Lowe and Hamburg’s Lothar Wegener first took up the post in 2014 and will now increase their reign by five years taking them until 2024.

Lowe said: “We are energised and enthused at the prospect of a further term. Our re-election represents a strong commitment by the firm to its investment culture together with the ambition to achieve sustainable ‘quality growth’ for our ‘services into sector’ strategy”.”

Wegener added: “Looking forward, with productivity having remained constant and a strong pipeline of work currently in progress, we are well placed to meet our planned annual growth target of at least 5%”.

Their re-appointment comes as the firm’s revealed its half-year revenue figure for 2018/19 of £85.9m. This puts it at the same level as last year on a like-for-like basis, but represents a 65 per cent revenue increase on the firm’s 2013 half year results (prior to Lowe and Wegener’s appointments.) Actual fees billed for the period were £74.6m as compared to £76.1m for the same period in 2017/18.

Today, WFW announced it had hired Ince & Co’s Greek law dispute resolution head in Greece, George Iatridis, making him the third new joiner from the firm in the region. Former Ince & Co Piraeus partners Antonis Lagadianos and Evangelos Catsambas joined WFW Athens this month.

These are the latest leavers from Ince ahead of its takeover by listed firm Gordon Dadds. Other departures include Ince’s London head Andrew Jameson, Singapore managing partner John Simpson who joined Stephenson Harwood and offshore finance partner Martin Brown. Hong Kong-based Asia head of structured finance Balbir Bindra has also left the firm.

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The speed read: why KWM still draws in the readers, private equity moves and legal ops innovation

“No-one’s interested in KWM any more,” we’re confidently told by, er… lots of former KWM partners.

This comes as news to us, as our analysis of what happened to the trainees who had to be rescued from the smoking ruins of King & Wood Mallesons’ UK operation is our most-read article of the month to date, and is on course to be in the top 20 most-read for the whole year. Partners who slunked out of the firm during the End Times may want to put it all behind them, but the profession hasn’t forgotten. Check out our story for infographics and a pithy description from an ex-trainee of what KWM’s final Christmas party was like.

Another trainee-related development was also popular with our readers this week – the news that Norton Rose Fulbright will be launching a ‘legal ops training contract’. It won’t lead to qualification as a lawyer but it will pay high-quality graduates a hefty starting salary to learn about topics such as pricing, legal project management and resource management. One of the trends of 2018 has been law firms thinking about the training they can provide beyond the traditional training contract and this is another example.

Sticking with legal operations, our long read this week focused on legal ops managers from Ocado, John Lewis and Schroders, explaining what they do and how they are transforming their businesses. Only a few years ago, this stuff was considered a feature typical of the American legal sector, with little reflection elsewhere around the world. But over time, with severe budget constraints and the growing necessity of improving processes to make them both efficient and cost-effective, UK and European companies have caught on.

Finally, back in November the Speed Read notified you of a growing trend: infrastructure private equity partners on the move. Lo and behold, yet more of this rare breed are switching firms, this time from Baker McKenzie to Shearman & Sterling in London.

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2018 was dominated by #MeToo: it’s unedifying to see seven City firms trying to pretend it never happened

When Deloitte announced it had fired 20 partners over a four-year period for inappropriate behaviour it was praised on all sides for its open approach. The biggest City law firms, however, are trying to close down the discussion, but The Lawyer isn’t going to collude with them in their efforts to duck the biggest issue […]

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Sidley Austin stays loyal to Chicago in partner promotions

Sidley Austin has announced its partner promotions for the New Year, making up 30 partners worldwide.

While this is a big increase on the 19 partners elected last year, the firm stayed cautious in London, promoting just one. Lyndsey Laverack will become a partner in the M&A and private equity group in London. She has been at the firm for nearly seven years, having previously worked at Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May, where she trained.

Last year, the firm did not promote anyone in London. Similarly in the 2017 and 2016 rounds one partner was promoted for each. This is fairly consistent, as only two were made up in 2015 out of 32 partners worldwide.

The majority of the new partners, 13 out of 30, hail from the the Chicago office, which is the firm’s headquarters. Six were promoted in New York, while there was also a sole Asia promotion in Singapore. This is the firm’s first promotion in Singapore since 2013.

This round presents a clear commitment to growing the litigation practice, with a third of the promotions falling in that practice.

Sidley Austin experienced top-level change in London this year, with the departure of managing partner Matthew Dening, who returned to Baker McKenzie. Dening was replaced by Tom Thesing, a partner who previously shared his time between Chicago and London.

As Sidley’s London head, Dening oversaw a period of rapid expansion in Sidley’s London office. In 2016 the firm took a six-lawyer team from Kirkland & Ellis to set up its City private equity practice. This included partners Christian Iwasko, Erik Dahl, Fatema Orjela, Bryan Robson, Sava Savov and Oliver Currall.

Europe

  • Lyndsey Laverack, M&A and private equity, London

Americas

  • Rachel Straus, litigation, Century City
  • Jonathan Blackburn, M&A and private equity, Chicago
  • Stephanie Dobecki, insurance, Chicago
  • Lauren Gallagher, Tax, employee benefits and executive compensation, Chicago
  • Steven Horowitz, IP litigation, Chicago
  • Kelly Lazaroff, global finance, Chicago
  • Nathaniel Love, IP litigation, Chicago
  • Donielle McCutcheon, healthcare and FDA, Chicago
  • Michelle Ramirez, litigation, Chicago
  • Megan Roberts, global finance, Chicago
  • Simon Saddleton, investment funds, Chicago
  • Richard Silverman, Tax, employee benefits and executive compensation, Chicago
  • Brent Steele, M&A and private equity, Chicago
  • Chad Vance, insurance, Chicago
  • Banks Bruce, global finance, Dallas
  • Zackary Pullin, tax, employee benefits and executive compensation, Houston
  • Ayo K. Badejo, M&A and private equity, New York
  • Melissa Colón-Bosolet, litigation, New York
  • Kate L. Lashley, regulatory and enforcement, New York
  • Dana C. MacGrath, litigation, New York
  • William Mahouski, capital markets, New York
  • Alexi M. Poretz, insurance, New York
  • Matthew Dolan, litigation, Palo Alto
  • Kevin Rubino, litigation, San Francisco
  • Scott Border, IP litigation, Washington, DC
  • Joshua J. Fougere, litigation, Washington, DC
  • Deepti A. Kulkarni, healthcare and FDA, Washington, DC
  • Arif S. Noorani, healthcare and FDA, Washington, DC

Asia

  • Ankit Kashyap, capital markets, Singapore

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Tech start-up gets cash injection from Clifford Chance and Latham

Reynen Court, the platform claiming to be a “one-stop” tech solution for the legal industry, has completed its first series A investment round, attracting cash from two of its biggest law firm backers. The heavyweight firms joined Prins H LLC, an investment vehicle set up by the platform’s founder and CEO Andrew Klein to provide […]

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Career clinic: I’m too busy to look for a new job but want a change. How can I find time?

“I’m a 2PQE working at a top commercial firm. I want to leave but I’m working so hard I don’t have time to find a new job and don’t want to quit before I’ve found something. What should I do?”

Atkinson: “Break what you need to do into small chunks”

Kathy Atkinson, legal director, Kettle Foods

You have my sympathies as it’s difficult to find time for anything when you’re working all hours and it is such a pressured environment that, even when you’re not working, you have little head space left over.

I agree with your view that resigning before you have found anything else is a risky strategy. You never know how long it’s going to take to find a new job. If you end up being out of work for a few months, you’ve then got a gap on your CV that needs explanation.

So the short answer is that if you want to look for another job then you’re going to have to find the time from somewhere.

Break what you need to do down into small chunks and set yourself goals which will be more achievable in small amounts of time. For example, in week one set about updating your CV. You don’t have to do it all in one stint. If it’s a while since you last looked at it and there is a fair bit of updating needed, just spend 10 minutes at a time on it first thing in the morning before you get on with the rest of your to-do list. Over a few days, that may well be enough to get the job done.

Then, in week two, you can do a bit of research as to which would be the best recruitment agencies for the type of work you’re after. In week three, contact the first agency on your list, and so on.

It may take a few weeks for you to really feel like you’re making progress, but each step is a necessary one.

You also need to think about whether you are using your lack of time as a reason to put off doing something which can feel like quite a bold and definitive step. If this is the case, breaking it down into more manageable tasks will also help you overcome this feeling, because no single step will ever feel quite so scary or like there is no going back. Good luck.


Elaine Hutton, associate general counsel, JUUL Labs gives advice for career clinic on find time job search
Hutton: “Set aside 30 minutes each day”

Elaine Hutton, associate general counsel, JUUL Labs 

Set aside 30 minutes each day to really focus on your exit strategy. Begin by updating your CV (week one), updating your LinkedIn profile (week two), contacting recruitment agents (week three), meeting agents (weeks four to eight).

By week 10, you should hopefully be seeing some traction with interviews. Remember, it’s generally easier to find a job when you’re in a job and that you also have more negotiating power. If all else fails and you resign, you could consider taking a temporary job, for example through Lawyers on Demand or a similar ‘freelance lawyering’ model, as you don’t have to rush into taking the first job offer that comes just because you’re desperate to leave your current role.


Kathryn Higgs, executive coach and lawyer gives advice for career clinic on find time job search
Higgs: “As your job search builds momentum, it will start not to feel like work anymore”

Kathryn Higgs, executive coach and lawyer

When you are unhappy or unfulfilled in your work, it can act as an extra de-motivator and drain on your energy. So sometimes, it can feel like you don’t have time to run the job search because you’re worn out, but it is actually your current job tricking you into feeling this way.

So here’s my advice. Unless you are really miserable at work, it’s sensible to stay working while you plan your next career move.

Candidates are eminently more attractive if they are still in a role – rightly or wrongly, employers instinctively regard you as more sought after and therefore more worth the winning. But you do need to commit to spending around five hours each week on your search.

You don’t have to find your new job in a week. Instead, start taking small steps. Take a day of your weekend to write your CV. Show it to a few trusted friends for feedback. While they are taking a look at your CV, start asking around for the best recruiters for your area. Next, make appointments to meet those recruiters. Most of them will be happy to meet you around lunchtime or outside core hours.

As your job search builds momentum, it will start not to feel like work anymore. You will likely become excited because you will start seeing the exciting potential out there.


Phil Hagan, director of group legal, Phoenix Group gives advice for career clinic on find time job search
Hagan: “Treat it in the same way you would an important project for your firm”

Phil Hagan, director of group legal, Phoenix Group

This is a perennial issue – too busy to find something else. You’ve got to become more selfish, as it’s up to you to find your new job; no one else is going to do it for you.

Look at your diary and assess where you can carve out time and energy. Treat it in the same way you would a really important project for your commercial firm. What resources do you need? How are you going to ensure you have time to meet or speak to recruiters? Are you going to set aside a specific time each day for job-hunting? Do you need to find somewhere you can make discrete phone calls from?

Be brutal about reducing your workload. Are there any activities that you can reduce to create more time for yourself? Remember, you are in charge of your own career, so give yourself the best chance of being successful by taking charge.

Sure, there will be times when work does dominate, but that should be the exception. Stay focused on the goal of finding a new job and break it down into component parts, e.g. updating your CV; setting up relevant job alerts. And finally, good luck.


Sally Davies, London managing partner, Mayer Brown gives advice for career clinic on find time job search
Davies: “Take a day’s holiday to think about your career plan”

Sally Davies, London managing partner, Mayer Brown

I think you’re prevaricating on this. Surely you have time to consider this at a weekend? I’d try to aim for a time when you’re finishing or have finished a piece of work, then take a day’s holiday to think about your career plan. Why do you want to leave? Where do you want to move to? If you know what you want to do then take another day off or, at a weekend, work on your CV and reasons why you particularly would like the job you’re considering. Then work out whether it’s best to approach a recruitment consultant or send your CV off directly.

It is very usual for interviews to take place outside office hours so don’t be worried about suggesting this to a potential employer.

Visit The Lawyer’s Career Clinic page

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TLT acts on sale of Edenhall Group to Marshalls

By Andrew Webber

TLT has acted on the sale of Edenhall Group, Britain’s largest independent manufacturer of concrete facing bricks, to listed landscape products manufacturer Marshalls plc.

Marshalls has acquired 100 per cent of the issued share capital of Edenhall Holdings Limited in a strategic acquisition to boost its growth in the new build housing market.

TLT has worked with Edenhall Group for almost twenty years, advising its management team on a range of strategic and day-to-day legal needs. The company was established in 1997 and has grown to a £33m business with 10 manufacturing sites across the UK.

Marshalls has manufacturing sites in the UK and Belgium and overseas offices in the US, Dubai and China, employing around 2,300 people.

The TLT team advised on all legal aspects of the transaction, led by corporate partner Andrew Webber alongside associate James Webb and solicitor Holly Evans (corporate), associate Edward Pitt and solicitor Ellie Bennun (real estate), associate Dave Maton (employment) and associate Lizzie Stone (pensions and incentives).

Andrew Cotton, managing director of Edenhall Group, says: “Joining forces with Marshalls adds real value to our customers and is a significant milestone in the growth of Edenhall.

“I couldn’t be happier with the support provided over the years by Andrew and the team at TLT – they understand our business and what’s important to us. Throughout this transaction, James and Holly have been readily available and worked incredibly hard to deliver the deal on time – they were impressive from beginning to end.”

Andrew Webber, partner at TLT, says: “Having worked with Andy and the team for a long time, it was a pleasure for us to be involved in this next stage of the company’s growth.

“The market for strategic acquisitions in key sectors such as the industrials market remains strong and we are looking forward to supporting a growing number of management teams and acquirers on their growth plans in the months ahead.”

TLT is seeing continued M&A activity in the industrials sector, having recently acted on the sale of minerals company Francis Flower to Sweden’s state-owned LKAB Minerals.

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TLT completes London acquisition for Savills

By John Wood

The deal will see the global real estate services provider add weight to its residential and commercial portfolios in London and accelerate its UK growth strategy.

It follows previous acquisitions completed by TLT for Savills, including two residential sales, lettings and property management agents in the North West in the last quarter.

The TLT team was led by corporate associate Nina Searle working with corporate solicitor Sarah Bratton-Bishop.

Chris Lee, group legal director at Savills, says: “This is a great opportunity for Savills to continue to expand its presence in central London where we remain the real estate advisor of choice.

“We have been supported by the TLT team on numerous acquisitions over the years and continue to be impressed by their understanding of our business and the UK property market. Nina and Sarah were particularly impressive on this transaction working seamlessly with the Savills in-house team.  Nina has a real understanding of how we want to work and that key to any transaction for Savills, is the relationship we want to build with the teams that join us.”

John Wood, partner and head of corporate at TLT, says: “Savills has a strong track record of growth supported by acquisition; Currell is another great commercial and cultural fit for the company, complementing their existing portfolio. We are delighted to be supporting Savills once again with its growth across the UK.”

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Schoenherr advises Wieland Ventures on acquisition of stake in UrbanGold

By Florian Kusznier, Helen Nassey

Schoenherr has advised Wieland Ventures GmbH (Wieland) on the acquisition of a 22.1 % stake in UrbanGold GmbH (UrbanGold), an innovative start-up that developed a technology to recycle valuable metals from electrical and electronic waste. The terms and conditions of the transaction remain confidential.

UrbanGold was founded in 2014 as a start-up and spin off from Mettop GmbH. In recent years, the company has gained important customers in this field and has established a partnership with a plant engineering company that implements UrbanGold’s concepts as a turnkey solution. Wieland will play an important role in further developing and expanding the company.

With this investment, Wieland is continuing its strategy of further improving the sustainability of copper, in order to also enhance the attractiveness of their customers’ products in their respective markets.

The Wieland Group is a worldwide leading provider of semi-finished products and components made of copper and copper alloy. Currently, Wieland has 15 production sites on three continents. On average Wieland employed approximately 7.000 staff in the 2016/17 business year and distributed approximately 485.000 tons of semi-finished products made of copper and copper alloy.

The Schoenherr team was led by Florian Kusznier (partner, corporate m&a), who was supported by Sigrun Adrian-Waltner (attorney at law, corporate m&a); Julia Wasserburger (attorney at law, corporate m&a); Dominik Hofmarcher (attorney at law, ip, it & life sciences); Hanno Wollmann (partner, eu & competition); and Mariella Friedrich (associate, eu & competition).

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Kinstellar advises Penta Real Estate on the financing of Sky Park Residence in Bratislava

December 2018 – Kinstellar has recently advised Penta Real Estate in relation to a EUR 110 million syndicated club loan for the construction of Sky Park Residence in Bratislava—the first syndicated club financing for a residential project in Slovakia. The club was led by Tatra banka.

Sky Park is a unique multi-purpose development project designed by world-renowned architectural studio Zaha Hadid Architects. The project is being developed at a former industrial zone in Bratislava’s city centre and at completion will bring six new high-rise buildings to the Bratislava real estate market. The first phase, which is the subject of the financing deal, consists of three 30-storey residential towers offering up to 800 apartments and 2,000 m2 of high-quality amenities.

“We are delighted with the level of trust in our project. Sky Park is currently one of the most important Penta projects, not only due to the size of the investment, but also due to the overall significance for our capital city,“says Juraj Nevolník, managing director at Penta Real Estate.

The Kinstellar team in Bratislava consisted of Vladimír Polička (Managing Associate) and Dominika Bajzáthová (Senior Associate).

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