Category Archives: Legal

CMS opens office in Hong Kong

International law firm CMS has opened an office in Hong Kong. Following years of previous activity by the CMS International Arbitration Group in Hong Kong and intense preparations, approval was recently received from the Law Society of Hong Kong. This enables the firm to be represented in this location from September 2016. This is the second international office to be opened in 2016, after Tehran in February.

We see huge opportunities for the future throughout the entire South-East Asia region. The obvious success of our offices in Shanghai and Beijing, along with the success of our legal services in the region over many years, gives us every reason to be optimistic. Opening an office in Hong Kong is thus a natural development. Hong Kong itself and especially China and, of course, the entire Asia-Pacific region, have very dynamic economies and are a focal point for international investors.

Hubertus Kolster, Managing Partner, CMS Germany

“We see huge opportunities for the future throughout the entire South-East Asia region. The obvious success of our offices in Shanghai and Beijing, along with the success of our legal services in the region over many years, gives us every reason to be optimistic. Opening an office in Hong Kong is thus a natural development,” said Hubertus Kolster, Managing Partner, CMS Germany. “Hong Kong itself and especially China and, of course, the entire Asia-Pacific region, have very dynamic economies and are a focal point for international investors.”

The firm has also been advising on the growing Chinese investments in other countries for a number of years now. Many of the strongest Chinese companies with promising international strategies for future growth are located in Hong Kong and the neighbouring province of Guangdong.

Cornelius Brandi, Executive Chairman of CMS, commented, “We look for markets that offer the greatest business potential for us. Geographic expansion is often a part of our clients’ growth strategy. So, we move primarily into regions where we expect that there will be future opportunities for them.”

Nicolas Wiegand, a partner in the CMS International Arbitration Group and head of the Hong Kong office, said, “Setting up our own office in Hong Kong will allow us to provide effective local support to clients from Europe, China, the Asia-Pacific region and the US. As such, we are responding to growing business volumes and meeting the need for client proximity and cross-border advice.”

The Hong Kong office will initially focus on dispute resolution and mergers and acquisitions. Hong Kong has long since been one of the key global arbitration locations and attracts clients from all over the world who use Hong Kong as a dispute resolution hub. As a neutral, independent and reliable location with a stable legal system, Hong Kong, in particular, has become indispensable for handling disputes connected with China. Consolidating the firm’s expertise in Hong Kong is therefore a logical step for CMS as a leading law firm for international arbitration, with the move being driven and supported by the CMS International Arbitration Group.

The services offered by the Hong Kong office will be gradually extended, according to Wiegand. CMS intends to establish a Banking & Finance practice in the office in 2017, for example. However, clients already have access to the full range of services across CMS in more than 60 offices worldwide.

Nicolas Wiegand has been advising German, Chinese and international clients for many years in Hong Kong, as well as assisting companies from the region requiring support for their activities in Europe and beyond. He has particularly extensive experience with arbitration proceedings in or connected with Hong Kong, China, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. Wiegand also frequently acts as an arbitrator in the region, in addition to representing clients. He is a member of numerous arbitration panels, including the panel of arbitrators at the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center (HKIAC), the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC). He delivers trainings on arbitration law for the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center.

The new CMS office enjoys a prime location in the Central district of Hong Kong Island. CMS occupies the entire 27th floor of an office building on Queen’s Road Central. Alongside Nicolas Wiegand, the local CMS team will include other German as well as Chinese and Russian lawyers. Additionally, a lawyer who previously worked not only for other major law firms, including in Hong Kong and Singapore, but also for the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, has been hired. She brings with her particularly extensive experience in investment-related disputes. The entire team is thoroughly acquainted with the conditions and structures in Hong Kong and Asia. As well as speaking Mandarin and English, the team also includes German, French, Russian and Norwegian speakers.

Former US House Speaker John Boehner to Join Squire Patton Boggs

Former US House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is joining Squire Patton Boggs, the firm’s chairman and global CEO Mark Ruehlmann announced today.

“Squire Patton Boggs has one of most established and well-recognized public policy practices in the world, integrating legal counsel with regulatory insight, government relations and strategic advocacy,” Ruehlmann said.  “With Speaker Boehner joining our team, we’re better positioned than ever to grow our brand throughout the world and to fully capitalize on our integrated global platform.”

“Our mission is to provide insight for clients throughout the world at the point where law, business and government meet,” said Steve Mahon, Squire Patton Boggs’ global managing partner.  “With his reputation and combined experience in both business and government, there are few people better equipped than Speaker Boehner to help us take things to the next level and bring our services to clients around the world.”

Boehner, a former small businessman now returning to his private sector roots, will not lobby in his new role with Squire Patton Boggs.  Instead, he will serve as a strategic advisor to clients in the US and abroad, and will focus on global business development.

“I left the private sector and got into public service decades ago because I wanted to help remove government barriers to economic growth and job creation, and that’s still the mission that drives me,” said Boehner.  “My role with Squire Patton Boggs will give me the opportunity to engage with leaders in business and government throughout the world and help them work through the challenges they face, as part of a world-class team.” 

Longtime Boehner aides John Criscuolo and Amy Lozupone will also be joining the firm with the former Speaker, joining a team at Squire Patton Boggs that includes former Boehner deputy chief of staff Dave Schnittger and policy advisor Natasha Hammond.

Squire Patton Boggs’ multidisciplinary team includes more than 1,500 lawyers in 46 offices in 21 countries on five continents, providing unrivalled access to expertise, guidance and connections.  

Dechert Bolsters Global Private Equity and Finance Practices with London Hires

Dechert LLP, a global law firm, announced today that John Markland and Ross Allardice have joined Dechert as partners in London. Markland was the founding partner of the London finance practice at Kirkland & Ellis and Allardice was a corporate private equity partner at White & Case.

“Both partners make terrific additions to Dechert’s internationally recognized private equity and global finance practices,” said Dechert CEO Henry Nassau.

“John and Ross are highly-respected practitioners with deep expertise and impressive track records advising on major private equity transactions throughout Europe,” added Dechert global corporate and securities chair Mark Thierfelder.

Markland, who focuses his practice on acquisition finance, debt restructurings and other event-driven finance transactions, is consistently recognized as a top finance lawyer by the most prominent legal directories, including Chambers USA, Chambers Europe, Chambers Global, IFLR1000 and The Legal 500. Over the course of his approximately 25 year career, he has led teams and advised on the financing aspects of over 100 transactions for some of the most respected private equity firms worldwide.

Allardice, who previously worked with Markland when they were both at Kirkland & Ellis, also bolsters Dechert’s global private equity and finance practices. Allardice advises private equity houses and financial sponsor clients on all forms of leveraged M&A, portfolio company representation and restructuring matters. Recognized for Private Equity Buyouts by Chambers UK and named an “Emerging Leader” by The M&A Advisor, Allardice has advised on numerous private equity transactions for leading private equity firms.

Markland and Allardice mark the latest in a series of high-profile lateral partners to move to Dechert in London and join the firm’s expanding global corporate and finance platforms. Over the past year, Laurent Faugerolas, formerly a corporate partner with Weil Gotshal Manges, and Paul Fleming, a bankruptcy partner from DLA Piper joined the firm. Also confirmed recently, Philip Butler and David Miles will join the firm’s global finance team from DLA Piper in early December.

“The London office is expanding and adding some very dynamic partners,” said Camille Abousleiman, who is chair of the firm’s London office management committee. “With the addition of John and Ross as a team, we have significantly enhanced our private equity and global finance offerings both in London and on the continent.”

DLA Piper makes management changes in Germany

DLA Piper has appointed Dr Konrad Rohde as Co-Country Managing Partner in Germany as of 1 September 2016, working alongside Dr Benjamin Parameswaran. Dr Bernd Borgmann, the previous Co-Managing Partner for Germany, will be passing on his duties and will once again be concentrating exclusively on his casework in the Employment group.

Dr Konrad Rohde advises on national and international tax law and has led the German tax law practice group since 2013. The main focuses of his practice are M&A transactions, restructuring operations, cross-border tax structuring, consultancy during company audits and the management of finance court proceedings as well general advisory services in corporate tax law.

Dr Benjamin Parameswaran is a Corporate partner and, as Co-Managing Partner, has been responsible for leading DLA Piper’s offices in Germany since 2014. He has extensive experience in the fields of M&A, public takeovers and company law and advises both leading multinational corporations as well as medium-sized companies in complex cross-border transactions.

Dr Benjamin Parameswaran commented: “In the last two years, Bernd Borgmann has made a very considerable contribution to the further successful expansion of the German practice of DLA Piper; which was reflected in the nomination for the JUVE Award as Law Firm of the Year and two other nominations. We thank him most sincerely for his commitment.”

“I am greatly looking forward to the challenge of continuing the successful course of DLA Piper as a leading commercial law firm together with Benjamin Parameswaran,“ added Dr Konrad Rohde.

Prominent Private Equity Partner Joins Ropes & Gray in London

Ropes & Gray LLP announced that Helen Croke, formerly a private equity and M&A partner at Travers Smith, joined the firm as a partner in its London office on Oct. 21.

Croke has established herself as one of the leading private equity lawyers in the London market and specialises in UK and international private equity and M&A, including acting for institutional investors, corporates and founders.  She is highly ranked by both Chambers UK and The Legal 500 and was named in The Lawyer – The Hot 100 in 2011. By joining Ropes & Gray’s London private equity team, she will play a substantial role continuing the growth of the firm’s European private equity offering.

Mike Goetz, managing partner, London, said:

“We are delighted Helen is joining us. She will enhance the already very strong team that we have built in London over the past six years. The London office continues to grow, and we have no doubt that Helen will only increase the appeal of our offering to our sophisticated corporate, hedge fund and private equity clients across Europe and globally.”

Croke’s arrival brings the number of London private equity partners to five and enhances Ropes & Gray’s global private equity practice, recognised as a world leader for both transactions and fund formation by Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst, Private Equity International, Chambers and The Legal 500.  The London-based lawyers work in close collaboration with the firm’s global team of 175 private equity lawyers who advise leading large and mid-market clients in multiple industries on every aspect of their largest and most complex global transactions.

The London team has advised a number of funds and corporates on private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital investments and co-investments, and is regularly instructed on the corporate aspects of special situations transactions, advising a number of sophisticated clients looking to deploy capital opportunistically in the current market.

King & Wood Mallesons elects new EUME Senior Partner

It was announced today that King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has elected Frankfurt partner Michael Cziesla as its new EUME Senior Partner. Michael takes up the position with immediate effect and for a term of three years.

Michael is a leading Corporate lawyer, specialising in multi-jurisdictional and cross-border M&A, secondaries, leveraged buyouts, divestments, joint ventures and restructurings. He advises both German and international clients across a range of sectors with an emphasis on regulated industries. Michael is a long-standing Corporate partner of the firm and has worked across all of the firm’s EUME offices, including a six month secondment to the London office. Michael joined in the firm in 2003 and is currently the Managing Partner for KWM Germany.

Commenting on his appointment Michael said, “I care deeply about KWM and am honoured to have been elected EUME Senior Partner. I look forward to leading the region together with Tim Bednall, our new Managing Partner, as we work with our partners and wonderful staff to realise the enormous, untapped potential of this great firm. The opportunity to help drive our firm forward as a challenger, top-tier law firm is one that I relish, and I am grateful for the trust my partners have shown in me.”

Stephen Kon, outgoing EUME Senior Partner, added, “On behalf of the EUME partnership, I congratulate Michael on his appointment as our new Senior Partner. As a long-standing Corporate partner of the firm, he brings a great blend of experience and commitment which the role demands. He is highly-respected and well liked and I believe he will make an outstanding Senior Partner. On a personal note, passing the Senior Partner baton for the first time to a non-London based partner is further testament to our continental European and Middle East practice being at the core of so much of what we are about as a region.”

He continued, “I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of all my partners, to pay tribute to Tim Taylor who also stood for election. Tim is a veteran of our firm and makes an extraordinary contribution, he is due our thanks and appreciation for that and for stepping forward as a candidate. Both Michael and Tim, and indeed all the candidates who have stood for election over the past month, are passionately committed to our firm and approached their candidacy with the very best interests of the firm at heart.”

Tim Bednall, EUME Managing Partner, commented, “Michael will make a wonderful Senior Partner and I am very much looking forward to working with him and our partners to drive the firm forward in the region. He is level headed and collegiate by nature, and has a reputation for clear-thinking and integrity. I am confident we will work well together and, as a team, will lead the region to achieve the kind of success we are striving for.”

Prominent Private Equity Partner Joins Ropes & Gray in London

Ropes & Gray LLP announced that Helen Croke, formerly a private equity and M&A partner at Travers Smith, joined the firm as a partner in its London office on Oct. 21.

Croke has established herself as one of the leading private equity lawyers in the London market and specialises in UK and international private equity and M&A, including acting for institutional investors, corporates and founders.  She is highly ranked by both Chambers UK and The Legal 500 and was named in The Lawyer – The Hot 100 in 2011. By joining Ropes & Gray’s London private equity team, she will play a substantial role continuing the growth of the firm’s European private equity offering.

Mike Goetz, managing partner, London, said:

“We are delighted Helen is joining us. She will enhance the already very strong team that we have built in London over the past six years. The London office continues to grow, and we have no doubt that Helen will only increase the appeal of our offering to our sophisticated corporate, hedge fund and private equity clients across Europe and globally.”

Croke’s arrival brings the number of London private equity partners to five and enhances Ropes & Gray’s global private equity practice, recognised as a world leader for both transactions and fund formation by Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst, Private Equity International, Chambers and The Legal 500.  The London-based lawyers work in close collaboration with the firm’s global team of 175 private equity lawyers who advise leading large and mid-market clients in multiple industries on every aspect of their largest and most complex global transactions.

The London team has advised a number of funds and corporates on private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital investments and co-investments, and is regularly instructed on the corporate aspects of special situations transactions, advising a number of sophisticated clients looking to deploy capital opportunistically in the current market

Norton Rose Fulbright to open in Monaco

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright today announces it is to open an office in Monaco. The firm will provide legal services in the Principality as Norton Rose Fulbright Monaco S.A.M.

The new office will be located in Rue du Gabian, Monaco, and is scheduled to open for business early 2017. It will primarily service the firm’s shipping and finance clients, many of whom are based in or have close connections with Monaco. The office will be headed by Dimitri Sofianopoulos, partner and head of Norton Rose Fulbright Greece, who will divide his time between Greece and Monaco.

Martin Scott, managing partner of Norton Rose Fulbright Europe, Middle East and Asia, commented:
“Our shipping and finance practice is widely regarded as a global leader and, as much of its work is derived from businesses located in the Principality, it makes sense for us to establish a base there from which to provide an enhanced service to our clients.”

Norton Rose Fulbright’s shipping and finance practice advises on the full range of shipping and offshore matters, from complex tax lease structures to anti-competition actions and ship building disputes. The team routinely advises on shipping finance, mergers and acquisitions, competition and regulation, infrastructure, energy and shipping litigation.

The new office in Monaco follows Norton Rose Fulbright’s recent expansion in the US (San Francisco) and Canada (Vancouver).

Linklaters has appointed António Soares as national managing partner for Lisbon.

Linklaters has appointed António Soares as national managing partner for Lisbon. He takes over from Pedro Siza Vieira, head of the banking and projects practice in Lisbon.

António, head of corporate finance in Portugal, joined Linklaters as a partner in 2002 when the firm first established an office in Portugal. His main practice areas include equity and debt capital markets and private and public M&A. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, privatisations, takeover bids and companies’ restructurings, dealing with the most complex transactions, both national and cross border. He will continue to head the Lisbon corporate finance practice, sharing his time between client work and management responsibilities.

Linklaters has a market-leading reputation in Portugal, advising both domestic and international clients on some of the most complex and high profile deals in the market.

Pieter Riemer, Linklaters European Regional Managing Partner, said:

“Pedro has made a tremendous leadership contribution in helping to further enhance our reputation as a leading adviser in connection to cross-border and cross-practice deals to and from Portugal. António’s depth of knowledge and insight make him ideally placed to continue in this work.”

Hogan Lovells Welcomes Leading London Fintech Partner

Revered technology partner John Salmon joins Hogan Lovells corporate practice in London today, 30 August, in a boost to its global Fintech team. He will be an active member of the financial institutions and TMT sectors.

John has been at Pinsent Masons since 1999, most recently in the role of Global Sector Head for Financial Services. He focuses on advising financial institutions on innovative digital projects including IT procurement, outsourcing, cloud, cyber security, and mobile payments. He has 20 years’ experience across the financial institutions and TMT sectors, during which he set-up OUT-LAW.com, the most used law firm website in the world, and has advised high profile clients such as AXA, Royal London, Aviva and Zurich. He has also advised the financial services sector on cutting edge industry-wide projects including on the setting up of TeX to facilitate re-registration of assets on wealth platforms.

Hogan Lovells has a highly regarded regulatory and commercial financial services practice and is particularly active in the Fintech space, announcing a Strategic Partnership with Innovate Finance in November 2015 and launching its Regulatory Accelerator this month. John’s hire both complements and builds on the firm’s market leading reputation. He will focus on areas of increasing importance to financial institutions clients in the tech space such as blockchain, big data, cloud, mobile payments and insuretech.

Commenting on John’s arrival, Rachel Kent, global head of Hogan Lovells’ financial institutions sector, said:

“Technology is an important and constantly changing feature of the financial services market and clients expect up to the minute, innovative advice from the law firms they work with. Hogan Lovells is ideally placed to respond to the evolving landscape, and John’s experience complements perfectly that of our existing regulatory, commercial, and cyber teams”.

John commented:

“I am looking forward to working with the team here in London and globally to continue to build the brand in the Fintech space. Hogan Lovells has a great reputation for innovation and being first to market with solutions, and with so many challenging and constantly changing issues to explore in the financial services sector it is a very exciting time.  We feel that by combining market leading financial services regulatory and commercial lawyers on a global basis with technology specialists operating at the forefront of financial services we have a real opportunity to add value to our clients.”