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Akin Gump Grows Dallas Corporate Team with Addition of Transactional-Focused Partner Duo

(Dallas) – Akin Gump today announced the expansion of its corporate team in Dallas with the addition of partners Ryan Cox and Eric Williams. Both Mr. Cox and Mr. Williams join Akin Gump from Haynes and Boone, where Mr. Cox previously served as co-head of the firm’s capital markets and securities practice, and Mr. Williams was head of its M&A practice.

Mr. Cox focuses on representing issuers and investors in public and private securities offerings, M&A transactions, recapitalizations and restructurings, in addition to providing advice on general corporate, governance and compliance matters. Mr. Williams counsels corporate and private equity buyers in a variety of M&A transactions, including distressed deals in the bankruptcy context.

“Building on the strengths of our corporate group in Dallas has been a strategic priority for us,” stated Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “Ryan and Eric’s experience and focus perfectly complement our team and align very well with the needs of our clients in Dallas and the broader national market. I’m thrilled to welcome them to Akin Gump.”

Added Jeffrey Kochian, co-chair of Akin Gump’s firmwide corporate practice, “Eric and Ryan bring tremendous track records advising public companies and private equity funds in all manner of transactions. This includes deep experience in areas that are key to us and our clients, including LBOs, distressed investments and acquisitions, and secondary fund transactions. They are phenomenal lawyers and will make great additions to our team.”

Mr. Williams has developed significant experience in advising on M&A transactions for clients in the health care, infrastructure, manufacturing, retail and TMT spaces, among others. Mr. Cox has advised on transactions for a broad spectrum of clients, including those in the TMT, energy and investment management arenas.

“Akin Gump offers both deep roots in the Dallas and Texas markets as well as an exceptional national platform from which I can continue to grow my practice,” stated Mr. Cox. “Having had the opportunity to handle deals across the table from Akin Gump lawyers in the past, I know firsthand what an outstanding team they are, and I am excited for the opportunity to work alongside my new colleagues.”

Mr. Williams added, “My practice is an ideal fit within Akin Gump’s platform. The ability to join the firm and contribute to the strategic growth of the corporate team and the Dallas office is a wonderful opportunity, and I am thrilled to be here.”

The arrival of Mr. Williams and Mr. Cox follows the promotion to partner in January of two Akin Gump Dallas lawyers: Nicholas Jay Houpt in the corporate practice and Adam Hilkemann in the investment management practice. In 2019, the office also relocated to state-of-the-art space in the Uptown neighborhood of Dallas.

Scott Barnard, partner in charge of the Dallas office, commented, “This is a dynamic time for our Dallas office. Ryan and Eric represent the latest infusion of talent here, and I am very excited about what is to come.”

Mishcon de Reya announces Kevin Gold as Executive Chairperson and James Libson as Managing Partner in leadership changes

Mishcon de Reya today announces that their existing leadership structure will change with the addition of an Executive Chairperson role. Having grown from less than 100 people in 1997 when Kevin Gold first became Managing Partner to over 1,000 people in 2020, the Firm has taken the decision to review the leadership structure and split the current Managing Partner role into two.

The Executive Chairperson will focus on the overall strategic development of the law firm as well as the ancillary businesses in the MDR Group (MDR Cyber, MDR Brand Management, MDR Mayfair and MDR Discover). This will also include addressing the firm’s international strategy and investments. Kevin Gold will take on this role for an initial five year term.  

The Managing Partner will be responsible for the overall operational management of the law firm, including responsibility for delivery against agreed business plans. Department Chairs and the current Directorate will report to the Managing Partner (except when assisting the ancillary businesses). James Libson will take on this role for an initial four year term. Both were uncontested in standing for these roles and so no election was held.

James Libson will continue to act for clients though he will no longer be Chair of the Private department. His successor will be announced in due course.

These changes are effective 10 April 2020.

James Kelly, Ilya Bubel and Peter Alfano join DLA Piper in New York

DLA Piper announced today that James Kelly, Ilya Bubel and Peter Alfano have joined the firm’s New York office. Kelly and Bubel join as partners in the Corporate practice, and Alfano joins as a partner in the Finance practice.

Kelly, who will serve as head of the firm’s New York Private Equity practice, represents private equity funds in all aspects of their investments activities. This includes primary and secondary leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, divestitures and restructurings. He also regularly represents public and private operating companies across a variety of industries, including the portfolio companies of his private equity fund clients, for which he handles a wide range of matters.

Bubel represents private equity funds and other financial investors in connection with transactional matters across all stages of the investment lifecycle, including leveraged buyouts, co-investments and other minority investments. He also represents public and private companies in a range of complex business transactions including acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and other business combination and recapitalization transactions.

Alfano represents private equity sponsors, corporations and other entities in domestic and cross-border finance transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, corporate financings, recapitalizations and asset-based lending transactions. He has extensive experience in senior secured, first and second lien, mezzanine, and asset-based financings across several industries, including manufacturing, alcoholic beverages, packaging, healthcare and media. 

“The addition of this team increases our share of the middle-market private equity space,” said Joe Alexander, global co-chair of DLA Piper’s Corporate and Private Equity practices. “Their transactional skills will augment the firm’s global corporate platform and will enhance our capabilities in the New York market.”

“As we continue to expand our Finance capabilities in New York and firmwide, the addition of Peter, as well as the complementary practices of James and Ilya, will be advantageous to our clients operating in a range of sectors,” said John Cusack, global co-chair and US chair of DLA Piper’s Finance practice. “This group brings deep experience handling sophisticated transactions, and we are pleased to welcome them to the firm.”

“The addition of James, Ilya and Peter will expand our service offering and help us meet the increased transactional demands of clients, solidifying our position as a leader in the middle-market private equity space in New York and across the country,” said Frank Ryan, incoming US chair of the firm.

Kelly received his J.D from Syracuse University College of Law and his B.A. from the University of Washington. Bubel received his J.D. from Fordham School of Law, his B.A. from Tufts University and his LL.M. from the University of Paris II: Pantheon-Assas. Alfano received his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law and his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

DLA Piper Canada significantly expands Startups, Emerging Companies and ‎Technology practice

With the addition of six new lawyers to our Vancouver office since the beginning of 2020, DLA Piper ‎Canada has significantly expanded upon its capabilities in the Startups, Emerging Companies and ‎Technology practice.

DLA Piper works with many of the world’s leading startups and emerging companies, offering advice ‎from corporate transactions to IP protection, commercial contracts to company structuring and ‎formation, and including regulatory compliance, advocacy and litigation, and employment matters. The ‎additions add to an already significant roster of Canadian lawyers in our Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal offices and across a global DLA Piper platform, which includes more than 600 lawyers dedicated to Emerging Growth and Venture Capital, Intellectual Property, and ‎Technology and Sourcing.‎

New Partners Ryan Black and Mike Reid have been appointed to serve as the Canadian Co-Chairs of the Startups, Emerging Companies and Technology practice. Their considerable experience acting on some of British Columbia’s largest technology transactions and ‎venture exits, in addition to their expertise in technology-related corporate law, have added tremendous ‎depth to the group and allows them to effectively and efficiently serve companies who create, are ‎enabled by, emerging technology.‎  With the additions of Morgan McDonald, Tyson Gratton, Maneesha Dakha and Becky Rock, DLA Piper Canada has augmented its already impressive level of expertise in all legal components ‎related to emerging businesses and technology companies across sectors, including artificial ‎intelligence, blockchain, online platforms, social media, life science, e-commerce, fintech, retail, ‎cannabis and video games and entertainment.‎

“DLA Piper Canada is consistently looking to expand upon our depth of talented lawyers in order to better support our clients in all stages of their businesses. The recent additions to our Vancouver office offer a unique opportunity for exponential growth in the provision of key legal services to a roster of clients in the most innovative and forward looking sectors,” said Robert Seidel, Q.C., Canada Managing Partner. “We look forward to the integration of this exciting new group of lawyers into our local and global teams and to seeing what they can accomplish together.” 

Carole Bellis joins DLA Piper’s Corporate practice in Northern California

DLA Piper announced today that Carole Bellis has joined the firm’s Corporate practice as a partner in Northern California, based in the Silicon Valley office. 

Bellis advises clients on the organization, financing, acquisition and governance of privately held, emerging growth companies. She also represents investors in private company securities transactions and acquirers of privately held companies. Her clients include companies in the medical device, biotechnology, healthcare, software and technology industries.

“Carole brings a diverse skillset and valuable experience advising companies across a range of important sectors. Her understanding of the challenges faced by emerging growth companies in the technology, healthcare and medical device industries, among others, will be a tremendous benefit to clients,” said Andrew Gilbert, global co-chair of DLA Piper’s Life Sciences sector.

“The addition of Carole will bolster our life sciences and technology capabilities in Northern California, where we are seeing high demand for knowledgeable counsel, helping us meet the transactional needs of clients here and across the country,” said Victoria Lee, the firm’s regional managing partner for Northern California, managing partner of the Silicon Valley office and global co-chair of the Technology sector.

Bellis received her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law and her B.S.B.A. from Florida State University.

King & Wood Mallesons strengthens London partnership with the promotion of Sam Coleman and Wilson Antoon

King & Wood Mallesons has announced that Tax Counsel Sam Coleman and International Arbitration specialist Wilson Antoon, will be promoted to Partner effective January 1, 2020.

Sam Coleman has over 18 years’ experience advising on a broad range of UK and cross-border tax matters for public and private companies, private equity houses and management teams across a number of sectors.  Sam has deep experience of corporate mergers, acquisitions and reorganisations, structured finance, equity incentive arrangements, employment taxation, tax disputes, private equity structuring and the tax aspects of real estate transactions. 

Commenting on Sam’s appointment, Wang Rongkang, Managing Partner of KWM EUME said:

“The breadth of Sam’s experience makes her a valuable asset to our London partnership. I have no doubt that Sam will continue to play a key role in the development and advancement of the KWM London office.”

Wilson has worked at the firm for 11 years, having joined the firm’s Sydney office in 2008 and relocating to the London office in 2014.

Throughout his career, Wilson has built a strong market profile in International Arbitration, advising on disputes arising out of foreign investment and financial services.

Wilson Antoon is a highly able lawyer, whose legal expertise has been recognized by the Legal 500 in both 2019 and 2020. He has acted as advisor and advocate in high-profile, complex disputes worth hundreds of millions of US dollars that have regularly been reported on in the legal press.

Darren Roiser, London Managing Partner expressed his congratulations:

“I am delighted to welcome Wilson to the KWM London partnership. Wilson is a great technical lawyer, highly regarded by his clients and colleagues and his promotion will further strengthen our Dispute Resolution team.”

KWM develops London office with the promotion of Jack Tsang and James McKenzie to Of Counsel

King & Wood Mallesons has announced that Managing Associates, Jack Tsang and James McKenzie have been promoted to Of Counsel, effective 1 January 2020. 

Jack is qualified in England & Wales, Australia and Hong Kong SAR and is an M&A and China/UK cross border transaction specialist who plays an integral role in the London office’s cross border liaison with KWM Partners in China and the wider APAC region. Jack has been heavily involved in the London office’s growth in the Education sector and has worked on a number of international school franchising deals, including most recently the opening of Prince Charles’ alma mater, Gordonstoun School, in China

Wang Rongkang, EUME Managing Partner expressed his congratulations:

“We warmly welcome Jack’s appointment as Of Counsel in our London office. Jack is highly regarded by colleagues and clients and has proven himself to be a valuable asset to our team.”

Dual qualified in Hong Kong and Australia, James McKenzie joins from the firm’s Hong Kong office having spent the last 6 months on secondment in London.  James is an international arbitration, construction law and commercial litigation specialist with broad experience advising on complex disputes under a variety of arbitral rules in various Asian and European countries. James brings to the London practice particular sector expertise in infrastructure, construction and energy disputes. 

Commenting on James’ promotion, Darren Roiser, London Managing Partner said:

“James is an excellent top quality lawyer and we are thrilled to announce his promotion to Of Counsel.”

Proskauer Expands Real Estate Practice into Boston with the Addition of Partners Keith Barnett, Sean Boulger and Robert Burke

International law firm Proskauer announced today the addition of a real estate team in Boston led by partners Keith Barnett and Sean Boulger and including tax partner Robert Burke.

This nationally esteemed team has a practice that focuses on a wide range of real estate transactions and development projects including joint ventures, acquisitions/dispositions, developments, leases and financing transactions across a broad spectrum of real estate classes. They counsel investors, developers, operators, retailers, REITs, commercial banks, landlords and tenants and pension fund advisors.  

“The growth of our real estate practice is a strategic priority for the Firm, and we are excited to expand our offering in Boston and nationwide,” said Steven Ellis, Chair of the Firm. “This team will be of great value to a wide range of clients who prioritize this important sector.”

  • Barnett advises local, national and international clients in all aspects of commercial real estate, including real estate finance, development, acquisitions, sales and leasing. He counsels clients on a diverse range of legal and business real estate matters for clients across industries. He received his J.D. from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Harvard.  
  • Boulger focuses his practice on a broad range of real estate transactions and development projects. He represents numerous investors, developers and operators in joint ventures, acquisitions, developments, leases and financing transactions across a broad spectrum of real estate asset classes. He received his J.D. and B.A. from Harvard.
  • Burke devotes a majority of his practice to issues involving the taxation of partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, REITS and other entities treated as “pass-through” entities. He is an authority in structuring and formation of investment funds and complex commercial joint ventures and similar arrangements. He received his J.D. from Cornell and his B.A. from Williams College.

“We are delighted to welcome Keith, Sean and Rob to the Firm,” said Ron Sernau, co-head of Proskauer’s Real Estate Department. “The depth and breadth of their experience across the real estate spectrum make them tremendous assets to our clients and our team.”

Proskauer’s market-leading Real Estate team has over 80 lawyers in the U.S., Europe and Asia who handle complex real estate transactions worldwide for a broad spectrum of clients, including sovereign wealth funds, institutional and specialty lenders, developers, private equity real estate funds, investment banks, pension funds, domestic and foreign investors, REITs, sports venue owners and corporate real estate owners. We operate a powerhouse leasing practice and advise on major retail and office lease transactions across the U.S., and we represent national and regional real estate owners and developers in all stages of the development and construction process. We are consistently top-ranked by leading industry publications and are one of the few firms to be recognized for both our traditional and corporate real estate work. We have also been repeatedly recognized for our hospitality sector expertise and were named “Hospitality Group of the Year” by Law360 in 2018 and 2019.

Recent headline representations include Leisure Acquisition Corp.’s $1.115 billion merger with Gateway Casinos & Entertainment; The Coca-Cola Company’s $907 million sale of 711 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, also known as the “Coca-Cola Building”; and Accor’s $451 million sale of a 5% stake in Huazhu Group Limited.

Proskauer’s Boston office, the largest office outside of our New York headquarters, is a hub for global innovation. We work with clients that are revolutionizing some of the most dynamic sectors. Leading asset managers, tech companies, life sciences companies and other industry-redefining organizations count on our top-tier team to help them close deals, form funds, invent new products and overcome obstacles to success.

Three DLA Piper Canada lawyers appointed Queen’s Counsel in Alberta

Congratulations to Jennifer Cleall, Karen Fellowes and Donald Wilson, three of a select group of lawyers to receive the important designation of Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) in Alberta in 2020.

The Q.C. designation is conferred on members of the legal profession to recognize their distinguished legal service and expertise in a particular area of law. The successful candidates will also demonstrate professional integrity, good character, and a superior contribution to the life of the community.

“It is a great honour for these three exceptional professionals and the firm that they have received this designation and is reflective of not only their outstanding contributions to the legal profession but of their tireless dedication to their clients and their communities,” said Robert Seidel, Q.C., Canada Managing Partner.

Jennifer Cleall, a partner in the firm’s Edmonton office, has 20 years’ experience practising business law. She is a trusted advisor to clients in Canada and beyond, from a wide-range of sectors, who are able to draw on her legal expertise across multiple areas of law to ensure that their legal and strategic needs are met with thoughtful and valuable advice. In 2009, Jennifer was recognized with the prestigious Lexpert Rising Star: Leading Lawyer Under 40 ‎award. Outside her busy practice, Jennifer is actively involved in the community with a particular interest in charitable and political endeavours. She is a proud Mom, always on the go with her three children. ‎

Karen Fellowes, Counsel in the Calgary office, is an experienced insolvency and litigation lawyer who acts for all stakeholders in restructurings, receiverships, CCAA proceedings, bankruptcies and creditor/debtor matters. Karen was recently elected to the Executive Board of the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC). Karen is a frequent presenter at conferences, a mentor, a teacher and writer on insolvency law and written advocacy, and has won awards for women’s leadership and Pro Bono service.  In 2017, Karen taught women lawyers in Nepal as part of DLA Piper’s New Perimeter project, and in 2019, Karen was appointed Board President of Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA).  Donald Wilson, Partner at the firm’s Edmonton office, has extensive experience in civil and administrative litigation at the hearing level, trial and appellate levels, with a particular expertise in labour, employment, environmental, administrative, intellectual property, insurance and products liability litigation. Donald has assisted high profile clients on numerous complex, commercial litigation matters. He has also been instrumental in assisting solicitors and other in-house lawyers to develop a variety of proactive methods to assist clients in avoiding litigation and in this capacity has prepared a variety of complex risk analyses for corporate clients. Donald has been recognized for his knowledge in the areas of Administrative and Public Law, ‎Alternative Dispute Resolution and Corporate and Commercial Litigation by Best Lawyers in Canada‎ and is Distinguished® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Proskauer Announces Steven M. Ellis as Chair-Elect of the Firm

International law firm Proskauer announced today that Steven M. Ellis, co-chair of the Firm’s market-leading Private Credit Group and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee, has been elected by the partnership to serve as Chair of the Firm commencing at the end of January 2020.

Mr. Ellis will succeed Joseph M. Leccese, who served the maximum possible term of nine years, making him Proskauer’s longest serving chair.

Mr. Ellis has been with the Firm since 2004 and founded the Firm’s Private Credit Group. He said: “I am honored to take on this role and am humbled by the support and encouragement of my partners. Under Joe’s leadership, the Firm has experienced enormous financial success while maintaining its vibrant, entrepreneurial spirit and supportive culture. As we collaborate closely in the years ahead, I look forward to continuing to build on the Firm’s success and relentless focus on client service and talent development.”

Mr. Leccese said: “I am delighted by Steve’s election as chair. We have worked closely together for years. He is a natural leader, a trusted business advisor to many of the most influential executives in the asset management industry, and the right person to continue the Firm’s growth and momentum.”

During Mr. Leccese’s tenure, Proskauer’s profits have nearly doubled. The Firm also has regularly rated near the top of associate and summer associate satisfaction surveys; been widely recognized for its progressive policies for women and diverse lawyers and its desirability as a place to work; elevated its pro bono and CSR programs to core Firm initiatives; and experienced an enormous expansion in its transactional practices and London office.

Proskauer also invested heavily in professional development, including through its long-standing partnership with Columbia Business School to create the “business savvy lawyer” learning and development model for its associates that Mr. Leccese advocated.

Mr. Leccese, 58, maintained his practice throughout his term and has led many of the most significant deals in sports and media over the past decade. He will continue to co-lead the Firm’s renowned Sports Practice.

Mr. Ellis also will continue to maintain his practice and will remain co-chair of the Firm’s Private Credit Group.