17 Jun 2021

Appointments: HSF builds in Dubai, Cozen grows in Canada, Hill Dickinson makes up four partners

Round-up also features Squire, DWF, Mills Oakley, Linklaters, Reed Smith, SMPS Legal and Hausfeld

Portrait of Sarosh Mewawalla and Joanne Raisbeck

New HSF recruit Sarosh Mewawalla and Hill Dickinson family law head Joanne Raisbeck

Herbert Smith Freehills underlines Middle East commitment with senior Linklaters hire

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has boosted its project finance capabilities in the Middle East with the appointment of Sarosh Mewawalla as a partner in Dubai. Mewawalla has practiced in the Middle East for more than a decade, advising on large and strategic projects related to infrastructure, power and petrochemicals. 

He joins the firm after nearly 30 years at Linklaters, where he was most recently head of the magic circle firm’s energy, infrastructure and project finance practice for the Middle East. Before that, he spent six years as national managing partner for the United Arab Emirates and led its office opening in Abu Dhabi.

HSF said his appointment played into the recent refresh of its Middle East strategy, which includes a commitment to build out its project finance capability to complement its ‘thriving’ projects practice in the Middle East. 

Middle East managing partner Stuart Paterson said: “The geopolitical importance of the region cannot be overstated and together with its shifting focus on renewable energy, infrastructure development regeneration, it is an exciting time for clients... We will continue to grow in the Middle East and capitalise on the strong pipeline of investment and large-scale projects planned in the region."

Cozen O’Connor hires four-strong contentious law team in Canada

Cozen O’Connor has expanded its Canadian presence with a four-lawyer team from Cassels Brock & Blackwell. The team — joining in Vancouver and Toronto — is made up of shareholders Brigeeta Richdale and Shane Hardy, firm member Peter Henein, and associate Rebecca Sim. 

Hardy and Henein, specialise in IP litigation. During his tenure at Cassels, Hardy advised clients in both contentious proceedings and commercial transactions relating to IP, as well as licensing, enforcement and trademark protection issues. Heinen focuses his practice on IP and entertainment litigation, acting for clients in trademark, copyright and patent disputes in the federal court of Canada and the provincial courts of Ontario and British Columbia. 

Meanwhile, Richdale will step into the role of vice-chair of the firm’s white collar defence and investigations practice group, bringing with her a wealth of experience advising on all aspects of enforcement actions and securities regulatory proceedings and internal investigations. 

Michael J. Heller, Cozen O’Connor’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Our clients have seen a dramatic uptick in international litigation and cross border transactional activities, and we recognize the importance of having a strong local presence to best serve our clients’ needs. Having already established a strong litigation practice in Canada, it was only natural to continue building out our presence.” 

Hill Dickinson praises new partners for rising to Covid-19 challenge

Top 50 UK firm Hill Dickinson has promoted four partners – three in the UK and one in Hong Kong. The new cohort, down by one from last year, includes healthcare advisory lawyer Paul Allerston in Manchester, as well as shipping expert Colin Lavelle and head of family law Joanne Raisbeck, both based in the firm’s Liverpool headquarters

Allerston joined Hill Dickinson in 2015 after roughly two years as a senior solicitor at Hempsons, while Raisbeck joined following a seven-year stint as a senior associate at Pannone in 2012. Lavelle has spent the bulk of his career at Hill Dickinson, including seven years as a legal director and 11 years as a solicitor. 

Rounding out the new partner class is commercial and shipping disputes specialist Edward Liu in Hill Dickinson’s Hong Kong office. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Liu worked as a principal representative for China’s International Chamber of Shipping. 

Peter Jackson, chief executive of Hill Dickinson, said: “The uniquely challenging conditions and uncertainty of the past 15 months could very easily have forestalled career progression. Instead, our people have risen to the challenge magnificently and worked harder than ever to ensure our clients continue to be serviced without interruption”

Squire boosts London financial services team

Squire Patton Boggs has appointed Jonathan Lent as a partner for its financial services practice group in London. Lent joins from Gowling WLG, where he was a partner and co-led the firm’s real estate, finance, healthcare and hotel finance practices.

He focuses on advising banks, debt funds, alternative lenders, investors, developers, listed corporates and private equity funds on real estate finance transactions in the UK and across Europe. Lent has experience providing bespoke debt financing solutions secured on structured real estate investment and development, including operational assets such as hotels, care homes, senior living and student accommodation.

In addition to Lent’s hire, the firm appointed Bradley Silver as a director for its London real estate practice and added senior associate duo Beatrice Sidi and Andrea Zemenides in its financial services practice. All three also join from Gowling WLG. 

The firm has made a number of lateral hires to its financial services practice as of late, adding partner Kate Sherrard from Clifford Chance in Singapore in January and Jennifer Val as of counsel from Thompson Hine in New York in May. 

DWF continues to invest in real estate group; adds government affairs partner

DWF has added to its London real estate team with the hire of Shane Toal from Osborne Clarke, marking the fourth senior real estate hire made by the firm since the start of May. 

Toal joins the firm as a partner and will lead the real estate aspects of the firm’s UK energy group. Other recent appointments to the firm’s real estate practice include partner Andrew Batterton and director Naithan McBride in Leeds, as well as partner Pierre-Nicolas Sanzey in Paris. 

Recently, DWF also added to its legal advisory practice in London with the hire of government affairs expert Maher Ghanma, who joins as a partner in London. 

Ghanma moves to DWF after 12 years as DLA Piper’s head of government affairs for the Middle East region, and brings with him more than two decades of experience in the provision of government affairs and public policy services to executive offices of heads of state, regulators and sovereign wealth funds across the Middle East and Africa. 

He said: "There is growing demand for businesses to manage the politics of their business across developing markets, particularly because in most of these markets, governments are the largest investors and employers while simultaneously acting as regulators in their respective jurisdictions.”

Mills Oakley boosts China corporate ties with hire of Brisbane-based John Wei

Australian law firm Mills Oakley has boosted its corporate practice with the arrival of Brisbane-based partner John Wei from Holding Redlich. 

Wei joins the firm after a two-year stint at Holding Redlich, where he practised across its Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne offices. Before that, he spent three years as a consultant for Herbert Smith Freehills’ Australian arm. 

Wei focuses his practice on advising international clients across the renewable energy, energy and resources, and real estate and manufacturing industries, with his primary clientele located in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. He handles transaction structuring, M&A, joint ventures, commercial contracts and corporate governance matters. 

“While unpredictability can be an inherent part of global diplomacy, there remains strong interest in Chinese-Australian collaboration and investment,” Mills Oakley CEO John Nerurker said. “John’s clients have continued to seek his advice during the pandemic and are keen to continue that relationship at Mills Oakley. We feel fortunate to have made such a high-calibre hire.”

Linklaters adds senior capability to newly launched US cyber and privacy practice

Linklaters has added to its US technology, media and telecom capabilities with the hire of data lawyer Ieuan Jolly in New York. Jolly will move across as a partner with an associate from Loeb & Loeb, where he served as co-chair of its privacy, security and data innovations group. At Linklaters, Jolly will co-chair the firm’s US data solutions, cyber and privacy practice alongside Erez Liebermann, who joined the firm last month from Prudential Financial’s in-house legal team. 

Jolly’s data-focused practice covers privacy counseling, cybersecurity, and data-driven transactions. Throughout his career, he has advised on a number of high-profile security breaches, involving phishing, ransomware, spoofing, malware and spyware affecting more than 100 million people across 45 countries. 

Commenting on the hire, Thomas McGrath, US global practice head at Linklaters, said: “At a time when new data laws are being enacted at an exponential rate, our clients will benefit from Ieuan’s international experience and ability to synthesize global compliance. We are thrilled to have him join as we continue to invest in our US practice and data solutions, cyber and privacy offerings.”

Reed Smith secures strategic hire with senior New York transportation recruit

Reed Smith has boosted its transportation industry group with the hire of Robert Lustrin in New York. Lustrin joins the firm as counsel after working as an independent practitioner, bringing with him more than 25 years of experience advising shipping and offshore industry clients on all aspects of corporate and US securities law.

Before that, he spent two decades as a partner at New York firm Seward & Kissel, where he specialised in advising domestic and international clients in capital markets securities offerings, including IPOs, follow-on equity offerings, debt offerings and business combinations. 

Greg Chase, leader of Reed Smith’s US shipping team, said Lustrin’s hire “underpins a strategic priority” for the firm as it looks to expand its New York-based transportation industry group. “Here in New York, we have differentiated ourselves from the city’s traditional shipping firms by being able to provide a broader range of transactional legal services to the market,” he added. 

“The trend of clients moving away from traditional bank lending in shipping and toward more sophisticated private equity and alternative capital providers means that investing in shipping now demands a global full-service law firm such as Reed Smith.”

Mexico's SMPS takes on tax team led by Luis Curiel Piña

SMPS Legal has hired Luis Curiel Piña from Ortiz Sosa y Asociados to lead its tax litigation practice in Mexico City. He joins the firm as its lead tax partner alongside four associates: Alfonso Muñoz Salcedo, Marco Antonio Cervantes López, Gustavo Ortíz Martínez and Gerardo Daniel Rodríguez. 

Piña  brings with him more than two decades of experience advising national and foreign companies in contentious matters before administrative and judicial authorities. Prior to joining Ortiz Sosa, Piña worked at Basham Ringe y Correa and KPMG’s Mexico City arm, KPMG Cardenas Dosal. 

Commenting on his appointment, Piña said: “Joining SMPS Legal gives me the opportunity to offer my existing clients the support of a great team of lawyers and experts in various areas of law with a great understanding of the business rationale behind each transaction.”

Hausfeld secures chief marketing officer

Bridget Uebel has joined Hausfeld as the firm’s new global chief marketing officer. Uebel was previously director of client development at Norton Rose Fulbright and joins fellow women, chief operations officer Catherine Gill and chief financial officer respectively Sue Huberty in key executive roles at the firm.

The trio will work closely with chairman, Michael Hausfeld, global vice chairs, Brian Ratner in the US and Anthony Maton in the UK and Europe, and global managing partner Brett Landau. Uebel brings with her more than two decades of experience working with commercial law firms, including in consultancy and leadership roles at Hogan Lovells and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.

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