03 Sep 2021

Appointments: Linklaters hires real estate practice head in Italy, Baker McKenzie refreshes global executive committee

This week's roundup also sees moves at Allen & Overy, Squire Patton Boggs, K&L Gates, Dentons, Clyde & Co and Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle

Portraits photographs of Francesco De Blasio and Kirsty Wilson

Linklaters' Francesco De Blasio and Bakers' Kirsty Wilson

Linklaters leadership shuffles

Linklaters has hired Francesco De Blasio from DLA Piper to lead its real estate practice in Italy. 

De Blasio brings with him a team of five real estate lawyers including managing associates Francesco Macrì, Francesco Calabria and Gabriele Lopez and associates Marika Angelastri and Massimo Schirinzi. 

The firm’s revamped real estate offering in Italy will focus on advising domestic and cross-border clients in acquisition and development transactions on single assets or complex real estate portfolios, in addition to the structuring of investment funds to develop joint ventures. 

De Blasio has two decades of experience handling real estate contracts applied to particular categories of properties such as hotels, sports facilities and logistics. He spent nearly 12 years at DLA Piper, including nine years as a partner. 

Elsewhere, the firm has named Alison Wilson as its new global head of dispute resolution and Andy Vickery as its new global head of finance. Wilson will be taking over the role from Michael Bennet, who has served in the role since 2014. Vickery, meanwhile, succeeds Paul Lewis who was appointed firmwide managing partner last month. 

Wilson joined the firm in 2003 and became a partner in the London office in 2014. She focuses her practice on contentious financial regulation, advising financial institutions on high-profile financial conduct authority enforcement investigations. 

Vickery also arrived at Linklaters in 2003, joining from Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques, now King & Wood Mallesons. He specialises in structured and real estate finance, with particular expertise in mortgage-backed securitisation transactions, loan portfolio trading and covered bonds. During his time at the firm, Vickery has held a number of leadership positions, including head of the structured finance group. 

Bakers adds senior London and Buenos Aires partners to leadership team

Baker McKenzie has refreshed its global executive committee, adding partners Kirsty Wilson and Gustavo Boruchowicz to the leadership ranks, replacing Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort and Jaime Trujillo, who will be concluding their four-year terms in October. 

London-based corporate specialist Wilson has been with the firm for just shy of three decades, including 18 years as a partner. She currently chairs its global organisations group. Alongside her appointment to the executive committee, she will be joining the firm’s Europe, Middle East and Africa council. 

Boruchowicz, meanwhile, is an experienced M&A partner and former managing partner of its Buenos Aires office. He is set to take up the role of Latin America chair in addition to his executive committee responsibilities. 

A&O adds partners in São Paulo and New York

Allen & Overy has made two senior additions to its Americas capability: Latin America capital markets specialist David Flechner and restructuring expert Emanuel Grillo.

Flechner, who joins from Paul Hastings' São Paulo office, practised at A&O as a partner between 2015 and 2018, and brings with him more than 15 years of experience advising financial institutions and corporate issuers across a number of sectors on their debt and equity securities offerings and liability management transactions. He recently spearheaded more than 20 IPO and re-IPO projects in Brazil and has led multiple debt capital markets financings across the region.

He will divide his time between the firm's New York and São Paulo offices.

The UK firm has also added Baker Botts’ financial restructuring chair, Emanuel Grillo, to its office in the Big Apple. Grillo, who joins A&O’s banking and restructuring practice group as a partner after six years with Baker Botts, was the firm’s twenty-first lateral hire in its US offices since the beginning of the year, reflecting its ongoing push into the US legal market. 

Prior to Baker Botts, Grillo was a partner at Goodwin Procter, where he served as co-chair and chair of the firm’s financial restructuring practice. Before that, he was a partner at Canadian firm Torys. 

Squire builds tax practice in Dallas

Squire Patton Boggs has boosted its tax credit finance practice with the arrival of Louis Jenull from Thompson & Knight in Dallas. 

Jenull, who joins Squire after just over two years at Thompson & Knight, brings with him extensive experience working with clients in most phases of federal income taxation with an emphasis on a range of tax credits, community development programmes, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and real estate lending and development. 

He also advises clients on oil and gas transactions and has experience in the renewable energy space advising on wind and solar power projects and low carbon and sequestration programmes. 

Before landing at Thompson & Knight in 2019, Jenull spent 12 years at Jones Day, including four as a partner in Dallas. 

K&L Gates adds Houston bankruptcy depth

Elsewhere in the Lone Star State, K&L Gates has added to its Houston restructuring and insolvency practice with the hire of bankruptcy expert Brian Kilmer from local boutique Kilmer Crosby & Quadros. 

Kilmer, who joins the firm as a partner, specialises in acting for debtors, unsecured creditors’ committees and secured creditors in complex Chapter 11 cases in a number of jurisdictions, including Texas, Delaware, New York, Michigan, Florida and Louisiana. 

He co-founded Kimler Crosby & Quadros in 2015 and was a shareholder in tax-focused Texas firm Chamberlain Hrdlicka White Williams & Aughtry between 2013 and 2015.

Kilmer’s arrival follows the additions earlier this year of fellow restructuring and insolvency partners Julien de Michele from De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés in Paris and Eugene Yeung from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Hong Kong. They are among the more than 90 partners and of counsel the firm has hired since the beginning of 2020.

Dentons hires UK disputes head from Addleshaws

Dentons has hired commercial disputes partner Louisa Caswell to lead its UK disputes division from Addleshaw Goddard. 

An experienced commercial and corporate litigator by trade, Caswell brings nearly two decades of experience to the role. She handles contractual disputes, warranty and indemnity claims, shareholder disputes, commercial fraud, professional negligence and supply and distribution issues with a particular focus on the consumer, retail and pharmaceutical sectors. 

She is set to take over the role from interim divisional leader Helen Simpson, who assumed the position last May. 

The firm said that following Caswell’s appointment, its UKIME executive committee will be 36% female, while half of its wider UKIME board are women.

Clydes adds five-lawyer Brisbane-based insurance team

Clyde & Co has continued its Australian lateral hiring streak with the addition of insurance partner David Kerwin and a team of five lawyers in Brisbane. 

Kerwin, who re-joins the UK firm from local firm Barry Nilsson Lawyers, is Clyde’s sixth partner hire in Australia this year, following insurance trio Patrick Boardman, Tim Searle and Jacques Jacobs as well as Damian Watkin and Alec Christie, who joined the firm’s projects and construction and cyber practices respectively. 

Kerwin brings with him extensive experience handling complex matters involving property risks, financial lines, D&O liability, professional indemnity, policy coverage and defence health and life insurance lines. He also has practical experience of the London markets from his time spent practising in the UK earlier in his career. 

Moving across with Kerwin are special counsels Stefanie Luhrs and Ewa Cholinska, senior associate Simone Shepherd and associates Patrick Johnson and Mitchell Page. 

The firm said Kerwin’s hire would be ‘key’ in executing its commitment to the SME market while adding depth to its well-established property and business interruption offering. 

“David’s property expertise adds further strength to the support we can offer clients as they continue to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for its longer-term implications,” said Lucinda Lyons, partner and head of Clyde’s Australian insurance group. 

In May, UK rival Kennedys hired Clydes partner Jonathan Wyatt and a nine-strong team to open in Perth. 

Curtis continues Brussels growth with trade partner 

Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle has appointed international trade and EU regulatory lawyer Elena Klonitskaya as a partner in its Brussels office. 

Klonitskaya joins Curtis’ Brussels outfit from Crowell & Moring, where she spent six years as a counsel. Before that, she held roles at Herbert Smith Freehills, Mayer Brown and Squire Sanders prior to its merger with US firm Patton Boggs. 

Admitted in both Belgium and Russia, Klonitskaya has practised EU and international trade and WTO law in Brussels for nearly two decades. She focuses on trade remedies, including anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguard investigations in the EU and US and international trade compliance. 

The firm said Klonitskaya’s appointment enhanced its EU-based trade and competition capability, complementing its current presence in other international trade centers including Washington DC and Geneva. 

Curtis established its Brussels office earlier this year when New York partner Simon Batifort relocated to the European capital to spearhead the new venture.

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