Appointments: McDermott boosts London energy team, Ashurst builds in New York

The week's round-up of global lateral hires also features Sidley Austin, Clyde & Co and Morgan Lewis among others

McDermott's Merrick White (L) and Ashurst's Lloyd Harmetz (R) Images courtesy of McDermott Will & Emery and Ashurst

McDermott adds global energy capabilities with London hire 

McDermott Will & Emery has hired Merrick White to strengthen its energy and infrastructure team in London

His appointment follows hot on the heels of the recent hire of fellow energy and infrastructure heavyweight Ignatius Hwang, who joined the firm in London from his position as co-managing partner for Squire Patton Boggs’ office in Singapore. 

White brings with him nearly three decades of experience advising oil and gas clients on the legal, commercial, business development and engineering aspects of the resources and liquefied natural gas industries, particularly in Asia and Africa. 

In addition to his legal qualifications, White is a chartered chemical engineer. He has more than two decades’ experience developing major infrastructure projects in Asia, as well as 12 years in engineering and commercial roles with British Gas Exploration & Production, Gulf Indonesia and ConocoPhillips.  

Michael Poulos, partner and head of strategy at McDermott, said: “Merrick is a seasoned and versatile adviser across a broad spectrum of energy-related projects. His stellar industry experience and reputation in the market will provide a further boost to our expanding global Energy & Infrastructure practice, offering our clients trusted advice on their inbound and outbound investments across the world, particularly in Southeast Asia.” 

He added: “Our clients will also benefit from valuable synergies between his practice and our global litigation and finance capabilities, with McDermott as a single source for complex business needs.”

Ashurst adds global securities depth in New York 

Ashurst has boosted its global markets practice with the appointment of Lloyd Harmetz in New York.  

Harmetz, who joins the firm as a partner from Morrison & Foerster, focuses his practice on securities offerings by financial institutions, including investment grade securities and structured products linked to equities, commodities, interest rates and other underlying assets.  

He brings with him more than 15 years of experience working in Morrison & Foerster’s capital markets group, where he specialised in structuring continuous offering programs registered under or exempt from the Securities Act. 

Harmetz also covers public and private placements of equity securities by technology companies and other issuers. He was based in Morrison & Foerster’s Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing offices, and spent time on secondment to Fischer Behar Chen & Co in Tel Aviv.  

Sharon Kim, managing partner for Ashurst’s New York office, said: “Lloyd's knowledge in both structured products and overall US capital markets will be hugely beneficial to the teams that support our leading international financial institution and corporate clients. We are extremely pleased that he will be joining us in New York."

Sidley’s Singapore leadership change 

Sidley Austin has shuffled its leadership in Singapore, appointing Tai Heng Cheng and Charlie Wilson as co-managing partners for its office in the city-state.  

The duo will be stepping in for incumbent managing partner Matthew Sheridan, who will continue to serve as a member of the firm’s executive committee. 

Cheng has been the firm’s global co-head of international arbitration and trade since 2019. He joined from Quinn Emanuel, where he served as the head of its New York international arbitration practice for seven years. He advises companies, boards and governments in arbitration matters worldwide across a range of sectors, including energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, real estate, manufacturing and financial services. 

Wilson, meanwhile, is the co-leader of Sidley’s M&A and private equity group in Asia. He specialises in advising private equity funds and corporates on their strategic investments and disposals across the region. Prior to joining Sidley, he spent six years practicing at US rival White & Case. 

Commenting on his appointment, Cheng said: “For almost forty years, Sidley’s Singapore office has served our clients’ needs through thick and thin. Charlie and I share the same vision of further expanding long-term partnerships with clients in Southeast Asia by supporting them with our multi-disciplinary practice in Singapore and Sidley’s global platform.” 

Global hires for Clyde & Co in Perth and Dusseldorf 

UK firm Clyde & Co has added Tim Searle to its Australian insurance group in Perth, just under two years after he left the firm for local outfit Wotton + Kearney.  

He has taken an eight-lawyer insurance team with him to Clyde, adding ‘significant depth’ to the firm’s Australian insurance offering.  

Searle previously practiced at Clyde for seven years, joining from Steptoe & Johnson as a senior associate in 2012. 

Dual-qualified in Australia and the UK, he specialises in handling matters involving professional indemnity, property damage, business interruption, public and products liability and construction insurance policies in Australia and internationally.  

The firm said Searle’s expertise will boost its property and business interruption offering thanks to his experience acting for global insurers in Covid-19 related matters since the start of the pandemic.  

Searle is the fifth partner to join Clyde in Australia this year, following fellow insurance partners Patrick Boardman and Jacques Jacobs, as well as projects and construction partner Damian Watkin and cyber partner Alec Christie, all of whom are based in Sydney. 

Elsewhere, Clyde boosted its European data privacy and cyber capabilities with the hire of Jan Spittka from DLA Piper in Dusseldorf.  

He joins as a partner following a five-year stint at DLA Piper’s Cologne office, where he was a counsel in the firm’s data protection and cybersecurity group. 

He advises on all aspects of German and European law relating to privacy and data protection, cybersecurity and information technology, with a special focus on complex data-related issues including the introduction of new technologies, international data transfers, computing projects, and data breach handling, among others. 

His arrival comes a few months after the firm opened its doors in Munich in January with a three-partner insurance team from Norton Rose Fulbright in a bid to expand its German presence. 

Henning Schaloske, partner and head of Clyde’s German insurance practice, commented: “The pandemic and the consequent shift to remote working, allied to increased regulation and enforcement, have made cyber risk and incidents all the more real for businesses. Jan will help us serve those businesses in Germany and continue to advise them in a joined-up manner across the globe.” 

Morgan Lewis builds in Asia Pacific 

Morgan Lewis has added to its Asia Pacific partner ranks with the arrival of Vivien Yu from Baker McKenzie. 

Yu joins the firm following more than a decade working in Baker McKenzie’s Hong Kong office as a registered foreign lawyer, where she specialised in assisting multinational companies in establishing and maintaining customised immigration and mobility programmes for their globally mobile workforce. 

Her appointment reunited her with fellow former Baker McKenzie lawyers who joined Morgan Lewis’ global mobility group in 2019, including Washington DC-based partner Shannon Donnely and Miami-based counsel Laura Garvin. 

Hugh James appoints new corporate City partner

Cardiff-headquartered Hugh James has boosted its London presence with the addition of corporate partner Andrew Hoad from PDT Solicitors. 

Hoad, who spent three years at PDT Solicitors in Horsham, brings more than two decades of experience to Hugh James’ corporate practice. His practice covers all types of corporate transactions including acquisitions and disposals, private and public equity fundraising and shareholder restructuring. Hoad also focuses his work in the technology sector, advising clients such as software consultancies and high-tech manufacturers. 

During his career, Hoad has worked as a corporate lawyer for a number of firms including Nabarro Nathanson and ASB Law prior to its acquisition by professional services firm Knights. He also established boutique corporate law practice Vertex Law, according to his Linkedin profile.  

Hoad’s appointment is another step in the Welsh firm’s steady expansion strategy in London. The firm reported its London office grew by 15% during the pandemic, with other senior hires in its banking and finance, contested wills, trusts and estates and personal injury and clinical negligence practice. 

This year, the firm also added new regional bases in Cambridge, Southampton, and Plymouth to extend its covering across southern England. 

Macpherson Kelley promotes three to principal 

Australia’s Macpherson Kelley has promoted a trio of lawyers to principal across its regional network. 

Melanie Gebbels is moving up in the firm’s Brisbane property team, while employment, safety and migration lawyers Adam Foster and Kian Bone made the cut in Melbourne.  

Gebbels has been with the firm since 2019, having arrived from McInnes Wilson Lawyers where she spent five years as a senior associate. She has more than two decades of experience working on projects across various industries including retail, manufacturing, and industrial cleaning. 

Foster, meanwhile, focuses on assisting clients on all aspects of employment law for the not-for-profit, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, education, healthcare and professional services sectors, as well as insolvency situations. 

He joined the firm in 2019 from Lewis Holdway Lawyers in Melbourne, where he was a senior associate and head of workplace relations.  

Finally, Bone specialises in migration issues, having acted for a wide range of clients including ASX 200 and Forbes 500 as well as asylum seekers. According to the firm, his promotion makes him the only migration specialist at the principal lawyer level in any Australian commercial law firm. He joined Macpherson Kelley as special counsel in 2019 from Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers, where he worked as a senior lawyer. 

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