08 Aug 2021

Appointments: Steptoe & Johnson names chief diversity officer, Jones Day builds in Dubai

This week's round-up of moves also sees Felsberg target Brazil's distressed investment market and Mayer Brown add partners across the US

Shauna Bryce (left) and Heather Martin

Steptoe & Johnson promotes from within to fill chief diversity officer role

Steptoe & Johnson has advanced its diversity and inclusion agenda by elevating Shauna Bryce to chief diversity officer and legal talent officer.

Bryce takes on the position after joining the firm in 2020. As chief diversity officer, she will co-chair the firm’s diversity committee, working on diversity, equity and inclusion and corporate social responsibility matters, as well as community building initiatives throughout the firm, including policy development, business development and marketing, training and events.

She will also support the Washington DC-based firm’s acquisition and integration of partners, lateral associates and other attorney and non-attorney legal talent. She will also oversee the professional development, training, experiential learning and mentoring needs of the firm’s practice groups and individual lawyers.

Bryce moved to Steptoe from her role as founder, principal and lawyer career coach at career services boutique Bryce Legal. Before her career development work, she practiced as an associate attorney at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Sills Cummis & Gross in New York. She also spent two years as in-house counsel at United Water between 1999 and 2002.

Phil West, Steptoe’s chair, said: “Shauna has strengthened the firm by building out the legal talent department, enhancing our training programs and creating a career services office to help our lawyers and alumni. Additionally, our firm-wide community has embraced the many diversity initiatives and programs our Diversity Committee has provided. We are confident that Shauna will continue to inspire us all.”

Jones Day hires senior in-house disputes lawyer in Dubai

Jones Day has boosted its Middle East disputes capability with the hire of Heather Martin from Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Company PJSC, where she was head of litigation and regulatory affairs.

Martin, who will be based in the firm’s Dubai office, is joining as a counsel and will advise clients involved in litigation, arbitration and regulatory enforcement proceedings, including white collar crime.

In her former role she was responsible for overseeing criminal and enforcement matters, commercial disputes and regulatory affairs. Jones Day’s Dubai office head, Sheila Shadmand, said this experience would help Martin bring “a unique perspective” to her new role.

Martin spent six years at Mubadala Investment Company, prior to which she was an associate at Quinn Emanuel.

Last month, Jones Day hired Herbert Smith Freehills' former co-head of German disputes in Düsseldorf, while in Perth it hired a team of four disputes lawyers from Quinn Emanuel.

Felsberg targets Brazil distressed investment market with finance hire

Felsberg has hired financial law specialist Ricardo Higashitani in São Paulo from KLA in anticipation of a rise in distressed investment work.

He has taken up residence in the banking and capital markets teams after spending 10 years at KLA, where his work focused on credit operations, issuances of securities, structuring of investment funds and banking regulation.

He also brings global law firm experience, having e Heworked at Linklaters in London and New York as a foreign managing associate.

His arrival at Felsberg comes in the wake of reforms to Brazil’s bankruptcy laws to bring them more in line with international standards, leading to expectations that the ‘distressed investing market will grow, attracting new players and encouraging new capital injections’, according to the firm.

“Over the last few years, we have expanded our operations in order to meet the high level of complexity that currently dominates the business environment, including in the legal arena”, said Thomas Felsberg, a founding partner of the firm.

"And as economic difficulties dominate the moment, we have other investments underway in strategic areas, not just to reinforce the sectors in which we already shine, but also to eventually attract new partners to grow our team.”

Mayer Brown builds in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles

Thomas Horenkamp has joined Mayer Brown’s corporate and securities practice in Chicago as a partner from White & Case, along with counsel Adam Arnett.

Their arrival capped a busy week for the Chicago firm on the lateral hiring front. On 3 August, it secured high-profile Skadden dealmaker Martha McGarry to co-lead its US M&A offering in New York, while in Los Angeles it took on renewable energy tax partner Amanda Rosenberg from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Horenkamp and Arnett focus on M&A and securities transactions for US and international private equity clients across a range of sectors including food and consumer products, energy, industrial products, insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing and media.

Jodi Simala, co-leader of the firm’s corporate and securities and M&A/private equity practices, said their arrival represented “another key step in building our sophisticated private equity offerings, with a focus on M&A and investment work for private equity sponsors”.

Squire hires from Clyde & Co in London

Squire Patton Boggs has hired Clyde & Co’s head of trade and commodity finance in London.

Robert Parson is joining the firm’s financial services practice along with senior associates Geraldine Butac and Jennifer Greengrass

Parson has more than 30 years’ experience in commodities and trade finance law, with a practice focused on structuring deals and cross-border financing arrangements for banks, traders, exporters and other participants in the global trade market.

He is that latest addition to the firm’s commodity and shipping industry group, which was launched in November 2019 with the hire of partners Barry Stimpson and Jessica Kenworthy in Singapore from Reed Smith. The group was further developed this January when Singapore-based Clifford Chance partner Kate Sherrard joined along with a senior associate.

Kenworthy said: “Robert is someone we know well and rate highly. Working closely with our existing trade finance practice and Kate Sherrard’s ship finance team in Singapore, we look forward to Robert and his team assisting our clients with even greater bench strength in a key jurisdiction.”

Paul Hastings boosts London leveraged finance capabilities with Latham hire

Paul Hastings has hired leveraged finance lawyer Adrian Chiodo as a partner in its London-based finance and restructuring practice.

Chiodo joins Paul Hastings after a decade at US rival firm Latham & Watkins, where he was a partner. Prior to that, he was at Australia’s Gilbert + Tobin and also had stints at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Allens Arthur Robinson.

He specialises in advising financiers, issuers and private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies on cross-border leveraged finance across the capital structure. He also handles public-to-private transactions, restructurings and post-IPO, project and infrastructure financings.

The firm said Chiodo’s arrival marks a step in the ‘strong growth’ of its London office, which currently boasts 30 partners and more than 100 lawyers, and adds further depth to its global leveraged finance offering.

Seth Zachary, chairman of Paul Hastings, added that Chiodo’s “wide-ranging” experience in debt finance matters and “deep understanding” of market trends and versatile capabilities in bank work and private credit make him a “strong addition” to its global finance and restructuring practice.

Kirkland hires Hong Kong private equity real estate head

In Hong Kong, meanwhile, Paul Hastings has lost real estate private equity partner Paul Guan to Kirkland & Ellis.

Guan has jumped to Kirkland to lead its Hong Kong-based private equity real estate practice after seven years at Paul Hastings, where he most recently worked as a partner and leader of its Greater China real estate division. He has a strong track record advising global and regional private equity sponsors and strategic investors on a range of complex and cross-border real estate M&A, joint venture, fund formation, securities and financing transactions.

David Zhang, a corporate partner in Kirkland’s Hong Kong office, said: “The Greater China real estate market is a fast-growing opportunity for our clients. With experience advising both private equity firms and other financial institutions in cross-border transactions involving real estate in Greater China as well as Chinese institutional investors in outbound investments, Paul is the perfect person to lead our Asia private equity real estate practice.”

Kirkland’s private equity practice is among the largest in Asia, with the firm’s footprint in the region consisting of more than 140 lawyers and legal professionals located in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Hogan Lovells eyes India market with Singapore hire

Hogan Lovells has expanded its India practice with the addition of capital markets partner Biswajit Chatterjee from Squire Patton Boggs in Singapore.

Chatterjee co-chaired Squire’s India practice and led its South East Asia corporate practice. He joined the firm from DLA Piper in 2014, where he was a partner and co-head of its India group. Before that, he held roles at Allen & Overy, Clyde & Co and Jones Day.

He joins Hogan Lovells’ Singapore-based corporate and finance practice, where he will work closely with the head of corporate and finance for the Asia Pacific region, Stephanie Keen, and lawyers across its global India desk to build on its ‘established reputation for doing business in India’.

Keen said: “The opportunities in the Indian market are vast and aligned with our strength in highly regulated sectors, such as technology and life sciences and healthcare. Biswajit brings not only a wealth of industry experience in the transaction space, but deep relationships that are key to successfully doing business in India.”

Quovant boosts data services, compliance and implementation teams

In-house legal spend management solution company Quovant has hired a three-person operations team to expand its capabilities in response to ‘accelerating market demand’.

Veteran operations leader Kenneth Kaley joins the Nashville-based technology company as vice president of operations and will oversee Quovant’s data services, compliance and implementation teams. Before joining the company, Kaley was the director of service operations for healthcare giant Cigna.

Cindy Layne and Mene Jividen, meanwhile, both join as operations directors. The duo will report to Kaley and provide support in overseeing the company’s data services and compliance teams.

Bill Horne, Quovant’s chief executive officer, said: “Quovant serves a significant portion of the Fortune 500 today to rave reviews from our clients, but we are constantly pushing the envelope to evolve as a company. I am delighted to have professionals like Ken, Cindy and Mene leading the charge for our operations team as we continue to innovate and expand upon the value that we are driving for many of the world’s most respected companies.”

Founded in 1992, Quovant’s technology is designed to help in-house legal departments make strategic legal spend management choices. Kaley, Layne and Jividen will oversee the company’s leveraging of machine learning, business intelligence and human capital across the legal bill lifecycle to improve legal professionals’ time spent on billing matters while also measuring performance and providing analytics on law firm compliance.

Fladgate adds corporate specialist in London

Top 100 UK law firm Fladgate has hired corporate specialist David Harrison from Shoosmiths in London.

Harrison brings with him a wealth of experience in both the private and public markets, specialising in advising clients on complex acquisitions, disposals and fundraising matters. His expertise covers a number of sectors including the energy and industrial, consumer and real estate industries. He also focuses on the technology sector, with a particular interest on the impact of technology on the energy transitions towards net zero.

He spent two years as a partner at Shoosmiths, where he was part of the team that helped found the firm’s City M&A practice. Before joining Shoosmiths in 2018, he held roles at Hogan Lovells, Macfarlanes and Linklaters.

David Robinson, head of department for Fladgate’s corporate practice, commented: “David Harrison’s arrival is great news for the development of our highly differentiated corporate transactional services for clients, particularly in the technology sector. The firm is building a breadth of carefully shaped services for both business and private clients that have fast moving, complex challenges and which require solutions delivered through highly personal service from their lawyers.”

Following Harrison’s arrival, Fladgate’s corporate partner headcount now sits at 22. The firm has added eight lateral partners over the last six months in support of its business and growth strategies in the City.