12 Aug 2021

Appointments: UK Magic Circle continue US push with senior hires in Silicon Valley and Washington DC

Latest roundup features Freshfields, Linklaters, Hall & Wilcox, K&L Gates, Ashurst, Clayton Utz and Gherson Solicitors

Portrait photos of Christine Lyon and Richard C. Smith

Christine Lyon and Richard C. Smith

Freshfields continues to build Silicon Valley presence

In the week that Allen & Overy unveiled offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continued to build its West Coast presence by adding data privacy and security partner Christine Lyon from Morrison & Foerster. 

Lyon joins the firm's Silicon Valley office to co-lead its global data privacy and security group alongside UK-based Giles Pratt and Germany-based Norbert Nolte. Her hire, the firm noted, was made in response to sky-high client demand for increased global strength in crafting solutions to data privacy and security challenges arising in the contexts of transactions, breaches and other critical moments for its clients. 

The firm said her arrival complements that of cybersecurity specialist Brock Dahl, who joined the firm from the US National Security Agency in May. 

Lyon’s recent work includes advising Salesforce on IP and data privacy matters related to its $27bn acquisition of Slack and $15.7bn acquisition of Tableau. She also handled OpenInvest’s sale to JPMorgan and HealthcareSource HR’s acquisition of General Electric’s Centricity Contingent Staffing business.

Freshfields first opened its doors in Silicon Valley last year when it hired a team of five senior lawyers from Davis Polk, Latham & Watkins, Sidley Austin and Wilson Sonsini.

"Data is an increasingly regulated asset and for years Chris has been a thought leader in this space,” said John Fisher, head of Freshfields’ US technology and life sciences M&A practice and co-founder of its Silicon Valley office. “She supports some of the most complex transactions globally and will add significant value to our clients going forward. Our clients demand thoughtful, practical advice and there is no one better to provide this than Chris.”

Linklaters boosts US white collar crime and FCPA expertise

Linklaters has nabbed veteran former prosecutor Richard C. Smith from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, adding significant white collar crime and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act strength to its US dispute resolution practice. 

Smith joins the UK magic circle firm’s Washington DC arm as a partner and brings with him nearly 30 years of trial experience, including 15 years as a senior government prosecutor. Before joining Quinn Emanuel in 2016, he spent a decade at Norton Rose Fulbright, where he was a member of the executive committee, head of the US regulatory and governmental investigations practice, and chair of the firm’s global white collar crime and government investigations practice group. 

His practice focuses on complex litigation, white collar criminal defense, and US-centric and transnational corporate internal investigations for public and private companies. He has extensive experience representing corporations and their employees in grand jury investigations, and criminal trials and regulatory hearings, federal and state criminal prosecutions, criminal antitrust investigations and prosecutions, and healthcare fraud investigations.

Smith’s notable past clients include the Odebrecht Group and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). 

Michael Bennet, head of Linklater’s global dispute resolution practice, said: “We are delighted to have Richard join our Dispute Resolution Practice, in addition to his impressive trial and litigation credentials, he further enhances our U.S. regulatory, white collar crime and FCPA capabilities for our clients.”

Ashurst targets digital economy with senior data protection hire

Ashurst has hired partner Rhiannon Webster from DAC Beachcroft to lead its UK data protection and information practice.

Webster, who led her former firm’s information law team, brings with her a practice that focuses on the financial services sector. She has particular experience advising on the data and privacy aspects of new digital offerings and technologies, which the firm said complements its global digital economy practice, headed by Nick Elverston.

"Data is at the heart of so much of the digital economy. Its commercial importance combined with increased regulatory requirements and scrutiny laws means data protection and cyber resilience are now board level issues," said Elverston. Data now also forms a key asset class in most of our major corporate and commercial transactions.”

In May, Linklaters launched a US data solutions, cyber and privacy practice in New York following the arrival of Prudential Financial’s former chief counsel for cybersecurity and privacy Erez Liebermann.

Hall & Wilcox celebrates arrival of 100th partner

Australia’s Hall & Wilcox has strengthened its national commercial disputes expertise with the appointment of Penny Ford as a construction and projects disputes partner in Perth. 

The hire marks a major milestone for the Melbourne-based firm, as Ford’s arrival makes her Hall & Wilcox’s 100th partner. Ford specialises in the litigation and arbitration of construction, oil and gas and project disputes. She has handled a number of high-profile and complex matters across the construction field in addition to her commercial work, and has advised clients in the commercial and government sectors. 

Tony Macvean, Hall & Wilcox’s managing partner, said Ford’s hire represented a ‘significant coup’ for the firm. 

“Our strategy has been to capitalise on partnering with our clients, nurturing our culture and capitalising on the growth opportunities in the market and across our business," he said. "Penny’s appointment is a great example of the excellent people we have joining our firm.”

“We are an ambitious firm and we are always keen to hear from great people who would like to join our firm and who meet our strategic and cultural criteria.”

K&L Gates eyes SEC’s 'aggressive rulemaking agenda' with Raleigh hire

K&L Gates has beefed up its public companies practice with the arrival of securities law compliance and corporate governance specialist Julie Rizzo in Raleigh. 

Rizzo joins the firm as a partner from Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, where she worked as a counsel. Before that, she spent nearly seven years as the in-house securities lawyer within software company Red Hat’s corporate legal group. She has also worked as an attorney-advisor in the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance, and as an attorney at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in Washington DC. 

In addition to her securities law compliance and reporting focus, Rizzo also works on corporate governance and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters. 

Margaret Rosenfeld, K&L Gates corporate partner in Raleigh, said: “The SEC’s aggressive rulemaking agenda for 2021, including climate change disclosures, human capital management disclosures, global cybersecurity risk governance, and 10b5-1 programs, make someone like Julie invaluable for the public companies that we support. In addition, her experience with the global technology industry from her years with Red Hat adds to our firm’s technology bench for multinational enterprises.”

Clayton Utz secures senior tax disputes specialist from KPMG Law

Clayton Utz has hired tax controversy specialist Angela Wood from KPMG Law as a partner in its Melbourne office. 

She joins the leading independent firm’s national taxation practice, bringing with her experience of managing, negotiating and resolving tax disputes on behalf of multinationals, ASX-listed corporates, private equity funds and private groups.  

She spent just short of seven years at KPMG Law, where she was national lead partner and ASPAC regional lead partner. She started her career as a solicitor with the Australian government before joining PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal and then Maddocks, where she bacame a partner. 

Special counsel Andy Bubb is moving across with her. 

Gherson launches disputes practice

London's Gherson Solicitors has appointed Edward Miller to spearhead the launch of a dispute resolution practice. 

Miller joins as a director from Croft Solicitors, where he was a partner. Having trained as a barrister, he was admitted as a solicitor in 2008 and practices in England and Wales as well as at the AIFC Court in Kazakhstan. He has extensive experience in private practice, including offshore experience in Jersey at Mourant Ozannes, and in-house for Morgan Stanley, where he dealt with the fallout following the financial crash in 2008. 

Founding partner Roger Gherson said: “This is an important milestone for Gherson Solicitors. Whilst, as a team we have been dealing with contentious matters for many years, re-organising ourselves to offer a fuller range of commercial litigation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution solutions, will certainly be a positive move for our clients."

Gherson's specialises in immigration law and white collar crime.

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