KWM Europe delays administration with second intention of notice to appoint administrators


King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) European arm has delayed a move into administration by filing a second intention of notice to appoint administrators.

The firm made the filing earlier this morning (10 January) in the High Court, a move that had been expected by multiple partners and sources close to the firm.

It first filed an intention of notice to appoint administrators on 22 December, with AlixPartners named as the proposed administrator. CMS is also advising KWM Europe on the process.

KWM Europe now has 10 working days until it must file for administration, giving the firm’s China arm more time to finalise efforts to retain parts of the legacy SJ Berwin business.

The firm is in talks to keep a number of European partners, with Legal Week revealing last week that banking partner Vanessa Docherty and corporate partners Joseph Newitt, Greg Stonefield and Wang Lianghau are among those in discussions to join KWM’s Chinese arm, along with a 10-lawyer City litigation team.

It is thought that KWM China could retain partners in eight out of nine KWM European offices – London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Dubai, Brussels and Luxembourg. The firm’s Munich office is expected to close this month.

Yesterday, Legal Week revealed that Mishcon de Reya and Simmons & Simmons had become the most recent firms to take on KWM partners, with Reed Smith also set to take at least three more partners across Europe following its recent hires of City tax head Gareth Amdor and financial regulatory partner David Calligan.

Last week, McDermott Will & Emery announced that it is hiring KWM UK, Europe and Middle East senior partner Michael Cziesla as a corporate partner in Germany.

Numerous other firms have picked up partners including Baker McKenzie, Fieldfisher, Debevoise & Plimpton, Stephenson Harwood, DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig, Macfarlanes, K&L Gates, Winston & Strawn, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Fieldfisher, Addleshaw Goddard, Covington & Burling, Keystone Law, Proskauer and Goodwin Procter.