Ropes & Gray Hong Kong managing partner leads four-partner team exit to Gibson Dunn

Hong Kong-Article-201609010624

Ropes & Gray Hong Kong managing partner Paul Boltz has left the firm with a team of three other partners to join US rival Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

Corporate partners Brian Schwarzwalder and Michael Nicklin and private equity partner Scott Jalowayski are joining Boltz in the move to Gibson Dunn.

According to a source familiar with the matter, a number of associates are also set to leave Ropes with the partners.

Jalowayski, Schwarzwalder and Boltz joined Ropes from Morrison & Foerster. Jalowayski and Schwarzwalder both made their move in 2008 when they opened the Hong Kong office for the Boston-based firm, while Boltz joined the following year. Nicklin arrived at Ropes in 2011 from Weil Gotshal & Manges, where he was a London partner.

The departures from Ropes in Hong Kong follow that of former disputes partner Patrick Sinclair last week. Sinclair joined Davis Polk & Wardwell this week to expand its US law government enforcement and investigations practice. Earlier this year, funds partner Geoffrey Chan left to launch an Asia funds practice for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Slate.

In an unrelated move,  it emerged earlier this year that around 100 lawyers and staff are poised to leave Ropes within the next few months, as the US firm prepares to spin off its patent prosecution practice into an independent firm.

The move by Ropes represents a major restructuring of the firm’s intellectual property (IP) practice, the bulk of which stems from its 2004 acquisition of 160-lawyer IP boutique Fish & Neave.

Joseph Guiliano, co-head of Ropes & Gray’s IP rights management practice in New York, will lead the as-yet-unnamed new firm.