The Transfer Window: Cooley hires Wilson Sonsini team as RPC names new corporate head

In a significant acquisition of corporate tech lawyers, Cooley has hired three partners in the US alongside the GC of US technology research company Gartner. Joining Cooley this week from rival Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are New York partners Adam Dinow and Sacha Ross and Washington partner Robert Sanchez. The firm has also recruited Gartner GC Daniel Peale as a partner. Peale previously worked as a partner for four years at Wilson Sonsini up until 2015.

Altogether, the group could bring $20-25m (£15-20m) in business for Cooley, which had revenue per lawyer surpassing $1.1m (£850,000) last year.

In addition, Cooley has plans to hire up to 20 more lawyers to support their business.

Meanwhile, RPC has named City partner Karen Hendy (pictured) as head of corporate. Hendy became a corporate partner at RPC in 2010, having joined the firm in 2007 from Allen & Overy. Deal highlights include advising Sports Direct International on the sale of its rights to sportswear brand Dunlop, and Four Marketing on the purchase of Agent Provocateur out of administration. She takes over from Tim Anderson, who served in the role for 15 years, and who will remain at the firm as a partner.

The news comes after RPC recently overhauled its top management, with former insurance head James Miller replacing longstanding managing partner Jonathan Watmough at the end of January.

In London, PwC Legal has hired Ashurst partner and former leader of the firm’s pensions practice Marcus Fink. His focus at PwC will be advising companies on pension issues and investment funding strategies. Head of PwC’s pensions legal practice, Oliver Reece, said: “Marcus is a key addition to our legal practice who will complement and enhance our standing in the pensions market.”  Other pensions recruits for PwC Legal include partner David Farmer from DLA Piper last year.

Withers has hired City banking and finance special counsel Xanthe Lok from Gowling WLG. Her focus is on corporate banking, acquisition and real estate finance. Prior to joining Gowling she worked for HSBC Canada in various management roles.

Blake Morgan has boosted its commercial services division with the addition of London charity lawyer Ben Brice from Bircham Dyson Bell. Brice will lead the Blake Morgan charity practice as legal director.

Elsewhere, Kirkland & Ellis has hired partner Attila Oldag from German corporate boutique Guett Olk Feldhaus. Oldag joins as a partner in the corporate team in Munich. He worked at the boutique as a partner since 2013. Prior to that, he was a counsel at Hengeler Mueller. Oldag is the latest in a series of hires for Kirkland in Germany. Other recent recruits include private equity partner Volkmar Bruckner from Weil Gotshal & Manges in May.

Simmons & Simmons has recruited two partners in Germany from Dechert and King & Spalding. Benedikt Weiser joins as a partner in its financial markets team in Frankfurt from Dechert, where he was a partner for five years. He specialises in structuring private equity, real estate, infrastructure and debt funds for institutional investors. Werner Meier has also joined the Frankfurt office as a partner from King & Spalding. Meier previously headed up the firm’s European restructuring practice. At Simmons, he will lead the German restructuring practice.

Also in Germany, Pinsent Masons has hired Wolfram Paetzold as a partner in the firm’s Munich office. Paetzold will join the real estate transaction team. Previously, he was a partner with P+P Poellath + Partners for six years.

In Paris, McDermott Will & Emery has hired partner Romain Perray from ANDCO Avocats, a French law firm specialising in technology. Perray advises on data protection and data security. He will support McDermott’s global data privacy and cybersecurity practice. Head of McDermott’s Paris and Brussels practices Jacques Buhart said: “We have been steadily growing our French and pan-European capabilities, and the addition of a data protection practitioner of Romain’s caliber will help further strengthen our local and international offering.”

Outside Europe, DAC Beachcroft has announced the hire of Edmundo Agramunt in its Santiago office. Before joining the firm Agramunt worked for global insurer MAPFRE for 23 years, acting as the company’s head of legal in Chile for 17 years.

Meanwhile, DWF has hired two partners from Clyde & Co to join its Dubai team. The new recruits are Clyde’s former international head of defence and security and corporate partner Matthew Donovan and the firm’s former Abu Dhabi head of commercial disputes James Fox. Donovan advises on M&A, private equity and commercial transactions while Fox’s focus is on domestic and international arbitration and commercial litigation. The appointments follow a series of senior hires in DWF’s Dubai office, which launched in 2015.

Separately, the firm has also recruited insurance partner Will Marshall in London from Capsticks. His practice focuses on defendant medical malpractice law.

Charles Russell Speechlys has also boosted its nascent Dubai office with the hire of dispute resolution partner Jonathan Brown from local firm Hadef & Partners. The firm opened an office in Dubai earlier this month with Brown and senior associate Raymond Kisswany, in addition to disputes partner Ghassan El Daye who joined from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) alongside three associates. The office will be led by real estate partner Simon Green, who is relocating from Qatar where he was office head.

Finally, other law firm promotions include Irwin Mitchell partner Ros Bever becoming head of family law. Bever previously led the Manchester family team, but will now head the UK-wide team, which includes 12 partners.