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Wake Up Call: A&O ‘Freezes’ London Associate Pay, Cites Economy

July 1, 2022, 12:28 PM

In today’s column, venture capital funding rounds for legal tech plunged in the year’s second quarter; three Big Law firms are having a tough time breaking free of Russian bank clients; Dentons grabbed an eight-lawyer corporate team from EY’s legal unit in Singapore.

  • Leading off, in a possible sign that London’s talent market is cooling, Allen & Overy told associates in the city they’ll have to wait on a pay raise, Roll On Friday reported. The firm, which typically reviews pay in the summer, twice hiked its London junior lawyers’ salaries last year amidst a fierce talent competition. In an email it told lawyers that “after careful consideration of the market and with economic conditions becoming more challenging” it had “decided not to increase associate spot salaries at this time.” (Roll On Friday)
  • Although two of its Magic Circle rivals have bumped London associate pay to 125,000 pounds ($150,762) this year, A&O said it’s keeping its rate at 107,500 pounds, which it set in November 2021. (Law.com International)
  • Legal tech venture capital funding rounds plunged in 2022’s second quarter to 78 rounds for a total $1.33 billion, down from 115 rounds for $1.75 billion in the first quarter. The quarter’s number of rounds is the lowest since late 2018, according to this report. (Artificial Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • White & Case, Debevoise & Plimpton, and Latham & Watkins have been trying for months to withdraw as counsel for Russian banks that were sanctioned after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They’re finding it’s complicated. (Law.com International)
  • Dentons and Dechert both renewed their leases at Nuveen Real Estate’s 1900 K Street, a 361,200-square-foot office building in Washington for at least 10 years. (Commercial Observer)
  • The Biden administration’s nominee for U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, E. Martin Estrada, reported taking in nearly $4 million in compensation as a partner at Munger Tolles since the spring of 2021. Estrada, a government investigations and commercial litigation attorney, included the information in his mandatory ethics disclosure as a nominee. (Reuters)
  • A judge gave a greenlight to a creditor bankruptcy lawsuit that could spell trouble for the former private equity owners of Toys R Us and for the private equity model itself, this report says. (Axios)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher said its London office is getting Linklaters private equity finance attorney Daniel Gendron as a partner; Mayer Brown’s London office brought in Katten Muchin corporate and securities attorney Paul Rosen as a partner on its private equity team; Dentons’ Singapore branch said it hired an eight-lawyer corporate team from Ernst & Young’s law practice in the city, Atlas Asia Law Corporation. The group includes three partners, two of whom are returning to Dentons, and five associates. (Dentons.Rodyk.com)
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit appointed longtime Kramer Levin bankruptcy and restructuring partner Philip Bentley a bankruptcy judge for the Southern District of New York. He starts Sept. 7; Hunton Andrews Kurth picked up Shearman & Sterling project development and finance attorney Christian Rudloff as counsel in New York. He advises on international energy and infrastructure projects and transactions with a particular focus on Latin America; Buchalter added two shareholders in California from Best Best & Krieger. Real estate shareholder Peggy Hosking joined its Los Angeles and Orange County offices and insolvency shareholder Caroline Djang joined in Orange County. (Buchalter.com)
  • Kansas-based Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling, LLC hired Armstrong Teasdale employment partner Ramona Palmer-Eason as general counsel; Magic Eden, a marketplace for nonfungible tokens, said it hired Fenwick & West corporate associate Joseph Doll as general counsel; SES AI Corporation, which makes rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and other applications, promoted its vice president for legal, Kyle Pilkington, to chief legal officer, to replace the retiring Joanne Ban. Pilkington, a former Big Law attorney in Singapore, Sydney, and New York, arrived to SES in April from International Game Technology, where he was associate GC for US governance and securities. (Businesswire)

Programming Note

  • Wake Up Call won’t publish on Monday, July 4, in observance of the federal holiday. We will resume our normal weekday production schedule on Tuesday, July 5.

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com