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Wake Up Call: KPMG Law Plans to Double Headcount by 2024 in U.K.

May 5, 2022, 12:56 PM

In today’s column, Quinn is offering “hot lunches” to get its London lawyers back into the office; U.S. law firm leasing slowed in the first quarter; President Biden will appoint a Mastercard top lawyer to his intelligence advisory board.

  • Leading off, the U.K. legal services unit of Big Four accounting firm KPMG plans to add 220 attorneys, doubling in size by 2024. The new hires will include 45 partners and directors and see the unit’s total number of practicing attorneys climb to over 400. The expansion is part of KPMG UK’s 300 million pound ($373 million) growth strategy, the firm said. (KPMG UK)
  • The U.K. has said it will prohibit accounting, consultancy and public relations companies from providing services to Russian clients, as part of a tightening of sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. For now, it appears lawyers can continue working for Russians. (The Guardian)
  • Quinn Emanuel’s push to get its London lawyers to spend over half their working week in the office includes “hot lunches” and “re-engagement.” (The Lawyer) Meanwhile, big U.K. firm Stephenson Harwood is reportedly telling lawyers they can work at home full-time, if they take a 20% pay cut. (Roll on Friday)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • U.S. law firm office leasing volume for transactions above 20,000 feet slowed in the first quarter, although it was well-above lows hit early in the pandemic, new data show. Los Angeles saw the most demand in the quarter, with seven transactions completed, accounting for 26% of national law firm leasing activity by square footage, Savills reported. (Savills.us)
  • White & Case reportedly opened a three-floor, 25,000 square foot office in Hong Kong, where office rents have fallen 27% from their peak in late 2021. (South Morning China Post)
  • The White House said President Biden will appoint Mastercard top lawyer and global public policy head Richard Verma, former ambassador to India, to the his intelligence advisory board. (WhiteHouse.gov)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Greenberg Traurig grabbed a two-shareholder energy project team from Mintz Levin, including Audrey Louison, former co-chair of Mintz’s projects & infrastructure practice, joining in Washington. Former Mintz partner Eric Macaux joins in Boston; Sidley Austin partner and litigation group co-leader Yvette Ostolaza took over as the firm’s management committee chair on May 2; Covington & Burling said its former Washington-based financial services partner of six years, Michael Reed, returned to the firm in New York. He arrives after about two years at WSFS Bank, where he was executive vice president and chief risk officer; Paul Hastings’ London-based partner and global vice chair of M&A, Roger Barron, joined Eversheds Sutherland as senior M&A adviser. He earlier spent close to 27 years at Linklaters; Orrick picked up London-based tech venture capital and M&A attorney Pete Sugden as a partner. He arrives from U.K. firm RPC. (Orrick)
  • Dentons added litigation and dispute resolution partners Angel Cortiñas and Jonathan Kaskel in Miami. They were previously shareholders at Gunster Law Firm where Cortiñas was a board member and appellate group co-chair. Cortiñas is now Dentons’ Miami office managing partner; Nixon Peabody snagged Epstein Becker & Green health care and litigation attorney Jonah Retzinger in Los Angeles as a partner; Buchalter hired Davis Wright Tremaine labor and employment litigator Leah Lively as a shareholder in Portland, Oregon; DLA Piper brought in Polsinelli intellectual property attorney Melissa Harwood as a partner in Seattle. (DLAPiper.com)
  • Withers recruited Frick Collection general counsel Alison Lonshein as a special counsel in New York on its U.S. charities and philanthropy team; WarnerMedia Studios’ general counsel and executive vice president John Rogovin, former Big Law partner and FCC top lawyer, is the latest executive to leave Warners Brothers Discovery after the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery last month. (Deadline) (Variety); Centre, a blockchain-standard setting consortium founded by crypto company Coinbase Global, Inc., and payment tech company Circle Internet Financial named former Paul Weiss financial litigator attorney Rebecca Cohen as its new general counsel. She was recently associate GC at Worldcoin. (Yahoo! Finance)

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