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Wake Up Call: PwC Aims to Double Size of U.K. Legal Unit

Jan. 14, 2022, 1:54 PM

In today’s column, bankruptcy attorneys had a slow 2021, but they expect more demand from a 2022 “liquidity crisis”; Elevate, the ALSP that prefers to be called a “law company,” got approval to provide legal services in Arizona; Crowell associates got Cravath-level year-end bonuses, but no special bonuses.

  • Leading off, accounting giant PwC plans a “huge amount of investment” to double the size of its U.K. legal branch in the next three to four years, says the unit’s chief, Teresa Owusu-Adjei. A longtime financial services tax partner, she was appointed to lead the legal unit last year. ( International)
  • Chapter 11 filings plunged last year, but bankruptcy practice leaders say they’re anticipating a pickup in demand later this year, as distressed clients and private equity clients with distressed portfolio companies face a liquidity crisis. (American Lawyer) Houston is getting an increasing number of Chapter 11 protection cases, as bankruptcy lawyers steer cases into their favorite courts. (Financial Times)
  • After beginning the day’s proceedings in-person, a Georgia county superior court judge switched the rest of his calendar to all virtual proceedings. The “abrupt” change, which the judge attributed to Covid-19 safety concerns, caught some attorneys unprepared. (Daily Report Online) Jones Day, representing a California hospital system in a $400 million antitrust suit, said in a filing that any remote trial for their client would be “unfair.” (Reuters)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Crowell & Morning matched Cravath-scale bonuses for associates, running up to $115,000 depending on seniority, but it hasn’t added Davis Polk-scale special bonuses. (Above The Law)
  • Arizona’s Supreme Court authorized alternative legal services company Elevate Services Inc. to provide legal services in the state under the state’s recent regulatory change allowing nonlawyers to own law firms. (Reuters)
  • A Virginia regional personal injury law firm created out of a 2019 merger is divorcing back into two separate firms. (Richmond BizSense)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Allen & Overy poached Norton Rose Fulbright financial services head of disputes for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Michael Godden, who was at the firm earlier in his career. He rejoins as a partner in London; McGuirewoods grabbed Foley & Lardner antitrust litigator Holden Brooks in Chicago as a partner, the firm’s fifth hire in January; Dechert got back leveraged finance partner Alon Goldberger as a partner in Philadelphia. He was an associate at Dechert earlier in his career and returns from Stroock; Greenspoon Marder recruited former Florida Bar President Tod Aronovitz as trial partner in Fort Lauderdale; Wilson Elser brought in former first assistant prosecutor for New Jersey Morris County Thomas Zelante as of counsel in Florham Park. (
  • Holland & Knight hired food and agricultural lobbyist Peter Tabor in Washington as a senior policy adviser. He had several roles in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including plant division director in its foreign agriculture service. He was recently an executive at the Pet Food Institute, a lobby; Cozen O’Connor’s public strategies unit recruited Heidi Hertz, former Virginia Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, as principal in Richmond; former Missouri Democratic Congressman Lacy Clay, now a policy adviser at Pillsbury Winthrop in Washington, registered as a foreign agent representing a Korean industrial complex. (Politico)
  • Tucson, Arizona-based aerospace and defense company Applied Energetics, Inc. hired its longtime outside counsel, veteran Big Law attorney Mary O’Hara, as general counsel and chief legal officer. O’Hara has experience in securities, corporate and commercial law, worked at Norton Rose Fullbright and Mayer Brown, and arrives recently from Masur Griffitts Avidor; U.K. bookstore chain Waterstones hired in-house veteran Elisabeth Sullivan as its next general counsel. She was group legal manager at chemical multinational INEOS Group Ltd. ( International)


  • Jones Walker elected its chief diversity officer, partner Richard Cortizas, to its board of directors, and re-elected business transactions partner Rivers Lelong to the board, both to four-year terms. It also elected 10 new partners; Wiggin and Dana said it promoted its New York-based director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Jana Simon, to chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, putting her on the firm’s senior management team. (

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at