Australia member firm Hall & Wilcox extends its appreciation for the messages of support received from fellow SCG Legal firms regarding the recent Australian bushfires. The firm is providing pro bono support to communities and people affected by the bushfires. The firm recently launched a market-leading digital solution to simplify the Australian visa process and help its clients overcome the common problem of tracking the visa status of workers. The firm’s work visa platform is a unique offering that helps make the business visa process easier, more efficient and transparent.

Jordan Gleason has joined Louisiana member firm Adams and Reese as a government affairs advisor in the firm’s Baton Rouge office. Mr. Gleason previously served as government affairs and communications director for the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. Previously, he served as press secretary and legislative assistant for former Congressman Charles Boustany in Washington, D.C. Mr. Gleason began his political career as press assistant in Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s administration, ultimately becoming deputy director of legislative affairs.

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SCG Legal’s board of directors has named Alina Gorokhovsky its new CEO, effective April 1, 2020. With more than 20 years of experience in the U.S. and internationally, Ms. Gorokhovsky has built and led creative service-oriented marketing and business development campaigns, developed and executed global strategic plans, managed law firm mergers and acquisitions and designed innovative brand initiatives. She joins SCG Legal from District of Columbia member firm Wiley. Prior to Wiley, she was chief strategy officer for McKenna Long & Aldridge (now Dentons), where she led all merger and acquisition efforts, lateral growth strategy, marketing, business development, public relations, social media, client service and strategic efforts. Ms. Gorokhovsky began her career in the legal industry as a business development director in Europe and the former Soviet Union for Baker & McKenzie. She has also worked in a senior business development position in Washington and London for Pillsbury Winthrop. Commenting on Ms. Gorokhoksky’s appointment, SCG Legal Chairman Thad Morgan of Michigan member firm Fraser Trebilcock said, “SCG Legal finds itself at a seminal point in its history. Our membership is strong, our resources, financial and human, are plentiful and our prospects are boundless. In short, we are fortunate to have a solid foundation on which to continue to build. Alina is a builder. She has the talent, clear-sightedness and energy with which to take us into the future and position us for still greater accomplishments. I know I speak for the board and our member attorneys everywhere that we look forward to this new chapter in SCG Legal’s history with Alina at the helm.” As one of the legal industry’s first chief strategy officers, Ms. Gorokhovsky is known to be a tactical thought leader, skilled in identifying opportunities for significant return on investment through new business initiatives and services. Working globally, she has managed large-scale projects, complex client engagements, and facilitated more than 200 corporate and law firm retreats, conferences and events in the U.S., Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.K. She can be reached at agorokhovsky@scglegal.com or by cell at (443) 928-4039.

Portugal Member Firm CARDIGOS to Host 2020 Midyear Meeting
May 7th and 8th are the dates – and Lisbon will be the site of SCG Legal’s 2020 midyear meeting. Hosted by Portugal member firm CARDIGOS, the 2020 midyear gathering will feature presentations on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, legal issues in the travel and hospitality industries, the aftermath of Brexit, doing business in Portugal, and international arbitration issues, among others. The meeting will also provide ample opportunity for networking and sightseeing in one of the most dynamic and culturally exciting cities in the world, including a visit to Palácio da Fronteira for the meeting’s closing banquet. This is one SCG Legal gathering you surely won’t want to miss. Arrangements have been made for SCG Legal’s guests to stay at the Altis Grand Hotel at a rate of 190€ per night for single accommodations and 210€ for double accommodations. Watch your email for updates about the meeting in the coming weeks. To register now, click here.

With the U.K. now officially having left the E.U., England member firm Mills & Reeve has published several articles on its website aimed at informing SCG Legal member firms of the impact of the decision, including an examination of the key features of the second iteration of the bill to implement Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement, the impact of Brexit on public procurement, Brexit and IP, and a joint article with Australia member firm Hall & Wilcox on Learning from the Australian Points-based Immigration System. Also at Mills & Reeve, the firm launched divorce.co.uk, providing divorcing couples a wealth of information to help them and their children through separation and divorce. 

District of Columbia member firm Wiley Rein has reflagged itself as Wiley and has unveiled a new website, logo and color scheme. It has also migrated from the .com to the .law Internet domain, becoming the first Am Law 200 firm to do so. Managing Partner Peter Shields said the change is intended not only to highlight the practice areas for which it is already renowned, such as telecom, media and technology, election law and government ethics, government contracts, international trade and litigation, but also its emerging practices in the areas of cybersecurity, unmanned aircraft systems, privacy, fintech and FTC regulation.

Germany member firm GvW Graf von Westphalen has named Karsten Kujath, Felix Wolf and Dr. Andreas Wolowski equity partners. Mr. Kujath focuses his practice on employment law. Mr. Wolf advises German and international clients in purchasing and selling businesses, financing rounds and joint ventures, as well as in corporate law. He is also an expert in Franco-German legal matters and heads the firm’s French desk. Dr. Wolowski specializes in administrative law, with an emphasis on public construction law. In addition, Martin Knoll, Birgit Lotz, Stephen-Oliver Nündel and Johannes Räther have been appointed associate partners. Messrs. Knoll and Räther are members of the firm’s construction and real estate practice. Ms. Lotz specializes in public contracting law and in advising the healthcare sector. Mr. Nündel is a litigator whose practice focuses primarily on prospectus liability and directors’ and officers’ liability and compliance. Finally, Ming Yi has joined the firm’s China practice as its newest local partner.

Connecticut member firm Robinson & Cole’s manufacturing industry team chair, Jeffrey White, has been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve a two-year term on the Connecticut District Export Council. DECs are made up of business and trade experts who volunteer to help U.S. companies develop solid export strategies. Appointment to the DEC is based upon an individual’s international trade leadership, ability to influence the local environment for exporting, knowledge of day-to-day international operations, interest in export development, and willingness and ability to devote time to council-related activities. Also at Robinson & Cole, Joey Lee Miranda has been selected by Client Choice as the exclusive 2020 winner in the energy and natural resources category for Connecticut for the second year in a row. Established in 2005, Client Choice recognizes those law firms and partners around the world that stand apart for the excellent client care they provide. Ms. Miranda’s practice focuses on energy, telecommunications, and water matters, including litigation, transactional and regulatory representation, and counseling.

Manitoba member firm Taylor McCaffrey has named Patrick Rykes, Jessica Schofield and Ryan Turner partners in the firm. Mr. Rykes focuses his practice on civil litigation; Ms. Schofield, on civil litigation and family law; and Mr. Turner, on corporate and commercial law.  

Athar Malik, Avery Saunders, Gordon Behan, Karen Ngan and Katie Mak have been named partners at British Columbia member firm Clark Wilson. Mr. Malik’s practice is focused on intellectual property. He is also a registered trademark agent in Canada. Mr. Saunders focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, corporate amalgamations and other business combinations for private companies. Mr. Behan provides estate litigation services, including wills variation claims, executor and trustee compensation, breach of fiduciary duty, elder law, testamentary capacity claims, undue influence claims, and unjust enrichment claims. Ms. Ngan practices in the areas of commercial real estate and general business law. She is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Finally, Ms. Mak advises companies in commercial distress, creditors in recovering debt and trustees and monitors in restructuring proceedings. She has represented clients before the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Also at Clark Wilson, Zakhir Nathoo has joined the firm as an associate. His practice is focused on purchases and sales of businesses, private equity finance transactions, professional services agreements, shareholder and partnership agreements, debt financings, corporate governance, and general corporate and commercial matters.

Al Axe, Keith Courtney, Lisa Dyar, Derek Seal and Lecelle Clarke have joined Texas member firm McGinnis Lochridge in its Austin office. All five focus their practice on environmental law, including permitting, enforcement, site assessment, remediation, and compliance. Mr. Axe brings more than 40 years of experience representing business and industrial clients in environmental and administrative litigation, regulatory, and legislative matters. Mr. Courtney has more than 32 years of experience representing clients on various environmental matters, with an emphasis on air quality. Ms. Dyar has been practicing environmental law for more than 20 years, representing clients regarding permitting, compliance and enforcement, legislative and rulemaking objectives. Mr. Seal brings almost three decades of regulatory and legislative experience to the firm, having served in numerous administrative and legislative positions, including as general counsel of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Finally, Ms. Clarke served as an assistant attorney general in the environmental protection division of the office of the Texas Attorney General. Mr. Axe, Mr. Courtney, Ms. Dyar and Mr. Seal join as partners; Ms. Clarke, as an associate. Also at McGinnis Lochridge, April Lucas and Felicity Fowler have been named Top Women in Texas 2019 Super Lawyers. Ms. Lucas has also been recognized as a “rising star,” as has Lindsey Roskopf. Finally, Nelia Robbi has received the 2020 Joseph C. Parker Jr. Diversity Award by the Austin Bar Association. Named in honor of the first African-American president of the Austin Bar Association the award is presented to a firm or attorney that brings diversity to Austin’s legal community, following the path created by Mr. Parker and exemplifying all he stood for.

Singapore member firm CNPLaw’s corporate advisory team ended 2019 and started 2020 strong with the completion of three private equity transactions. The first involved its representation of one of Japan’s leading fresh produce distributors in its investment of over S$30 million in a Singapore company; the second, a Hong Kong-listed pharmaceutical company in its investment of S$2 million in a Singapore biotechnology company; and the third, a Singapore biotechnology company in its series B funding of S$15 million from US and Japanese venture capital firms. Leading the team was Ken Chia, assisted by Hazel Ho and Muhammad Parasuram. Managing Partner Lisa Theng also assisted in the transactions. Also at CNPLaw, seven of its practices (labor and employment, capital markets, corporate and mergers and acquisitions, financial services regulatory, banking and finance, dispute resolution and investment funds) and ten of its lawyers (Pradeep Kumar Singh, Bill Jamieson, Tan Min-Li, Stephen Soh, Ken Chia,  Amit Dhume, Quek Li Fei, Subramanian Pillai, See Tow Soo Ling and Mike Chiam) have been recommended by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020.

Jason Harley and Alisha Hurley have joined Alberta member firm Field Law as associates. Mr. Hurley previously served 17 years as an Edmonton police officer. He will focus his practice on professional regulation and labor and employment. Ms. Hurley has over 15 years’ experience in professional regulatory work, as well as general litigation with a focus on commercial matters.  

Scott Schuette has joined Kentucky member firm McBrayer in its Lexington office. Mr. Schuette previously was a staff attorney in the Fayette Circuit Court for the Honorable John Reynolds and the Honorable Julie Muth Goodman. He will join the firm’s litigation department, where he will focus his work on construction law, eminent domain, dispute resolution and general litigation issues. Mr. Schuette is a graduate of Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law.

Jean Kordenbrock has joined Michigan member firm Fraser Trebilcock in its Lansing office. Ms. Kordenbrock’s practice focuses on government affairs, nonprofits and campaign finance. She has consulted with federal and state government officials on such matters as ballot initiatives, millage campaigns, and grassroots advocacy campaigns in Michigan. Previously, Ms. Kordenbrock served as legal counsel to the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and was appointed by former Michigan Governor John Engler to head the Michigan Women’s Commission’s department of civil rights, where she was responsible for all commission activities and program initiatives.

Stephen Frost of Thailand member firm Bangkok International Associates has prepared a briefing paper on recent changes in Thai law from a foreign investor’s perspective. To read the report in its entirety, click here.

John Jennings, III, of Colorado member firm Ireland Stapleton has been appointed to Denver’s Liquor Common Consumption Work Group. The work group is charged with developing agency rules and hearing procedures for the licensure of common consumption areas and the creation of entertainment districts in the City and County of Denver. In his practice, Mr. Jennings advises clients in regulated industries on licensing, permitting, zoning, compliance, government enforcement actions, and investigations. Prior to joining the firm, he was hearings manager for Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses. 

Josh Taylor, a senior associate on New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams’ national dispute resolution team has been named a “rising star” on the inaugural New Zealand Lawyer Rising Stars List 2020. The list recognizes standouts in the legal profession who have demonstrated leadership and exceptional achievement early in their legal careers. As well as his work at the firm, he also contributes to the legal industry as a member of the disciplinary tribunal for the Canterbury Rugby Football Union and as a volunteer at Community Law Canterbury.

Robert Eisenberg, Alexandra DiCenzo and John Shrives of Ontario member firm WeirFoulds have authored “Goodbye to ‘Ghost Hotels’: Tribunal Upholds City of Toronto’s Efforts to Regulate Short-Term Rentals,” an analysis of changes being made in Toronto’s zoning regulations with respect to permitting short-term rentals. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Peter Kumpe and David Powell have joined Arkansas member Rose Law Firm in of counsel roles. Mr. Kumpe is listed in Best Lawyers under antitrust law, commercial litigation and bet-the-company litigation; in Chambers USA, as a “leader” in general commercial litigation; and in Mid-South Super Lawyers in business litigation, class action/mass torts and antitrust litigation. Mr. Powell is listed in Best Lawyers under commercial litigation, construction law, bet-the-company litigation, franchise law, international arbitration and professional malpractice law; in Chambers USA, as a “leader” in commercial litigation; and in Mid-South Super Lawyers, in business litigation, construction litigation and professional liability defense.

Jessica Southwick has rejoined Pennsylvania member firm Eckert Seamans as an associate in the professional liability group in the firm’s Philadelphia office. A litigator and regulatory attorney, she focuses her practice on the healthcare industry, representing physicians and healthcare networks facing medical malpractice claims. Ms. Southwick is a graduate of the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

“I consider myself tremendously fortunate to have been alive and a lawyer when society finally was ready to recognize women as equal in stature as men.”
 – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at a ceremony on January 30, 2020, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.,
where she was presented with the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award.

Law Firm Revenue Growth Expected to Slow This Year, Report Says
While revenue at U.S. law firms grew 4.6% in 2019, law firm management expects that figure will decline slightly to 4.4% this year, according to a report released this month by Wells Fargo Private Bank. Net income for the 150 law firms Wells Fargo surveyed was up 3.9% from the prior year and demand grew 1.4%. The 2019 results lagged well behind 2018’s, when law firms turned in a decade-best performance and saw revenue grow nearly 6% and net income surge 7.6%. The 50 largest firms reported 6.7% revenue growth while Am Law 200 firms grew their top-line figure at 3.6% from the prior year. In a separate report also released this month, Thomson Reuters said demand growth, measured by hours billed, for full-year 2019 was 1%, which was the same as in 2018. The report also said law firm billable rates grew 4% in 2019, which was the highest rate since 2011.
 
Gap between Associate and Equity Partner Representation for Women, Minority and LGBTQ+ Attorneys Persists, Study Finds
Progress on diversity and inclusion at major law firms has failed to advance into the partnership ranks, largely because many career-enhancing opportunities, such as origination credit and a firm’s non-billable activities, aren’t meaningfully tracked, according to a study by legal diversity organizations Diversity Lab and ChIP. While there has been progress, it also found that women and minority attorneys have not yet broken into the equity partner ranks at meaningful levels. Just 7% of the law firms surveyed met or exceeded the equity partner gender threshold, while 43% met the nonequity threshold. Regarding race, 17% of firms met the equity partner goal and 30% met or exceeded the nonequity goal. LGBTQ+ attorneys fared the worst, with just 8% of firms hitting the 5% threshold. Although women and minority partners are still underrepresented in the equity tier, the firms reported signs of improvement: 63% of firms reported an increase in women equity partners, 54% reported an increase in minority equity partners, and 27% reported an increase in LBGTQ+ equity partners.

Women Led One-Third of Fortune 500 Legal Departments in 2019
Fifty-six lawyers were appointed to a new enterprise general counsel or chief legal officer role in the Fortune 500 last year, John Gilmore, co-founder and managing partner of legal search firm BarkerGilmore, said in a blog post last month. Approximately 10% of law departments in the Fortune 500 experience a leadership change each year. BarkerGilmore unearthed several other indicators of what a successful applicant for legal chief looks like, most notably that 30 of the 56 new hires in 2019 were women or minorities; that 25 of the 56 appointees were women, of which 15 were promoted from within and 10 were hired externally; and that 20 of the new women appointees replaced outgoing male GCs. BarkerGilmore said the statistics show there is no one common thread for ascending to the top of the law department ladder, noting that abilities not found on a resume, such as cultural fit, gravitas, leadership, and mentorship, are critical in making such decisions.

Survey Finds Money Alone Won’t Buy Partner Loyalty
Despite what many believe, dissatisfaction with compensation is not the principal reason partners leave their law firms, according to a new survey of more than 1,300 lateral partners. According to the recently released 2020 Lateral Partner Satisfaction Survey by legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa and legal market researcher Acritas, the top reason, cited by 44% of lateral partners, is lack of confidence in firm management and strategy. The next most-often cited reasons were a lack of support to build their practice (35%), dislike of their firm’s culture (31%) and compensation (31%). Respondents were permitted to choose more than one factor. Asked to rank on a 1-to-5 scale the importance of factors that influenced their choice of a new firm, the top factor was practice area support, with a ranking of 4.41, followed by firm culture (4.30), personality of partners (4.16), good management (4.10), the firm’s financial health (4.10) and anticipated compensation (3.71). Despite assigning compensation a lower priority, more than two-thirds of partners who left acknowledged receiving a hike in compensation at their new firm.