Specialist planning and environmental partner Meg Lee has joined Australia member firm Hall & Wilcox in its Melbourne office. Her appointment builds on the firm’s renowned national property and projects and public sector practices. In addition, the firm’s dispute resolution, sports law, insurance, investment funds, financial services regulation, tax and employment practice areas have been ranked in Chambers Asia Pacific 2020. Finally, led by partner Matt McDonald, the firm successfully represented the victims of the Garvoc St. Patrick’s Day bushfire in the state of Victoria in a compensation case involving Australian electricity distribution company Powercor.   

Trevor Batty, Jennifer Marshall, Scott Matheson and Marc Yu have been named partners in Alberta member firm Field Law. Mr. Batty is a member of the firm’s collections, bankruptcy and insolvency practice, advising clients on the complexities of insolvency and restructuring processes. Ms. Marshall is a corporate, commercial, and securities lawyer, helping clients navigate complex legal issues, including mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings and reorganizations. A litigator, Mr. Scott helps his clients secure practical solutions to prevent and mitigate future issues. Finally, Mr. Yu focuses his practice on health and privacy matters, including medical malpractice defense.

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Louisiana member firm Adams and Reese has elected Timothy Volpe to chair the firm’s executive committee, effective this month. Mr. Volpe’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, insurance litigation and insurance industry matters, including the formation, reorganization, purchase and sale of insurance companies and agencies. Joining Mr. Volpe as new members of the executive committee are Edwin Lazier and James McLaren Jr. A seasoned litigator, Mr. Laizer has represented clients in the insurance, energy, marine, transportation, construction and commercial arenas, advising on insurance coverage issues and handling sophisticated coverage litigation. Mr. McLaren advises on middle-market mergers and acquisitions and finance transactions. Also at Adams and Reese, the following have been named partners: Michael Berson, who focuses his practice on government relations, economic development and city, county and local government law; Lyndey Bryant, who advises business owners and their management teams in complex commercial litigation, as well as arbitration and administrative proceedings; Matthew Copeland, who focuses on representing large public companies, private businesses and individuals in commercial disputes and tort litigation; Adam Griffin, whose practice is focused primarily on civil litigation, as well as advisory work related to data privacy and security; Grant Guillot, who advises companies that provide unmanned aircraft system services, as well as companies operating in industries that use drones, such as construction, energy, oil and gas, forestry, agriculture, public safety, telecommunications, transportation and logistics; Matthew Guy, whose practice focuses on litigating matters on behalf of businesses in the marine construction, maritime, marine and energy insurance and global oil and gas industries; Craig Lawrence, Jr., who represents clients on commercial real estate matters including acquisitions, building lease transactions, dispositions, financings, ground lease transactions and due diligence; G. Robert Parrott II, who handles commercial litigation and bankruptcy matters for clients in Louisiana and Mississippi; and Maia Woodhouse, who concentrates her practice on trademark, trade dress, patent, trade secret and copyright disputes, with a primary focus on litigation and enforcement.
 
Douglas Paul and Emily Franco have joined Texas member firm McGinnis Lochridge in its estate and probate practice group as partner and associate, respectively. Mr. Paul focuses his practice on estate planning using trusts, family business entities, and life insurance. He also teaches an estate planning course for the University of Texas financial planning certificate program. Mr. Paul received his M.B.A. from Louisiana State University School of Business and his J.D. from the Louisiana State University School of Law. Ms. Franco advises clients on estate planning and probate issues. She is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. Also at McGinnis Lochridge, Martha Todd and Travis Vickery have been named partners in the firm. Ms. Todd focuses her practice on corporate and securities law, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. She has extensive experience working with technology and biotechnology clients, venture capital and private equity funds, and financial advisors. She was awarded her J.D. by the University of Texas School of law. An administrative law attorney, Mr. Vickery specializes in utility, natural resources, environmental and commercial cases. He previously served as an administrative law judge at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings, conducting hearings and mediations on electric and water utility matters. Mr. Vickery is a University of Texas School of Law graduate.
 
Theresa Roetter has joined Wisconsin member firm DeWitt in its Madison office as an equity partner in its family law practice. Ms. Roetter specializes in assisted reproduction, adoption, guardianship, and LGBT law. She drafts and negotiates gestational surrogacy agreements as well as sperm and egg donation agreements and has established parentage in many Wisconsin counties. Ms. Roetter earned her J.D. at Marquette University Law School. She is also a fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. Also at DeWitt, Eli Van Camp has been named partner. Mr. Van Camp is a trial attorney, focusing on intellectual property and business litigation. He received his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law, where he served as editor in chief of the Oregon Review of International Law.
 
David Hittinger, Jr. has joined Pennsylvania member firm Eckert Seamans as a member of the firm’s business division in its Harrisburg office. He focuses his practice on business counseling, gaming, hospitality and regulated substances. Before joining the firm, Mr. Hittinger served 11 years in the Office of Chief Counsel at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, advising the board on all aspects of the implementation and regulation of legalized casino gaming in Pennsylvania. He received his J.D. from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law. Also at Eckert Seamans, Lauren Burge has joined the firm as a utilities and telecommunications associate in its Pittsburgh office. Previously, Ms. Burge served as an assistant consumer advocate in the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, representing utility consumers before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in cases involving electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utilities. She was awarded her J.D. by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
 
Michigan member firm Fraser Trebilcock has re-elected Michael Perry to his third consecutive term as president of the firm. In addition, Mark Kellogg was re-elected to the board of directors, where he will serve as vice president, and Marlaine Teahan was elected to the board of directors, where she will serve as secretary-treasurer. Also at Fraser Trebilcock, Shaina Reed has been elected an equity shareholder. Ms. Reed is a litigator with experience in insurance defense, commercial litigation, probate litigation, and employment disputes. She twice received jury verdicts of “no cause” in favor of her clients on multimillion dollar claims, secured early dismissals through successful motion practice, and regularly negotiates favorable settlements after thorough and effective discovery. She is also active in the Michigan legal community, chairing the general liability section of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, serving on the court rules committee for the probate and estate planning section of the State Bar of Michigan, and participating as a committee member in the Women Lawyers’ Association, as well as the Greater Lansing Arts Council. Selected a Michigan “rising star” by Super Lawyers in the area of civil litigation every year since 2014, Ms. Reed is a graduate of the John Marshall School of Law.
 
Stephen Frost of Thailand member firm Bangkok International Associates has authored an article on taxes and fees arising on mergers and acquisitions in Thailand by way of share or asset purchases, which will no doubt prove useful to any member attorney involved in such transactions in Thailand. A copy of the article can be obtained by clicking here.
 
Eduardo Sotelo Cauduro has been named partner at Mexico member firm Sánchez Devanny, effective this month. He is a member of the firm’s international trade and customs practice. Mr. Sotelo focuses his practice on advising domestic and international companies on their international trade and customs operations, free trade agreements and anti-dumping laws, as well as on regulatory and operational matters. In addition, he has extensive experience litigating international trade and customs matters, NAFTA verifications of origin, tariff classification, rules of origin, export controls, import and export regimes, and has extensive knowledge of non-tariff regulations and restrictions. Mr. Sotelo completed his legal education at Universidad Iberoamericana.
 
Rhode Island member firm Adler Pollock & Sheehan has named Hamza Chaudary, Leslie Parker and Brenna Force as shareholders of the firm, effective this month. Mr. Chaudary focuses his practice on real estate, land use and zoning matters, including all phases of development and permitting. He completed his legal education at Washington and Lee School of Law. A member of the firm’s litigation practice, Ms. Parker focuses on commercial matters and healthcare law. She also has significant experience advising cannabis clients on the legal and regulatory framework relevant to conducting a legal cannabis business, including issues of licensing, litigation, and regulatory compliance. Ms. Parker is a graduate of Boston College Law School. Finally, Ms. Force focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts across multiple jurisdictions. She has extensive experience representing businesses in claims involving banking, class actions, intellectual property, shareholder disputes, employment, vendor disputes, consumer protection, and torts. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School. Also at Adler Pollock & Sheehan, Steve Geanacopoulos this month transitioned from shareholder to senior counsel status with the firm. Mr. Geanacopoulos has been a member of the firm for the last 32 years, a partner for 29, and chair of the corporate department for 15. John Russell has been named to succeed Mr. Geanacopoulos as corporate department chair. Mr. Russell focuses his practice on representing clients in corporate and business law matters, mergers and acquisitions, commercial real estate transactions, loan transactions, land use and zoning matters, commercial and public finance, and tax law. He received his J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law and his LL.M. in tax law from Boston University School of Law.

Ontario member firm WeirFoulds has named Nadia Chiesa a partner in the firm, effective this month. Ms. Chiesa joined the commercial litigation practice group as an associate in 2011, after working at the firm as a summer student and articling student. She has since been building a highly successful practice focused on Caribbean and offshore law, and frequently represents clients before all courts in the Caribbean. Ms. Chiesa also regularly appears before all courts in Ontario and is active in the commercial litigation bar in Ontario. She was awarded her J.D. by Osgoode Hall Law School. Also at WeirFoulds, Steven Rukavina led a team of Richard Arezes and Christina Tereshyn of the firm’s commercial real estate group and Adrian Howard of its private equity group representing Knightstone Capital Management in its recent acquisition of the Sheraton Gateway Hotel located in Terminal 3 of Toronto Pearson International Airport from an affiliate of Marriott International for approximately $130 million. Finally, Glenn Ackerley, Lisa Borsook, and Bryan Finlay, QC, have once again been listed in the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada. Mr. Ackerley is recognized in the construction law category; Ms. Borsook, in the property leasing category; and Mr. Finlay, in the litigation, corporate commercial category.
 
Cinda Sim and Wong Pei-Ling have been named partners at Singapore member firm CNPLaw, bringing the total number of partners in the firm to 18. A conveyancing lawyer, Ms. Sim has been in the thick of many “breakthroughs” in Singapore real estate law, including the collective sales trend of private estates, the birth of executive condominiums in Singapore, and the conversion of land in Singapore – once largely unregistered – to the Torrens system of land registration. She graduated from the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore. Ms. Wong advises clients with Malaysian and Singaporean interests on cross-border transactions, joint ventures, investments, and commercial and technology agreements. She is qualified to practice law in Singapore and Malaysia and was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1996. Previously, she was head of legal and compliance for a Malaysian business outsourcing company with clients across Asia, the United States and Europe.
 
Connecticut member firm Robinson & Cole has named Taylor Shea partner and promoted Nathaniel Arden, Jonathan Schaefer, Cara Vecchione, and Anna Jinhua Wang to counsel, effective this month. Ms. Shea represents privately and publicly held companies in all aspects of corporate and transactional law, including commercial finance transactions, private equity and venture capital transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate and commercial matters. Mr. Arden advises hospitals, health systems, physician groups, community providers, and other health care entities on a variety of health law and business issues. Mr. Schaefer focuses his practice on environmental compliance counseling, permitting, site remediation, occupational health and safety, energy regulatory compliance and siting, and litigation related to federal and state regulatory programs. Ms. Vecchione focuses her practice on complex insurance coverage litigation and counseling. Finally, Ms. Wang assists clients with capital markets and securities law, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters.
 
Adrienn Tar has been named partner at Hungary member firm Szecskay Attorneys at Law, effective this month. She will head the firm’s corporate practice. Ms. Tar’s clients include start-ups, as well as large multinational firms, including such longtime firm clients as public transportation company Arriva Hungary, consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser, and information technology services provider New Frontier. She received her J.D. from the Eötvös Loránd University Law Faculty.
 
Netherlands member firm Van Benthem & Keulen is the recipient of this year’s MT:1000 Best Service Provider Award in the legal and notary category. The MT:1000 survey is conducted by the research office of Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Erasmus Center for Business Innovation) on behalf of Management Team. Respondents were asked to rate Van Benthem & Keulen on a scale of one to ten: “How likely is it that you would recommend Van Benthem & Keulen to a friend or colleague?” Based on the answers, the net promoter score was calculated, which forms the basis for MT:1000 rankings. In addition, clients were asked to rate the firm’s performance on three substantive criteria: customer focus, product leadership and quality of execution. Respondents were only permitted to rate companies with which they had had direct business contacts in the past three years.

“As long as our governments are seen as legitimate, rules established through a democratic process
could add more legitimacy and trust than rules defined by companies alone.
There are a number of areas where I believe governments establishing clearer rules
would be helpful, including around elections, harmful content, privacy, and data portability.
I’ve called for new regulation in these areas and over the next decade I hope we get clearer rules for the internet”

 – From Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s annual letter, outlining his goals
not just for the next 12 months, but the next 10 years, released January 9, 2020.

Adapt or Die, Report Warns Law Firms
Changes to the legal market over the past year carry significant risks for law firms that fail to adapt, according to a new study on the state of the industry. Issued by the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center, Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute and Peer Monitor, the report said key trends include the changing role of clients, the emergence of non-law firm legal competition and law firm innovation in response to those shifts. The report observed that in the dozen years since the Great Recession clients have taken “decisive” control of the legal market, recruiting more competitively for outside counsel and requiring law firms to operate more cost effectively and accountably, with stricter budgeting and billing. The report’s authors found that clients are moving more work in-house, and increasingly relying “on legal operations professionals to manage outside counsel relations,” while creating “virtual teams” of attorneys from multiple firms to handle projects. These “revolutionary changes,” the report warned, “will likely erode future performance if firms fail to take account of a new model for law firm services that appears to be rapidly emerging.” To read the report in its entirety, click here.
 
NALP Report Finds Progress on Law Firm Diversity Slow
Black lawyers comprised 4.8% of associates in 2019, which is the highest figure since 2009 when they were 4.7% of all associates, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement. That recovery is one of only a very few bright spots in NALP’s latest “Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms,” which includes data on partners and associates in nearly 1,000 law firm offices. The associate ranks saw the biggest diversity gains, with the percentage of minorities increasing 1.2% to 25.4% in 2019, much of it attributable to increases among Asian American lawyers. The percentage of women associates increased for the fourth straight year, finishing at 46.8% for the year — the highest percentage in the 27 years that NALP has been collecting these data. The percentage of minority women in associate positions increased 1% since last year, to 14.5%. But the partner ranks saw fewer diversity gains, according to NALP. The percentage of minority partners grew less than a half of a percentage point in 2019, to 9.6%. That figure fell to just 7.6% when looking only at minority equity partners. And women partners went from 23.3% in 2018 to 24.2% in 2019, and now comprise 20.3% of equity partners. But the percentage of black partners remains disappointingly low, at 2%; in 2017 and 2017, that figure was 1.8%.

Law Firm Marketers Assume Bigger Strategic Role, Survey Shows
Marketing and business development professionals are shifting into more strategic roles at large law firms, spurring data-driven decisions and more intrafirm collaboration, according to a new survey from LexisNexis. The report from the legal information giant’s InterAction marketing unit found that more than half of marketing and business development leaders are responsible for firm growth planning and tracking, while 20% of those professionals have a seat on their firm’s management committee. The survey found that 56% of these leaders have a stake in growth planning. More than 60% of respondents to the survey agreed that they are now recognized as their law firms’ expert advisers who drive strategic outcomes. Their access to and use of data to guide decision-making is another sign of their enhanced role. That’s driven by a growing recognition that the way law firms have historically done business, based on selling via relationships, is no longer enough. The results in the 2019 Law Firm Marketing and Business Development Survey come from 103 legal marketing and business development leaders, including 40 Am Law 100 chief marketing officers or chief business development officers.