Continental Breakfast: your daily update on what’s happening in Europe.
European stocks have suffered their steepest decline since the aftermath of this summer’s Brexit vote amid growing fears that that a rise in U.S. interest rates is imminent.
Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Federal Reserve and a voting member of the Fed policy committee, said on Friday that a “reasonable case” can be made for a rate increase to avoid overheating the U.S. economy.
The surprise statement sent global stock markets into the red. The FTSEurofirst 300, which comprises Europe’s largest listed companies by market cap, has fallen 1.9 percent to a six week low, the FTSE 100 is down 1.5 percent and leading exchange indexes in France and Germany have tumbled more than 2 percent. Asian stocks have also been hit, while government bond yields and the price of gold have both risen as investors flock to less risky assets.
Stock markets across Europe have been in decline since the European Central Bank announced on Thursday that it was keeping interest rates at a record low of zero percent and would not be introducing fresh stimulus measures. The ECB cut rates in March as part of an unprecedented stimulus package that also saw it extend its quantitative easing program.
In legal news, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan looks set to continue its European push with the hire of a three-partner Brussels competition team from Shearman & Sterling, including practice co-head Stephen Mavroghenis.
The hires would more than double the size of Quinn Emanuel’s office in the EU capital, which opened in 2014 and currently comprises just two partners: European competition head and office managing partner Nadine Herrmann, who divides her time between Hamburg and Brussels, and competition partner Boris Bronfentrinker, who joined from claimant firm Hausfeld & Co in October 2014. (Bronfentrinker is representing 46 million British debit and credit card holders in a landmark $18.6 billion damages claim against MasterCard—the first major U.S.-style class action in the English courts following the U.K.’s introduction of new legislation allowing “opt out” collective damages claims last year.)
Quinn Emanuel has been investing heavily in its European network since it established its first continental outpost, in Mannheim, Germany, in 2012. It has since opened offices in Brussels, Hamburg, Moscow, Munich, Paris and, most recently, Zurich. The firm launched in Switzerland in May by relocating white-collar and corporate investigations partner Thomas Werlen, who joined the firm’s London office in 2012 from his role as group general counsel of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG. (A lack of large-scale transactional activity in the country means that the Swiss legal market is sparsely populated by major U.S. and U.K. firms, however. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Baker & McKenzie; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Sidley Austin; and White & Case are among the few other global firms with a presence in the country.)
Quinn Emanuel’s London office, which launched in 2008 as its first European outpost, has been particularly busy. The firm hired Clyde & Co London litigator Paul Friedman in February and DLA Piper competition head Kate Vernon in March, while James Bremen joined from Herbert Smith Freehills in June to lead its London construction practice.
Finally, Clifford Chance, Kenyan firm Anjarwalla & Khanna and Standard Chartered’s inhouse team were among the winners at the 2016 African Legal Awards.
Clifford Chance was named international law firm of the year at the event, which was hosted by Law.com’s U.K. sister title Legal Week in conjunction with the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa, while Anjarwalla & Khanna won the African law firm of the year award for the second consecutive year.
Congratulations to all the honorees.