King & Wood Mallesons.
King & Wood Mallesons. (Courtesy photo)

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has confirmed the names of 17 partners who have agreed to stay on with the firm in the wake of the administration of its European, UK and Middle East (EUME) business.

As previously reported by London-based Legal Week, seven partners will stay on to maintain a London presence for the firm, covering corporate, finance and disputes, as well as a three-partner Frankfurt team (see full list below).

In addition, KWM will also retain a four-partner base in Dubai, led by Tim Taylor QC, alongside corporate partner Sandeep Dhama, disputes partner Ghassan El Daye and international arbitration partner Joanne Strain.

Taylor ran for the position of EUME senior partner in last year’s elections but was beaten by corporate partner Michael Cziesla. Cziesla has since left to join McDermott Will & Emery.

The firm will also keep a two-partner operation in Saudi Arabia, where it has operated via an exclusive association with the Law Office of Majed Almarshad since 2014. The two partners staffing the base are corporate partners Majed Almarshad, who launched the Riyadh operation after relocating from Dubai in 2014, and Glenn Lovell, who joined from Al Tamimi & Company in July last year.

New York-based funds partner George Pinkham, the founder of legacy SJ Berwin’s Paris office and former SJB Hong Kong head, will also remain with the firm. He moved out to New York in 2014, amid a push by KWM to investigate opportunities in the U.S.

KWM’s Madrid and Milan offices – both of which operate as legally separate entities to the EUME business – are also expected to stay with the firm. The Madrid office consists of 11 partners, while Milan comprises five partners and five counsel. The firm’s Brussels office, which has just one partner, Ramon Garcia-Gallardo, is also expected to join the new EUME platform as an affiliated office, while it is understood that one Paris partner is in discussions to remain with the firm.

In total, the new operation will have more than 30 partners, alongside associates and support staff.

KWM global chairman Wang Junfeng (pictured above) said: “I am proud and excited by the determination of our partners who have worked so hard with us to realise this practice in deeply challenging circumstances. This is a very good outcome for international clients and for the continued development of our firm.”

KWM’s European arm filed for administration Tuesday, officially calling time on the legacy SJ Berwin business, once one of the UK’s top 15 law firms.

Legal Week reported that the firm would retain a presence in all of its existing Europe’s offices, with the exception of Luxembourg and Munich. A source close to the matter said that once KWM Europe has filed for administration, a recently established English LLP will change its name to King & Wood Mallesons LLP and take over the business from administration. KWM Deutschland LLP was established in December.

The deal is between the partners and the China arm of KWM, and has not involved the Australian arm of the business.

EUME managing partner Tim Bednall sent an all-staff email Tuesday, setting out the details of the move into administration and apologising to staff.

The firm’s administrator, Quantuma, has confirmed that there will be redundancies as a result of the process.

Quantuma artners Andrew Hosking said: ”We are examining the position closely and exploring ways forward with a view to achieving the best possible return for creditors. Regrettably, there will be redundancies but at this stage it is still too early to specify how many. A small number of employees will be retained for a period to help with the administration.”

It also emerged yesterday that London construction partner Julia Court has joined Addleshaw Goddard. She will be reunited with four KWM partners hired by the firm last year. Elsewhere, Mishcon de Reya has hired another KWM partner with the addition of London disputes partner Nicola Bridge, following the firm’s hire of litigation partner Shaistah Akhtar, who joined Mishcon last week.

Full list of partners confirmed as staying with KWM

London
Joseph Newitt – corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial
Greg Stonefield – corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial
Mike Wang – corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial
Vanessa Docherty – derivatives and structured products, banking and finance, debt capital markets
Dorothy Murray – dispute resolution and litigation
Darren Roiser – dispute resolution and litigation
Andrei Yakovlev – dispute resolution and litigation

Frankfurt
Christian Cornett – corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial
Rudolf Haas – banking and finance, corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial
Ruediger Knopf – tax, projects, energy and resources

Dubai
Sandeep Dhama – corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial
Ghassan El Daye – dispute resolution and litigation
Joanne Strain – international arbitration
Tim Taylor QC – international arbitration

Riyadh
Majed Almarshad – corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial
Glenn Lovell – corporate, private equity, M&A and commercial

New York
George Pinkham – corporate, private funds


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