KWM’s new London office will be located in the “Walkie-Talkie” building. Photo: Gary Campbell-Hall

 

King & Wood Mallesons has named litigation partner Darren Roiser as its new London office managing partner.

The appointment comes as the firm prepares to move into new offices on the 11th floor of 20 Fenchurch St., better known as the “Walkie-Talkie” building, a move the firm said is designed to accommodate growth, primarily in its corporate, banking and finance, and disputes practices.

Roiser, who will serve a three-year term, previously led the London office’s investigations and fraud practice. He made partner in 2016 after joining from Slaughter and May in 2011.

Last year, he played a key role in the establishment of a “hardship” fund set up to support former KWM staff affected by the collapse of the firm’s former European arm, which raised more than £100,000 ($130,000).

In his new position, Roiser said he hopes both “to grow the London practice and further deepen client relationships.”

The firm is also bringing three new partners into its London base, which Roiser said “underlines KWM’s commitment to, and ongoing investment in, our London practice.”

Financial services regulatory partner Alix Prentice is joining from Withers, where she spent two years after moving over from Taylor Wessing, while the London base is also being strengthened by the relocation of foreign investments specialist Mark Schaub and arbitration and white-collar partner Meg Utterback, who are both moving to the U.K. from KWM’s Shanghai office.

The firm’s London operation now has about 10 permanent partners, with a handful of others splitting their time between the U.K. and elsewhere, according to the firm’s website.

Last year, KWM’s Europe and Middle East (EUME) arm filed for administration in what was the biggest-ever U.K. law firm collapse, although it subsequently relaunched a new EUME operation led by a group of partners, including Roiser, who agreed to stay on with the firm in the wake of the collapse of the legacy SJ Berwin business.

KWM made a series of lateral hires in 2017, bringing corporate partner Hui Zhao into its Frankfurt office as well as Latham & Watkins finance and restructuring counsel Daniel Ehret, while in August it appointed China M&A partner Wang Rongkang as its new EUME managing partner.

In July, the firm also named tax structuring partner Ruediger Knopf as the new head of its German operation. Knopf is a founding member of the German office, which he has helped to build out during the past year.