Duane Morris to Open Shanghai Office: Business of Law

Duane Morris LLP is establishing a five-lawyer office in Shanghai through Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, its joint law venture in Asia, which will have an emphasis on facilitating outbound investment for Chinese corporations.

Leon Yee, managing director of Duane Morris & Selvam, will be the chief representative of the new office. He will be joined by Chong Eng Wee, an associate director in Singapore.

The office is the third international opening for Duane Morris in the past year. Last March, the firm opened its first Middle East outpost through a joint venture in Oman with the Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi Law Firm in Muscat. In September, it established a presence in Myanmar, formerly Burma.

“Our launch in China builds upon the firm’s substantial growth and successes in Asia during the past several years, as well as our extensive experience handling China-focused matters for numerous multinational companies,” Duane Morris Chairman John Soroko said in a statement. “It is our intent to be a key facilitator of Chinese companies seeking to invest abroad.”

The firm is awaiting approval from the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Justice to open its foreign representative office.

“Though our emphasis has been on Southeast Asian markets since the formation of Duane Morris & Selvam, we’ve heard from clients repeatedly that they wanted us to provide an avenue into China,” Yee said in a statement.

Duane Morris LLP has more than 700 attorneys in offices across the U.S. and internationally.

Moves

Real Estate Lawyer Shapiro Joins McDermott in Los Angeles

McDermott Will & Emery LLP said real estate practitioner Lynn Anne Shapiro joined the firm’s Los Angeles office as a partner. She was previously at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Shapiro’s practice focuses on complex real estate transactions, including in industries such as health and energy and the hospitality industry.

“Many of our clients, including Asian and other international investors, are actively expanding their West Coast real estate operations and having another seasoned real estate lawyer on the team in Los Angeles will be enormously helpful,” David Goldman, head of the international corporate advisory practice group, said in a statement.

McDermott has more than 1,100 lawyers at offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Latham & Watkins Adds Corporate Partner in Spain

Latham & Watkins LLP announced two new partners. Ignacio Balana joined the Madrid office in the corporate department from Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira.

Nick Benson will join the firm’s London office as a partner in the private equity group from the private funds group at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Balana has experience advising on M&A deals and has represented private-equity firms and funds on cross-border matters. He also has experience advising on joint ventures, restructurings and general commercial matters. 

“Since we launched in the Spanish market we have remained focused on high end corporate work, and Ignacio’s skills and experience are very complementary to our corporate practice in Spain and more broadly in Europe,” Jose Luis Blanco, office managing partner of Latham & Watkins in Spain, said in a statement.

Benson has advised sponsors and investors on the establishment and operation of private equity, infrastructure and real estate funds.

“Adding a private funds lawyer of Nick’s caliber is a natural extension for our market-leading private equity practice and will also be a significant addition to our global funds team,” Nick Cline, Latham & Watkins’s London office managing partner, said in a statement.

Latham & Watkins has about 2,100 lawyers in offices in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.

Greenberg Traurig Expands in New York with Patton Boggs Partner

Wendy Li joined Greenberg Traurig LLP as a shareholder in the corporate and securities and financial regulatory and compliance practices. She was previously a partner in the New York office of Patton Boggs LLP.

Li focuses her practice on matters related to banking and bank regulation, securities, mergers and acquisitions, funds, and educational law. She frequently represents Asian companies, including banks, and international education institutions doing business in the U.S., the firm said.

“Wendy adds depth and a significant dimension to our regulatory and transactional capabilities in New York and around the world,” Richard A. Rosenbaum, chief executive officer of Greenberg Traurig, said in a statement.

Greenberg Traurig has about 1,750 attorneys at 36 offices in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Roetzel Adds White-Collar and Corporate Compliance Partner

Roetzel & Andress said Nicole Hughes Waid, former chief of the Fort Myers Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, joined the firm as a partner in the white-collar litigation and corporate compliance practice group.

As chief of the Fort Myers Division, Waid directed teams investigating complex white-collar fraud cases, including bank, mortgage and health-care fraud, as well as public corruption and Ponzi schemes.

Previously, Waid was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where she was assigned to the National Security Section, prosecuting cases involving terrorism and national security. She also prosecuted violent crimes and narcotics cases and supervised staffs of attorneys as chief of the General Crimes Section and deputy chief of the Grand Jury/Intake Section.

Roetzel has more than 220 attorneys in offices in Ohio, Florida, Chicago, New York and Washington.

Litigator Catalano Joins Nelson Mullins in Nashville

James P. Catalano joined Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in its Nashville, Tennessee, office. He was previously a partner at Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC.

Catalano is involved in commercial and business litigation, construction law, health-care law, premises liability, product liability, professional liability and transportation law, the firm said.

Nelson Mullins has more than 500 attorneys and other professionals at its U.S. offices.

Former N.Y. State County Court Judge Joins Barket Marion

David J. Ayres, who worked for almost a decade as a Nassau County, New York, judge and as an acting justice of the Nassau County Supreme Court, was appointed managing partner at Barket Marion Epstein & Kearon LLP, a New York-based firm. He will be based in the Garden City office.

“He will oversee the firm’s day-to-day operations and he will represent clients in state and federal court,” Bruce Barket, founding partner at the firm, said in a statement. “He will also play an integral role in our long-term strategic planning and business development.”

Barket Marion is a white-collar criminal defense and civil litigation law firm with offices in Garden City, Long Island and New York City.

M&A Lawyer Mikhail Semyonov Joins Baker Botts in Moscow

Mergers and acquisitions lawyer Mikhail Semyonov joined Baker Botts LLP as a global projects partner in its Moscow office. He was previously counsel with the Moscow office of Linklaters LLP.

Semyonov spent more than 11 years representing clients in M&A and energy transactions in Russia and has experience in the establishment of joint ventures for both Russia-based and international clients. In the past two years, he has advised multinational energy clients on investments in the oil and gas industry in Russia, the firm said. 

“Mikhail enhances our strength in providing counsel to clients on complex M&A transactions,” Maxim Levinson, partner in charge of the Moscow office for Baker Botts, said in a statement.

Semyonov recently advised Rosneft OAO on development agreements with Exxon Mobil Corp. and Statoil ASA. He also advised Gazprom OAO on its acquisition of Sibneft and Huadian Power International Corp., one of China’s state-owned electricity producers, on a power-plant joint venture in Russia, the firm said.

In addition to his M&A and joint-venture work, Semyonov’s practice includes providing corporate and transactional guidance to clients such as Unilever, Inchcape and PepsiCo.

Baker Botts has about 700 lawyers at 15 offices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in New York at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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