Squire Sanders Forms Indonesia Alliance: Business of Law

Squire Sanders and the Indonesian law firm Melli Darsa & Co. are forming an alliance to share a joint platform for business development and legal services in Indonesia and international markets.

“This alliance is a logical next step for the firm as we seek to support our clients who do business in Indonesia and across the Asia Pacific region,” James J. Maiwurm, chief executive officer and chairman of Squire Sanders, said in a statement. “We are seeing increasing investment in Indonesia from countries such as China, Japan and Korea, and with our presence in all of those locations, and our desire to offer extensive, integrated regional coverage, it was clear that Indonesia was a missing link.”

Ignatius Hwang, managing partner of Squire Sanders’s Singapore office, said the firm saw a growing demand for local law expertise in Indonesia, particularly in energy, natural resources and infrastructure matters.

The new alliance will operate under the name “Melli Darsa & Co. in strategic alliance with Squire Sanders.”

Melli Darsa & Co., established in 2002, has 33 lawyers with experience in capital markets and securities, M&A, corporate finance and banking, project finance, anti-competition, commercial law and litigation.

The firm’s founder and managing partner, Melli Darsa, holds a law degree from the University of Indonesia and a Master of Law degree from Harvard Law School. She has practiced in Indonesia since 1990 and is admitted in New York.

“We are operating in a dynamic economy where our clients are increasingly looking to establish their businesses in international markets,” Darsa said in a statement. “Squire Sanders’s impressive global presence and depth of experience in countries where our clients wish to do business is compelling, and its strength in infrastructure and natural resources were key to our decision to enter into an alliance with the firm.”

Squire Sanders has approximately 1,300 lawyers in 39 offices and 19 countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Former Trial Lawyer and Politician Edwards Opens Law Office

Former presidential candidate John Edwards is returning to a career in law by starting a plaintiffs’ firm with his former partner, David F. Kirby, the firm said today in a statement.

Edwards Kirby will also employ his daughter, Cate Edwards, whose Washington firm, Edwards & Eubanks, will become the Raleigh, North Carolina-based firm’s Washington office.

The firm will focus on civil rights, public safety and product safety, health care and medical liability, according to the statement.

“We want to take on cases that, through litigation, change social inequalities in favor of the greater good,” Edwards said in the statement.

The firm’s opening was earlier reported by the New York times.

Edwards, a former U.S. senator, was cleared of campaign-finance crimes last year after he was accused of using illegal campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair. He was found not guilty on one count and the judge declared a mistrial on five others.

Edwards, a Democrat who was U.S. Senator John Kerry’s running mate in the 2004 presidential election, was charged with using illegal campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair while seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

Edwards, who made his fortune as a personal-injury lawyer, entered politics two years after the death of his 16-year-old son, Wade, in an automobile accident by defeating Republican U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth of North Carolina in 1998. He served one term in the Senate before seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2004 presidential election, eventually signing on as Kerry’s running mate.


London Restructuring Lawyer Howard Morris Joins MoFo in London

Dentons partner Howard Morris, the former co-CEO of SNR Denton and previously chairman of legacy U.K. law firm Denton Wilde Sapte, has joined Morrison & Foerster LLP as head of the business restructuring and insolvency group in London.

Morris’s practice will focus on cross-border and pan-European transactions and insolvency proceedings. He has experience in restructuring and insolvency matters as well as a background in banking and finance.

“The growth of our business restructuring and insolvency group is a key component of MoFo’s strategic development,” Gary Lee, chairman of Morrison & Foerster’s restructuring group, said in a statement. “The addition of Howard comes at a crucial time with significant levels of corporate debt still to be restructured across the U.K. and more widely in Europe. His experience and track record make him the ideal individual to head this group in London.”

Among Morrison & Foerster’s recent global restructuring and insolvency cases are representation of Residential Capital LLC, as the debtor in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

“Morrison & Foerster’s terrific global reputation, coupled with the global scale of its market leading restructuring and insolvency practice, make the firm the obvious choice for me,” Morris said in a statement.

Morrison & Foerster has more than 1,000 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Hogan Lovells Adds Los Angeles Corporate Partner Trio

A longstanding corporate transactional team from Kaye Scholer LLP is joining Hogan Lovells LLP’s Los Angeles office.

Los Angeles corporate and mergers and acquisitions partner Barry Dastin, media and entertainment partner Sheri Jeffrey and corporate and M&A partner Russ Cashdan, who join is Los Angeles, have worked together as a team for more than fifteen years.

“The profile and experience this group brings to our Los Angeles office are precisely what we are focused upon at Hogan Lovells,” Warren Gorrell, Co-CEO of Hogan Lovells, said in a statement. “Barry, Sheri, and Russ will complement our firmwide corporate transactional group, increasing both our breadth and depth on the West Coast, and their cross-border and domestic practices will integrate well with our global practice.”

Dastin and Cashdan have experience handling corporate transactions, including representation of boards of directors, special committees and investment banks.

Jeffrey has experience in entertainment transactional matters, as lead outside counsel in the legal management of major theatrical motion pictures, television programming and the interplay between media and new technologies, the firm said. She has been lead counsel in the development, distribution and financing, and worldwide exploitation of theatrical motion pictures including “Argo,” “The Departed,” “Hugo,” “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York.”

Hogan Lovells has more than 2,500 lawyers in 40 offices in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Thompson Hine Brings on New York Securities Litigation Partner

Thompson Hine LLP announced that securities litigator Tammy Bieber joined the New York office as a partner in the business litigation practice. She was previously a partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Bieber has represented auditors, issuers and investment funds in shareholder litigation and government and internal investigations. Most recently, she handled several Madoff-related matters, including representing Sterling Stamos Capital Management LP in connection with the Picard v. Katz clawback action, the firm said.

She also previously worked as a senior legal adviser to the Chief Accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Bieber consulted on policy issues affecting the audit and accounting professions and participated in rulemaking, enforcement proceedings and congressional testimony, the firm said.

“The addition of Tammy to our New York office increases the depth of our litigation practice here and further enhances the firm’s national securities bench,” Katherine D. Brandt, partner-in-charge of the firm’s New York office, said in a statement. “With intensified scrutiny by the SEC, regulatory enforcement has increased. Securities litigation is a growing practice area for our firm, and we have been looking to add to our expertise in this area.”

Thompson Hine has lawyers at offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, New York and Washington.

Finance Partner Marcus Returns to Weil Gotshal in Dallas Office

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP announced that Courtney Solcher Marcus has rejoined the firm as a partner in the global finance practice, based in the Dallas office. She was most recently a partner of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, a member of Norton Rose Fulbright, in Dallas.

Marcus has experience representing investors in financing transactions, including leveraged acquisition and recapitalization transactions, bridge and mezzanine financing, cash flow and asset-based lending, debtor-in-possession financing, and loan restructurings and workouts.

“Her broad experience in financing matters will be of enormous benefit to our clients, many of whom already know and respect Courtney,” Weil executive partner Barry Wolf said in a statement. “As a former Weil partner, she knows the firm’s culture and, in particular, the talents of the partners in the Dallas office and throughout the firm.”

Weil has approximately 1,200 lawyers at 21 offices worldwide, 10 of which are in the U.S.

Global Asset Finance Lawyer Joins White & Case in New York

White & Case LLP added to its global asset finance practice with the hiring of Ji Hoon Hong as a partner in New York. He joins from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Hong’s practice focuses on aviation-related structured debt capital markets transactions. In the mid-1990s, He was integral to the creation of the Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificate product, the firm said. His experience also includes advising clients on aviation-related asset-backed securitizations, other asset class finance transactions, equity and debt capital markets transactions, sovereign debt restructurings and general corporate matters.

White & Case’s global asset finance practice includes more than 70 lawyers in New York, London and elsewhere. Over the past 10 years, the firm helped structure and execute more than $70 billion in aircraft, equipment and facility finance transactions, according to a firm statement.

White & Case has lawyers in 40 offices in 27 countries.


U.S. Tax Firm Expands in Europe by Linking with French Law Firm

U.S. tax firm WTAS is joining an 80-lawyer French business-law firm to create a tax and legal services company in a model it hopes to expand across Europe and beyond.

WTAS Global, the international unit of WTAS, is acquiring the Paris-based law firm STC Partners, which has annual revenue of 19 million euros, the firm said in a statement.

STC Partners provides full-service tax and legal advice to wealthy French families and their businesses, as well as locally based investment and private equity firms.

Led by co-managing partners Herve-Antoine Couderc and David de Pariente, STC Partners will continue to operate autonomously and eventually rebrand itself WTAS France.

“It’s the big four and then major law firms and almost no alternative for more of a boutique practice that would have coverage across the continent,” Mark Vorsatz, CEO of WTAS LLC said in a phone interview. “Our vision for a business model is that we’ll go to market on legal and tax services rather than accounting and that will change the dynamic.”

This is WTAS Global’s second acquisition in Europe. The firm first expanded into the European market in June 2013 when it joined forces with PrimeTax AG, a tax-only firm based in Switzerland.

In addition to tax services, STC Partners works with companies on national or cross-border transactions. The firm advises private and family groups, their shareholders and executives as well as the management teams of major company groups on shareholding structures.

WTAS Global is in talks with several other law firms in European countries and expects to have two or three acquisitions in Europe next year.

“We think we can be an alternative and will gain momentum as we build out in Europe,” Vorsatz said.


News Corp. Lawyer Says He Never Gave Legal Opinion on Hacking

A top lawyer at News Corp. tabloids told jurors that he was never asked to give an opinion on the legality of phone hacking and was assured that it only took place at the News of the World.

Justin Walford, who has worked at News Corp.’s U.K. unit since 2005, said yesterday that he was told that phone hacking didn’t take place at the company’s daily Sun tabloid. He also praised two of the tabloid editors on trial in the case, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.

Brooks “was a demanding editor,” said Walford, who worked with the 45-year-old Brooks while she was editor of the Sun. “She was passionate about the paper. We had many an argument about what went into the paper.”

Brooks, who later became chief executive officer of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, and the 45-year-old Coulson are among eight people on trial over phone hacking and bribes to public officials. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World in 2011 to defuse a scandal over revelations that journalists had hacked the phone of a missing teenager, who was later found murdered.

News of the World was the center of phone-hacking allegations. Journalists at the Sun are accused of paying bribes for stories.

Walford said that as a lawyer he didn’t try to find out the name of the source for stories.

“Editors will push the lawyer to agree the copy they have let into the paper,” he said. “But I have never felt undue financial pressure or anything like that.”

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