Move On Up: Hogan Lovells
13 February 2012 | By Joanne Harris
The 2010 merger hiked global reputation, but when London figures are taken in isolation, not much has changed in six years
The May 2010 merger between Hogan & Hartson and Lovells should, on the face of it, have created seismic change at the firms.
In London, however, there has been little drama. Lovells was by far the larger partner in the UK, and this week’s Move On Up uses figures from legacy Lovells until 1 May 2010, before switching the focus to Hogan Lovells.
The firm’s fortunes have been mixed in the six years since 1 May 2006. While there has been a consistent pattern of both promotion and lateral hiring, Hogan Lovells has also lost a large number of partners to other firms, to retirement and to other destinations. Its net gain of partners in London since May 2006 to date is therefore just 14, and although it has hired or made up 17 women, it has also lost 17.
A year of departures
2006-07 saw the most departures of the past six years. A total of 16 left the partnership between May 2006 and the end of April 2007. Of those, eight retired while six quit for other law firms. Andrew Foyle joined One Essex Court as an arbitrator and corporate partner John Davidson went in-house, becoming general counsel at SAB Miller.
The departures were set against seven promotions and six lateral hires that year, across a range of practice areas. Litigator Philip Parish became the first of four partners that were hired from Linklaters in the six-year period.
In the following year, while departures were still high at 11, the firm made up 12 partners with an even male/female split. Another three partners were hired laterally, including Linklaters’ Shelley Mottershead.
A further three laterals arrived in 2008-09, although out of these only Adam Cooke remains at the firm. Vivienne de Chermont, appointed from Debevoise & Plimpton, is now at the FSA, while former O’Melveny & Myers corporate partner Christopher Ashworth quit Lovells after less than 18 months to become general counsel at Knight Vinke Asset Management. There were no lateral hires made in 2009-10, the year
Internal promotions were steady in 2008-09 and 2009-10, with six in each year. All but two were male. Five associates were made up on 1 May 2010 as the merger took effect, and a further seven were promoted in March the following year. None of the London promotions in 2010-11 were female. Only 12 women, compared to 39 men, have been promoted to the partnership since 2006.
Departure numbers also stabilised. Lovells lost 14 partners in 2008-09 and 2009-10, again to a mix of in-house, private practice, retirement and consultant roles in the firm. A further seven quit in the first full year following the merger.
In January this year, Hogan Lovells announced eight promotions in London as part of a 35-strong worldwide promotion round. There was a slight focus on dispute resolution, with three new partners - Elaine Penrose, Ivan Shiu and arbitrator Richard Kiddell - falling into this practice area.
Four laterals have joined Hogan Lovells in London in the current financial year, all in finance and all starting work on 1 May 2011. Matthew Williams and John Deacon were hired from Hunton & Williams while Robert Fugard and Simon Gwynne completed the quartet of hires from Linklaters in the six-year period.
Eight partners have left the partnership this year. Three retired, two became consultants, corporate partner Richard Lewis left for Eversheds in December 2011 and property partner Andrew Sanders went to Berwin Leighton Paisner. Litigator Christopher Grierson has the dubious honour of being the only partner to have been sacked from Hogan Lovells, for expenses fraud.
Hogan Lovells says it has a “robust process” for managing partners and seeks to manage its partnership actively. It cites the consultant role as an example of this, as a transition between partnership and retirement.
Promotionsand senior hires
Sahira Khwaja, IP partner
Khwaja was made up in January 2012 as part of Hogan Lovells’ most recent promotion round
Shelley Mottershead, banking partner
Mottershead joined Lovells in 2007, one of four from Linklaters in the past six years
Hugh Nineham, corporate partner
Nineham left Lovells in 2008 to join McDermott Will & Emery as European corporate head. He is nowLondon managing partner of the US firm
Ben Higson, corporate partner
Made up in 2009, Higson has led a cross-border team advising Citi Infrastructure Investors on a major Australian deal