KWM loses former Mallesons London head to Seyfarth Shaw

Legacy Mallesons Stephen Jacques’ sole London partner Robert Hanley has left King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s (KWMSJB) London office, two months after the two firms formally merged.

Hanley joined Seyfarth Shaw’s London office last week as a partner in the firm’s international department. He has more than 25 years in corporate and M&A practice, advising clients on both English and Australian law. He is joined at the US firm by of counsel Jonathon Wood, who is also a former legacy Mallesons’ London office lawyer.

Hanley first joined legacy Mallesons in London in September 2008 and has been serving as the office’s partner in charge since then (22 August 2008).

He joined Mallesons from Australian firm Minter Ellison where he was the firm’s London managing partner. While he was there, Hanley worked alongside partner Darren Gardner, now the international chair of Seyfarth Shaw based in San Francisco.

Hanley will be the third partner in Seyfarth Shaw’s London office, which was opened in 2011 with the hire of former Norton Rose employment chief Peter Talibart (8 December 2010).

His is the latest of a string of senior-level departures following the 1 November merger between King & Wood Mallesons and SJ Berwin (31 July 2013). 

In Hong Kong, legacy SJ Berwin litigation partner Giovanna Kwong quit for Stephenson Harwood (16 December 2013), while in Shanghai, legacy SJ Berwin office head Philipp Senff joined Pinsent Masons as a legal director (6 January 2014).

Shanghai, Hong Kong and London are the only places where the two legacy firms had small overlaps in resources. According to the firm’s initial plan for integration, legacy SJ Berwin’s teams in Hong Kong and Shanghai are expected to move into the existing KWM offices, while KWM’s London team, which consists of about 12 lawyers and staff, are expected to relocate to SJ Berwin’s London headquarters.

Currently, only two legacy SJ Berwin Hong Kong partners, funds partners George Pinkham and Tony Gibson, remain in the combined office.

In London, the firm also suffered a raft of partner and associates departures in recent months. In November, legacy SJB real estate partner David Ryland left to join Paul Hastings (4 November 2013). In October, private equity partner Ed Harris moved to Hogan Lovells (22 October 2013). Yesterday The Lawyer revealed that private equity associate Leanne Moezi is also planning to join Hogan Lovells (16 January 2014).

Sources close to KWMSJB estimated that 10 associates have left the firm within the last year.

King & Wood Mallesons could not be reached for comments on Hanley’s departure.