McDermott Will & Emery

International Top 30 position: 26
Asia-Pacific International 50 rank: 47

To read about this firm’s Asia Pacific practice, please click here

The Asia Pacific profile is an edited version of a full write-up that appears in The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, a comprehensive analysis of the legal market in the region that ranks the top 100 local firms and leading 50 international players by headcount. For more information and to purchase your copy please click here

McDermott Will & Emery’s 2012 results revealed a dip in profit but a rise in revenue, with global profit per equity partner dropping 2.7 per cent to $1.46m while gross revenue bumped up 3 per cent to $851m.

But the firm is clearly in expansion mode with 54 lateral partner hires in 2012, more than double that of the previous year, according to the firm’s annual global performance data.

The increase in lateral hires was partly boosted by the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf in 2012, a breakdown that triggered a hiring frenzy among US firms.

In Europe, for example, McDermott hired Dewey & LeBoeuf private equity duo Mark Davis and Russell Van Praagh for its London office, as well as a capital markets team, led by partners Philipp von Ilberg and Joseph Marx, from Dewey’s Frankfurt base.

Other hires in Europe included senior KPMG tax partner Tom Scott to the head of its London tax department and Weil Gotshal & Manges public law specialist Sabine Naugès, Jones Day of counsel Jacob Grierson and a team of three senior lawyers from Orrick Rambaud Martel to bulk up the firm’s Paris offering.

While McDermott does not break its financial results down by office, London managing partner Hugh Nineham said there was “a careful and deliberate growth initiative under way”, with private equity continuing to be a key area of focus.

Key mandates for the City office last year include advising the owner of Pom-Bear crisps, Intersnack Group, in its acquisition of Hula Hoops maker KP Snacks.

Asia Pacific

No. of lawyers: 31
Offices: 1
Headquarters: US

Most firms that jumped on the South Korea bandwagon did so from a position of having several existing offices in the region. Not McDermott Will & Emery. The Chicago-based law firm had only a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai when the Ministry of Justice granted approval for the firm to open in Seoul.

Having opened its doors within days of getting the licence, the firm has promoted its advice to multinationals on outbound investment, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, litigation, international arbitration, international trade, competition, tax, financing, restructuring, and matters involving the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The firm claims to target Korean sectors such as private equity, technology, energy and life sciences.

In 2012, McDermott had 31 lawyers in the region, including seven partners, and high expectations for South Korea. Co-chairman Jeffrey Stone has called Korea a vibrant economic market with little international law firm presence due to legal restrictions.

Meanwhile, McDermott promotes its advice to leading multinationals through its Shanghai alliance.

Briefings from McDermott Will & Emery

  • European Commission to settle half its cartel investigations in 2013

    In a speech delivered at the College of Europe in Bruges on 14 January 2013, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Commissioner responsible for Competition, stated that the Commission hopes to settle around half of its outstanding cartel investigations in 2013, using the settlement procedure instituted in July 2008.

  • New EU counterfeit goods regulation

    On 24 January 2013, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee of the European Parliament endorsed a new Regulation setting out customs procedures for goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights.

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Analysis from The Lawyer

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7 Bishopsgate

Firmwide revenue 2012 ($m): 851
Global lawyers 2011: 984
No. of lawyers (Asia Pacific): 31
Offices (Asia Pacific): 1
Headquarters (Asia Pacific): US