Three more partners quit DLA Piper’s Asia practice

DLA Piper has suffered three more partner departures in Asia Pacific, two in Hong Kong and one who recently transferred from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Jolyon Ellwood-Russell has left for Simmons & Simmons, Giovanni Marino has moved to US firm Winston & Strawn and Ben Sandstad, who joined DLA from Mayer Brown JSM a year ago (22 July 2013), is understood to have moved in-house to Standard Chartered Bank.

The departures come after DLA last month lost Hong Kong corporate partner Esther Leung to Chinese firm Jun He (23 June 2014). Her move came a month after a four-lawyer team led by Asia corporate head Mabel Lui also went to Winston (2 May 2014). Lui left alongside local partner Daniel Tang, of counsel Polly Chu and associate Natalie Tsang.

Sandstad is the most senior of the latest departures, having led Mayer Brown JSM’s Asia structured finance practice prior to joining DLA. Dual-qualified in Hong Kong and Australia he was previously a partner at Australian firm Clayton Utz and as an associate spent time at Linkalters. He transferred to DLA’s Singapore office at the end of last year.

Ellwood-Russell, who has been at DLA since 1999, was promoted to the firm’s Asia-Pacific partnership in 2011 (18 April 2011). 

A finance lawyer, he specialises in debt finance and structured trade and commodity finance. A post on his Facebook page confirmed his move to Simmons, saying: “Good memories at DLA but bring on new life at Simmons & Simmons in Hong Kong.”

Marino, meanwhile, is already listed as an attorney on Winston’s website. The corporate and commercial lawyer joined DLA in Hong Kong in 2003 and made partner in 2006. Prior to that he had a spell at the Asian Development Bank in Manila and also has experience working in Vietnam, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China.

At the end of last year DLA revamped its Asia management structure, putting in place an Asia advisory committee made up of San Diego-based global co-CEO Terry O’Malley and Americas co-chair Jay Rains, and Australia managing partner Andrew Darwin. They took over leadership responsibility from then Asia Pacific managing director Bob Charlton with the aim of increasing integration between the firm’s US and Asia practices (18 December 2013). 

DLA’s website now lists 24 partners in its Hong Kong practice, with one of those also listed in Silicon Valley and another also listed in Bangkok. 

The firm confirmed the latest departures but declined to comment further. Standard Chartered declined to comment on Sandstad’s appointment.