KWM announces raft of changes; Big merger on the cards for two US firms

King & Wood Mallesons makes some strategic changes… another big law firm merger could be on the way… Freshfields launches global support network for LGBT staff and community…Kirkland & Ellis expands Asian offering….

King & Wood Mallesons makes some strategic changes
KWM has announced some appointments and relocations of some of its specialist partners. Cross-border debt and equity capital markets specialist Hao Zhou has been appointed as a partner in the Hong Kong office, while the New York office will have a stronger team for its international funds market clients as George Pinkham and Managing Associate Parik Dasgupta move from hong Kong and Lonson respectively in October. The firm has already made some other geographical changes for lawyers and says it is part of a strategy to give a broader knowledge of cultural and regulatory differences and to create a team that is confident working across borders.
Another multinational powerhouse could be on the way
In one of the biggest mergers since the formation of Squire Patton Boggs, two US law firms are in talks about potentially joining forces. Bingham McCutcheon and Morgan Lewis & Bockius would become a top 10 firm if the deal goes ahead and would have a workforce of over 2000 lawyers globally. Reports earlier this year suggested Binghams were seeking a merger partner.
Freshfields launch international support network for LGBT staff
Freshfields has launched a new network offering support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Freshfields Champions network will work across the firm internationally and will extend from staff to friends, family and the wider community. Litigation partner John Blain is one of five senior supporters of the new network and says that when people feel comfortable in their workplace they are happier and more likely to fulfil their potential. Freshfields has a long track record in supporting its LGBT staff, with the firm ranked by LGBT charity Stonewall as a key employer of choice in its Workplace Equality Index.
Kirkland & Ellis hires restructuring head from Hogan Lovells
Kirkland & Ellis has hired Neil McDonald from Hogan Lovells’ Hong Kong office to add further strength to the top 10 firm’s Asia team. McDonald has good connections in the region and will be a valuable addition to Kirkland which has made a strong commitment to the region including a new Beijing office.

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