Appointments – Bakers unveils world COO, King & Spalding’s Robert Hays is re-elected as chair

Round-up also includes HFW Dubai hire, strategic Lat Am move for Hughes Hubbard and two new Deacons partners

Kate Stonestreet and Robert Hays

Kate Stonestreet has been promoted to the role of Baker McKenzie’s global chief operating officer. Reporting to global chair Milton Cheng, she will oversee the business services functions of the global firm as well as its business services transformation project, which has the goal of improving internal and external client service in a streamlined and tech-enabled way. The London-based executive will take up the post on 1 February having served as the firm’s global director of operations with responsibility for oversight of its centres in Manila, Belfast, Buenos Aires and Tampa.

Prior to that she spent 13 years as EMEA regional operating officer, which saw her oversee office openings in Casablanca, Dubai, Istanbul and Johannesburg. She is a member of Bakers’ global diversity and inclusion committee, its global race and ethnicity task force, and co-leads its social mobility programme. “Coming from a small village in Yorkshire in the North of England and joining the Firm in a relatively junior role in Hong Kong, I am a story of what is possible at Baker McKenzie,” she said.

King & Spalding chair gets new term

Atlanta-based top 30 global firm King & Spalding has re-elected Robert Hays as its chairman for a sixth term. He began the three-year term on 1 January having stepped up to the top role in 2006. During his tenure, the firm has opened 17 offices around the world, tripling in both size and profitability and, according to the firm, ‘growing more than almost any of the other Global 50 law firms over that time’. “It’s a privilege to be re-elected as chair for another term, especially as 2020 has been such a challenging year, both personally and professionally,” he said. The firm has 1,200 lawyers in 22 offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

HFW boosts Dubai partner ranks

Dispute resolution specialist Nick Braganza has moved to HFW from Clyde & Co, joining the firm’s fraud and insolvency group in Dubai as a partner. Braganza brings with him experience in commercial disputes, with a focus on shareholder, joint venture and fraud and insolvency cases, all areas that are expected to expand as the economic effects of the pandemic bite. Additionally, he has advised on white collar crime matters, having  conducted internal and regulatory investigations in the Middle East, making him a valuable addition to HFW’s Dubai team as it approaches its fifteenth anniversary in the UAE. He spent nine years at Clydes, first as senior associate, and then a legal director. 

Reed Smith makes up 31 partners

Reed Smith has announced the promotion of 31 partners, down from 43 last year. They are located in 11 offices across the US, UK and Asia, and represent 17 practice groups; 42% are women and 22% are classed by the firm as diverse. Twenty of the new partners are based in the US, with five hailing from its Pittsburg headquarters and four from Chicago. They include Chicago-based Alexandra Lucas, who focuses on managed care litigation, and Pittsburgh’s Christopher Bouriat, a member of the labour and employment practice. Nine of the promoted lawyers are based out of London. They include: Chris Beaumont-McQuillan, who heads the London corporate real estate team, Frances Furness, a member of the energy and natural resources group, and Adam Hedley, who advises on UK, EU and international environmental, climate change and health and safety law. Hong Kong-based litigators Donald Sham and Steve Tam complete the roster.

Hughes Hubbard recruits from Veirano Advogados to secure Lat Am head

Hughes Hubbard & Reed has hired Carlos Lobo as a partner to lead its Latin America group. The corporate specialist has 25 years of experience representing clients in M&A transactions, tender offers, private equity investments and fund formation and will be based in the firm’s New York headquarters. He is moving from the Rio de Janeiro office of Brazilian firm Veirano Advogados. Four years ago, the US firm struck a cooperation agreement with Rio firm Saud Advogados as part of its strategy of growing its Latin American practice. Lobo said he was looking forward to “providing guidance with my knowledge of local markets and Brazilian law”. 

Veteran Paris Debevoise partner to head rule of law association

Paris-based Debevoise & Plimpton partner Antoine Kirry has been elected president of the Droit & Procédure association by the members of the board of directors succeeding Muriel Cadiou. Droit & Procédure focuses on continuing legal education involving the rule of law, with an emphasis on procedural matters. It proposes and reviews draft legislation, contributes to academic works and supports the practices of lawyers and other members of the legal profession. A member of the Paris and New York bars, Kirry has been a partner at Debevoise since 1996 and heads the Paris litigation practice.

Hong Kong’s Deacons adds to partner ranks

Leading Hong Kong independent law firm Deacons has elected two partners, boosting the firm’s partnership to 53. Stefano Mariani heads the firm’s tax and trusts practice at advising on Hong Kong and international tax law, including tax-efficient structuring and restructuring, and tax appeals before the Board of Review and the higher courts. IP specialist Kelley Loo is dual-qualified in both Hong Kong and New Zealand law and handles a wide range of IP work including brand clearance, trade mark prosecution and IP enforcement proceedings.