KWM gives backing to London, plans growth

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King & Wood Mallesons has made its commitment to its London office clear with relocation for both the office and several partners.

The office, which was launched by the Chinese partnership following the failure of the former European arm of the verein, will be relocating to larger offices in London’s prestigious “Walkie Talkie” building to enable room for growth.

It also has a new leader, managing partner for the London office Darren Roiser, who also runs the city’s investigations and fraud practice.

He will be joined by two partners who are relocating from KWM Shanghai; Mark Schaub, who was the first foreign lawyer to join the firm back in 2000; and Meg Utterback, who has been with KWM for 8 years and is a former office managing partner for Pillsbury in Shanghai.

Also joining the London office in a lateral hire is partner Alix Prentice who joins from Withers.

“I am delighted to take on the role of Managing Partner but also humbled by the support I have received from my Partners in London and across the wider KWM network. The move to the new office together with the addition of three outstanding and experienced partners, with their strong international and Chinese connections, underlines KWM’s commitment to and on-going investment in our London practice,” commented Roiser.

Increased headcount helps “exceptional growth” at Kennedys
Global firm Kennedys saw a year of “exceptional growth” in 2017-18 with new offices and increased headcount.

The firm reported 31% growth in revenues globally to £196m this week.

Its year has seen a 20% rise in headcount to over 1900, and a 37% growth in its partnership to 277.

The firm also added 10 new offices in the financial year, opening Melbourne, Bangkok, Paris, Bermuda, and Buenos Aires, and acquiring others through mergers including the transatlantic tie-up with Carroll McNulty & Kull.

“Alongside this we have invested heavily in innovation, from launching our global Ideas Lab, enhancing our existing suite of products (Kennedys Toolkit), through to strengthening our development team in India who will support our ambitious plans for delivering 21st century legal services to our clients,” commented senior partner Nick Thomas.

Sharia law landmark for UK courts
The High Court in England has made a landmark ruling which recognises Sharia law for the first time in a British court.

A judge ruled that a couple’s Islamic faith marriage ceremony, known as a nikah, is covered by UK matrimonial law even though it is not legally recognised.

The Guardian reports that the ruling means that Nasreen Akhter will be able to bring her divorce case to the divorce court and claim her share of the marriage’s assets.

Her husband Mohammed Shabaz Khan had claimed that Akhter could not bring the case to the court as they were not legally married.

The ruling is likely to change the way Islamic marriages are considered by courts.