Hogan Lovells Taps New Chair, Other Firms Also Make Changes

International law firm Hogan Lovells named Hamburg, Germany-based Leopold von Gerlach, a partner in its intellectual property, media and technology practice, as chair of its board. His three-year term starts in May.

He takes over from Nicholas Cheffings, a London-based commercial real estate partner, who will be winding up two terms as chair and will continue with his law practice. Prior to Cheffings, Claudette Christian and John Young were co-chairs from 2010 to 2012.

The 12-member Hogan board oversees the firm, and its members represent its practice areas and geographic makeup. The firm has offices in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Von Gerlach, a litigator, became a board member in May 2014 as the representative for the firm’s Continental Europe practices. He served on the firm’s partner advancement committee, working on the promotion of associates and counsel to partnership positions.

His law practice includes representing clients against counterfeit and grey market goods, look-alikes, and other types of intellectual property infringements. His clients include The LEGO Group, Citi, eBay, PayPal, Estee Lauder and Gibson Brands.

Steptoe Re-Elects Leader

Steptoe & Johnson LLP announced that Phil West, a tax lawyer, has been elected to serve a second term as chair of the firm’s executive committee. The firm’s partners also elected Gwen Renigar as vice chair. Both will serve four-year terms, which began Jan. 1.

In addition, Phil Malet, who has served as vice chair since 2006, will take on a new role as chief operating partner of the firm, which has more than 500 lawyers.

West, who maintains his practice, joined Steptoe in 1993 as of counsel. He then served for three years as the Treasury Department’s senior international tax lawyer, before rejoining Steptoe as a partner in 2002. He has been involved in Steptoe’s management over the past 15 years, serving on the firm’s executive committee and other firm committees.

Renigar, who practices in the areas of professional liability and fiduciary litigation, joined the firm as a summer associate, rejoined again after a clerkship, and became partner in January 2005. She has served on most of the firm’s committees, and for the past two years has served as the firm’s general counsel. At 45, Renigar is the youngest person elected to the leadership position, and only the third woman.

During West’s first term as chair, Steptoe launched its Blockchain & Digital Currency practice to serve new industries and client needs, to help solidify its established practices in international regulatory compliance and government investigations, and to grow its intellectual property and technology practices.

King & Spalding Names Office Managing Partners

In New York, law firm King & Spalding, which has more than 1,000 lawyers, has named new managing partners for its Washington, London, and Charlotte, N.C., offices.

Mark Jensen, who specializes in high-profile investigations, white-collar litigation, and regulatory enforcement actions, becomes managing partner in Washington. He takes over for Wick Sollers, who held the role for 16 years.

Thomas Sprange, a partner in the firm’s international arbitration and litigation practice, currently represents Motorola in its multi-billion-dollar fraud case against the Uzan family of Turkey. He succeeds Garry Pegg, who served as managing partner for seven years in London.

In Charlotte, Mark Thigpen has taken over from Todd Holleman, who spent five years as office managing partner. Thigpen is a partner in the firm’s real estate market team, representing private equity investors, institutional investors, and operating companies in all aspects of their real estate businesses. He recently advised the Transwestern Investment Group in a series of transactions involving the acquisition and leaseback of State Farm Insurance Company’s critical corporate hubs in Dallas, Phoenix and Atlanta.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson at egolson1@gmail.com.

To contact the editor on this story: Casey Sullivan in New York at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com.