Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer competition litigation head Jon Lawrence is to leave the firm to pursue a career as a barrister at Brick Court Chambers.
Lawrence, who works in the EU dispute resolution group and heads the firm’s competition litigation team, as well as co-leading its cartel skills group.
Lawrence, who has worked at Freshfields for over 30 years, is seeking to join Brick Court in the autumn of 2018 upon successful completion of any pupillage and subject to compliance with any other regulatory requirements.
He will remain at Freshfields until that time, the Magic Circle firm confirmed. It is expected that Lawrence will retain all of his clients and will continue to work on all of his Freshfields mandates until his departure.
Speaking to Legal Business, Lawrence said he ‘needed a new challenge’ and added: ‘I’ve always wanted to do some advocacy. Brick Court is a tremendous set of chambers and if I am able to take up the tenancy in autumn 2018 they will give me the opportunity to do so whilst not letting down my existing clients.’
David Scott, Freshfields’ global practice group leader for dispute resolution told Legal Business: ‘It’s testament to the quality of our partners that they have the opportunity to broaden their careers. Jon’s move offers those clients who are working with him continuity – and of course they also have that from within the outstanding team we have in the firm, which has had a longstanding approach of dual-partnering our cases’. Scott said Lawrence would remain ‘the most highly-regarded competition litigation team in the market.’
Lawrence said that the promotion of competition lawyer Nicholas Frey to partner in March 2017 would fill the void left by his departure, and indicated that there will be more promotions into the practice to compensate.
Among Lawrence’s recent cases is his instruction for MasterCard, fighting an application pending for a £14bn antitrust damages class action on behalf of consumers who used MasterCard credit and debit cards in the UK over a particular period. The case is being brought by class representative and former chief financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks, who is represented by London partner Boris Bronfentrinker at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
Volvo-owned Renault has also instructed Lawrence to defend it in a truck cartel claim brought by a host of European truck owners and manufacturers. Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Paccar, Iveco and Volkswagen’s MAN admitted in 2016 to operating a 14 year price cartel and were fined by the European Commission. Claimants such as the Royal Mail and the Road Haulage Association are joining forces to claim damages.