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‘A strategic priority’: DLA Piper builds competition team with Dentons’ Sam Szlezinger

As litigation teams in the City gear up for more competition-based damages cases following recent changes to legislation, DLA Piper has brought in Dentons‘ competition heavyweight Sam Szlezinger to bolster its team.

The first partner in London to resign from Dentons following the January tie-up with Chinese firm Dacheng, Szlezinger is set to leave after over 20 years at the firm, including the last 14 as a partner. However, he has been told he will have to work a notice period that won’t expire until the start of 2016.

When he does join, it will be as a partner in DLA Piper’s competition team, which is part of the litigation and regulatory group. Litigation teams are being built up across the City after a directive proposed by the European Commission to make it easier for individuals and businesses to sue companies that have formed cartels was signed into law at the end of 2014 – and must be implemented by EU members by 27 December 2016.

Steve Sly, global co-head of the litigation and regulatory group at DLA Piper, said: ‘The continued development of our competition and antitrust practice is a strategic priority and the appointment of Sam demonstrates our commitment to achieving this goal.’

Szlezinger, who handles EU and UK competition law matters, currently splits his time between contentious and non-contentious mandates. He has over 20 years’ worth of experience advising on M&A, enforcement investigations and intellectual property matters and recent work includes advising iPhone parts maker Molex on merger clearance to be taken over by Koch Industries for $7.2bn at the end of 2013. Sly added: ‘Sam is a highly rated and experienced competition lawyer who will add strength to our experienced and dynamic team.’

He started his career as a trainee solicitor at Macfarlanes and stayed for seven years, two of which were spent in the firm’s Brussels office.

Meanwhile, DLA Piper lost a partner from its real estate practice as Paul Hastings hired Mark Shepherd in London. Previously at legacy SJ Berwin, Shepherd focuses on large commercial transactions including developments, investments, and joint ventures. He will be re-united with David Ryland who also previously worked at SJ Berwin.

Ryland said: ‘In the last 18 months the number of transactions handled by the Paul Hastings London real estate practice has increased exponentially. We continue to take on new clients, as the team continues to expand.’