Legal Business Blogs

Another blow for Freshfields as highly-regarded QC leaves for litigation boutique

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has fielded yet another blow in the City after litigation partner Reza Mohtashami QC quit for litigation boutique Three Crowns.

Freshfields man and boy, Mohtashami joined the Magic Circle firm as an associate 19 years ago and was made up to partner in 2009. He worked in Paris, New York and Dubai before moving to London in 2014. He took silk in 2017.

Mohtashami rose to prominence in London as part of the firm’s well-established international arbitration practice after a successful five-year stint in Dubai. He was particularly involved in emerging markets cases, investment treaty arbitrations and in the energy, infrastructure and telecoms industries.

Three former arbitration partners from Freshfields were among the well-regarded group which set up Three Crowns in 2014 – Constantine Partasides, Georgios Petrochilos and Jan Paulsson – along with partners from Jones Day, Covington & Burling and Shearman & Sterling.

Three Crowns has more than 60 attorneys across its three offices in London, Paris, and Washington.  The firm focuses exclusively on arbitration: commercial, investment-treaty, and inter-state.

Three Crowns’ executive partner Gaëtan Verhoosel commented: ‘Reza’s astuteness and integrity as an advocate makes him a natural addition to Three Crowns, and his regional expertise will add immediate value to a very active part of our practice.’

Nigel Blackaby, Freshfields’ co-head of the international arbitration group, commented: ‘Reza is a valued friend and colleague who will be missed, and we thank him for his contribution to the development of Freshfields’ market-leading arbitration practice, particularly in the Middle East.  We wish him well for the next phase of his career.’

Another high-profile departure for Freshfields saw high-yield heavyweight Ward McKimm exit after three years to re-join his old firm, Shearman & Sterling in July. The move came not seven months after buyout star David Higgins exited for Kirkland & Ellis, despite the Magic Circle firm overhauling its partnership model in a bid to keep its top performers.

Freshfields also in June lost veteran corporate partner Martin Nelson-Jones, who had been at the firm since 1991, to DLA Piper in London.

Elsewhere in the City, Ashurst has hired partner Christopher Georgiou as co-head of its global Ashurst Advance team alongside Mike Polson. Georgiou joins from Fieldfisher, where he previously headed up the firm’s innovative alternative legal solutions platform, Condor.

He had worked at Ashurst for 14 years before Fieldfisher, building a securities and derivatives practice and co-leading the firm’s bank sector, as well as establishing its alternative legal services capability in Glasgow in 2013.