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Baker & McKenzie bolsters disputes with ex-Barclays financial crime chief Jonathan Peddie

Jonathan Peddie, charged with handling Barclays’ raft of litigation and government investigations work in the aftermath of the financial crisis, has been hired by Baker & McKenzie in London as a partner.

Peddie, who resigned from Barclays this January after nine years at the banking giant, will link up with Bakers’ corporate investigations group in September. He has spent the past year as head of Barclays financial crime unit, handling its bribery and corruption, money laundering and international sanctions at a time when regulators are increasing pressure on banks to prevent financial crimes. Peddie previously served as managing director of litigation and investigations for two years until May 2013 after having handled that function for the retail and commercial banking arm of the UK bank.

Prior to joining Barclays in 2005, Peddie spent nine years at Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance, including three years as deputy general counsel.

One of a string of senior lawyers to quit Barclays since it overhauled its legal function last year to create practice based pools servicing the entire bank, Peddie will join up with an 800-strong global disputes practice. Erica Handling, EMEA general counsel for Barclays’ investment bank arm, departed for funds manager BlackRock earlier this year and law firms are circling the bank for senior hires following its legal restructuring. Indeed, deputy group general counsel Michael Shaw announced his departure in June after six years in the role.

Bakers’ global head of dispute resolution, Tom Cassels, said: ‘Having someone of Jonathan’s calibre in the team is a huge plus for us and our clients. Advice on cross border investigations is increasingly at the heart of what our clients need from our global disputes practice and Jonathan brings a track record and international experience that is second to none.’

While returns to private practice from in-house roles and government agencies are common in the US, such moves have become increasingly prevalent in the City in recent years. Bakers has been one of the more active law firms in recruiting senior lawyers from the corporate world, recruiting Standard Chartered Bank’s former head of legal David Brimacombe as a consultant in its financial institutions group and the BBC’s head of litigation Nadia Banno in the past 18 months. This shift in hiring patterns rests on the investigations experience built up by in-house lawyers following the financial crisis and client demand for those with that knowledge.

Jonathan Peddie said: ‘As is well known, the banking industry has been through a period of significant regulatory and public scrutiny. Similar pressures are now growing in many other industry sectors. All major businesses need to have a sound process for corporate internal investigations that public authorities, investors and consumers will regard as adequately objective. I’m delighted to be joining and having the opportunity to offer the strategic experience gained at Barclays to Baker & McKenzie’s international client base.’