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Cleary Gottlieb makes London disputes play as Herbert Smith Freehills loses seasoned partner

The continued dominance of US firms in the City lateral market shows no sign of slowing, with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton yesterday (20 November) bringing in experienced disputes partner James Norris-Jones from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) to its office in the capital.

Norris-Jones, who was made a partner at HSF in 2012, has a broad practice that encompasses High Court litigation as well as arbitration. His arrival will boost Cleary’s already well-established London disputes team, comprising partners Sunil Gadhia, Jonathan Kelly, Christopher Moore, David Sabel and Romano Subiotto QC.

Norris-Jones commented: ‘I have had a fantastic 16 years at HSF, had the ability to work on some landmark cases and make good friends and colleagues. It is now time for a change and a new challenge.’

In a statement, Cleary managing partner Michael Gerstenzang said that Norris-Jones will add ‘formidable depth and breadth of talent’ to the firm, while disputes partner Kelly added that Norris-Jones has ‘developed an impressive practice and earned the respect of clients.’

During his career at HSF, Norris-Jones notably represented RBS in the shareholder group action that settled in June.

The arrival of Norris-Jones will be a welcome boost for Cleary’s City , after it suffered the loss of capital markets partner Simon Ovenden to Simmons & Simmons earlier this year.

For HSF, Norris-Jones’ departure represents the second partner prised away by a US firm since the summer. Global energy co-head Anna Howell left for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in June, to bolster the US firm’s fast-growing practice.