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Dentons lands BLP head of corporate crime and investigations in bid to capture banking disputes

Fresh from securing an 11-partner financial litigation team from now-defunct Matthew Arnold & Baldwin, Dentons has landed Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) partner Daren Allen (pictured) as it attempts to capture more banking litigation work.

Allen will join Dentons after five years at BLP, having joined from DLA Piper at the start of 2011. He was head of the corporate crime and investigations team at BLP, and specialises in inquiries by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and litigation between banks and their customers.

The total number of complaints opened by the FCA, excluding payment protection insurance, increased by 12% to 1,255,166 between the last six months of 2014 and the first six months of 2015, and the City watchdog had its remit expanded during Wednesday’s budget when UK chancellor George Osborne announced it would be responsible for regulating claims management companies.

Allen has pedigree in this area, having assisted the Ministry of Justice in drafting the guidance on the UK Bribery Act and previously advised the joint money laundering steering group on the revised guidance notes for the financial sector. He becomes the second big-name hire from BLP in the last six months, with BLP’s former UK corporate chief David Collins being appointed in December to lead Dentons’ corporate push.

Allen’s arrival follows Dentons securing a 75-lawyer team from Watford’s Matthew Arnold & Baldwin, servicing banking litigation for the likes of Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland. He becomes Dentons 20th lateral hire in the UK since the start of 2015, with the firm looking to reinvigorate its UK presence following a merger-spree that has seen it become the largest law firm in the world by headcount. The firm agreed a landmark combination with China’s Dacheng at the start of 2015 in what became the legal industry’s biggest ever East-West deal and bulked out its US practice with the addition of McKenna Long later that year.

Dentons’ chief executive for the UK, Middle East and Africa Jeremy Cohen said: ‘Daren’s arrival greatly strengthens our financial disputes and contentious regulatory practice, which is a growing and strategically important part of the UK business.’

‘He added: Our involvement in a number of high profile cases has enhanced the firm’s reputation for banking litigation, and it is important for us to capitalise on this as well as the anticipated rise in regulatory disputes over the next few years.’

Read more on Dentons in: ‘The pitch – A new kind of global law firm emerges but can Dentons live up to the hype?’