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Edwards Wildman sees final corporate partner exit for Olswang as Arnold & Porter emerges as ‘in talks’ with disputes team

US firm Edwards Wildman has seen the last of its quintet of disgruntled corporate partners resign as it has emerged that Niall McAlister has departed for Olswang.The firm could also potentially face further loss from its City disputes practice as it has come to light that fellow US firm Arnold & Porter has been in talks with its commercial litigation partners. Commercial litigation partner Rod Cowper has already resigned and is moving to City firm Teacher Stern.

Acknowledged by The Legal 500 as having ‘a practical approach and deep industry understanding’ of the market, transactional lawyer McAlister is the latest loss to Edwards Wildman’s corporate team.

Stephen Reese, co-chair of Olswang’s life sciences practice, said: ‘Our successful life sciences practice has been growing rapidly in the last few years. As a result, we having been looking carefully for additional well-known and experienced corporate partners in the sector who can further develop our corporate strength in one of the key sector focuses for our corporate group. Niall was an obvious choice given his experience, and we are excited that he has agreed to join us. Likewise, he was drawn to Olswang because of our reputation in the sector and our unique IP and regulatory law offering.’

Located at Old Broad Street, the original five corporate partners in talks with management over potentially resigning were understood to be unhappy over the lack of support from the US together with issues of ‘disconnection’.

First to resign was co-chair of Edwards Wildman’s venture capital group Shawn Atkinson who is headed for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Transactions partner Stuart Blythe, who joined from Bird & Bird in 2011, was next and is set to join CMS Cameron McKenna. It emerged days ago that London private equity and venture capital head David Ramm is to move to Morgan Lewis & Bockius. It is also known that capital markets partner Eero Rautalahti has resigned but it is unclear as to where he will move.

The departure of litigator Cowper, the former London head of litigation for Squire Sanders, will also be a loss to Edwards Wildman’s City disputes team. Ranked as a ‘well regarded’ disputes lawyer, Cowper is experienced in international arbitration and has conducted litigation in all commercial divisions of the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council.

The firm has also seen a string of insurance exits, including Damian Connolly who went in-house to American managed healthcare company Aetna International; heavyweight Francis Mackie who left for national firm Weightmans; and Mark Meyer who joined Cozen O’Connor’s London office as a partner in its insurance and reinsurance practice. A trio of litigation associates were also understood to have resigned in June, including Rhys Davies who will join Mackie at Weightmans.

Edwards Wildman declined to comment.