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Expansive White & Case taps Ashurst for the second time in two weeks for disputes partner

Within weeks of securing Ashurst equity capital markets partner Jonathan Parry, White & Case has tapped the Anglo-Australian firm again with the arrival of disputes specialist Mark Clarke.

Clarke, Ashurst’s London head of disputes, joins the global giant’s London arm as White & Case sustains its recent aggressive hiring spree as part of a bid to build a 500-lawyer practice in the City by 2020. M&A, capital markets and disputes were put at the centre of that growth strategy.

Driven in part but a major expansion in its City corporate practice, White & Case in 2015 surpassed Latham & Watkins as the highest billing US firm in London with revenue rising 22% to hit £185m.

Clarke made partner at Ashurst in 2010 and is touted as one of the rising stars of its contentious City team, having represented a string of governments and corporates in both litigation and arbitration. He specialises in disputes arising out of the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors and had substantial experience in antitrust matters.

White & Case London executive partner Oliver Brettle (pictured) commented: ‘As the firm prioritises growth in key markets, practices and sectors, Mark’s arrival ticks all the strategic boxes – the growth of the London office and disputes practice, while building on our expertise in the oil and gas sector.’

Michael Polkinghorne, co-leader of White & Case’s oil and gas group, added: ‘Mark is a high-quality lawyer who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be a valuable asset as we continue to enhance our energy and disputes practices.’

Clarke is the latest in a string of departures for Ashurst, with financial regulatory partner James Perry departing for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and corporate partner Anthony Clare moving to Stephenson Harwood last month.

The City firm has, however, made several notable hires of its own in the City, with King & Wood Mallesons real estate duo Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams and Herbert Smith Freehills TMT duo Nick Elverston and Amanda Hale arriving this year. Also significant was the hire of DLA Piper’s well-regarded head of international arbitration, Matthew Saunders, at the start of the year.

For more on US firms in the City, subscribers can see our 2016 Global London report