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Filling one of Europe’s top legal jobs – JP Morgan hires Nomura’s Piers Le Marchant as new EMEA general counsel

It’s often said that the finance industry has been in retreat since the 2008 banking crisis but there is no doubt that US giant JP Morgan Chase remains one of the most lucrative and coveted legal clients in the world.

As such there will be plenty of interest among City law firms at the news that JP Morgan has recruited Nomura’s Piers Le Marchant as its new general counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), replacing longstanding regional GC Karen Linney who retired this month.

Le Marchant, one of the most prominent UK counsel in finance, served as general counsel and head of legal & compliance for the EMEA region at Nomura. He joined the institution in November 2008 after spending 18 years at Lehman Brothers when the Japanese-based investment house acquired much of Lehman’s European investment banking division. Prior to his departure from the now-defunct bank, he served as its European legal director.

He joins one of the world’s largest investment houses at a time when JP Morgan is facing intense scrutiny from regulators. JP Morgan paid out nearly $20bn in settlements with regulators during 2013.

However, the bank – which employs more than 250,000 staff worldwide – came through the banking crisis relatively unscathed in comparison to its peers.

Linney herself was one of the most high profile bank general counsel in Europe. Ranked in the Legal Business GC Power List 2013, Linney made the transition in-house early in her career, after working at Clifford Chance. She became managing director and associate GC for JPMorgan Chase in 2001, before her appointment as EMEA investment bank GC in 2008. She stepped into the role as GC EMEA in 2012.

Linney last year told Legal Business: ‘We will always pick the best firm for the task but, despite what they sometimes seem to think, we try to be fair about allocating work.’

European advisers for JP Morgan have included Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, Mayer Brown, Simmons & Simmons, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and White & Case.