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Freshfields and DLA announce Brexit hires as May triggers article 50

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and DLA Piper have announced high-profile Brexit hires as British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered article 50 today (29 March).

Freshfields has appointed Jonathan Hill, the UK’s former European commissioner for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union as a senior adviser, while DLA has appointed Paul Hardy, former EU legal adviser to the House of Lords, who will join the firm in April as a legal director and lead Brexit specialist.

Hill, who was previously the UK’s most senior diplomat in Brussels, resigned after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on 23 June last year. He also previously served as leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 2013 to 2014.

Freshfields senior partner Ed Braham said: ‘Jonathan brings outstanding experience and skill from a diverse and extensive career that is valuable both to our clients and to our firm.

‘We have shown significant strength as a firm with regards to Brexit related issues, and Jonathan’s contributions, while respecting his obligations, can only enhance our reputation and our efforts.’

Meanwhile, DLA has appointed Hardy in a move which the firm said ‘reflects DLA Piper’s commitment to supporting its clients on Brexit-related matters, helping them to navigate the increasing complexity of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.’

In a statement, Richard Bonnar, chair of DLA’s Brexit committee added: ‘Brexit is a reality that many of our clients, as well as we ourselves, are having to contend with, so there’s no doubt that it merits investment as part of our long-term strategy. Paul is a leading EU lawyer with first-hand experience of working both in Brussels and Westminster. His hire very much reinforces our commitment to helping our clients prepare for Brexit and to protect their interests on a national and global basis.’

Hardy was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1992 and has over 20 years’ experience as a lawyer. He was a legal adviser in the European Commission from 2004 to 2008 and was appointed Counsel for European Legislation in 2009 in the House of Commons and EU Legal Adviser to the House of Lords in 2014.

Read more: ‘Not a smooth process’: The legal profession opines on the Brexit negotiations to come