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Freshfields lands Eversheds head of international arbitration in rare City lateral

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has landed Will Thomas (pictured), Eversheds’ head of international arbitration, in a rare lateral hire in the Magic Circle firm’s City heartlands.

Thomas, who became head of Eversheds’ international arbitration group three years ago, departs after 17 years at the firm. He joined Eversheds in 1999 and has been based in Paris since 2001. Thomas made partner at Eversheds in 2010.

Thomas relocates to Freshfields’ London HQ as part of the move and will also spend time working with the Freshfields’ Paris team to strengthen collaboration between those offices. He has also been tasked with building out the London presence of the public international law practice headed by Paris-based partner Ben Juratowitch. Though Freshfields remains one of the preeminent global names in arbitration, the firm did suffer a reverse in 2014 when several of its leading names quit to launch the arbitration boutique Three Crowns.

Thomas, a highly regarded practitioner, has handled a string of big-ticket disputes in recent years including defending Iran from a $600m claim by Turkish mobile operator Turkcell to win that country’s first ever investor-state arbitration.

Nigel Rawding QC, head of Freshfields’ London international arbitration practice, said: ‘Will’s expertise and experience combined with our platform create a formidable offering for current and prospective clients alike.’

Thomas is the third senior arbitration practitioner to leave Eversheds in the last 12 months, with London duo Andy Moody and Stuart Dutson departing for Baker & McKenzie and Simmons & Simmons respectively.

Eversheds has appointed Singapore-based Rod Bundy and Paris-based David Sellers as global co-chairs of its international arbitration group.