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Freshfields looks to ruffle New York disputes market with hire of Simpson Thacher’s Martin

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has made a significant move to enhance its US practice with the hire of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s experienced corporate disputes specialist Linda Martin.

With the Magic Circle firms having long struggled to effectively break into the New York market, Martin represents a heavyweight addition to Freshfields credible US disputes team, importantly in Manhattan rather than Washington. Martin becomes the UK firm’s fifteenth disputes partner in the US, where it has a well-established arbitration team.

Well known for defending the Wall Street elite, including JPMorgan Chase, one of Martin’s most high-profile cases was securing Accenture’s historic no-cost separation from Andersen Worldwide through International Commercial Court arbitration in 2001. In arguably her biggest case following the financial crisis, she had a lawsuit against UBS thrown out last year over the $8bn contested financing in Lyondell Chemical Company’s Chapter 11 case.

She leaves Simpson Thacher after nearly two decades and joins Freshfields in September as a partner. Freshfields’ global head of dispute resolution David Scott said Martin’s arrival ‘will be a great complement to our civil litigation team and the wider Freshfields US practice’.

‘Linda is joining us at a time of significant growth for Freshfields in the US. In the five years since we launched our US civil litigation and white-collar practices, as a complement to our arbitration practice, we have consistently grown and consolidated our market position and we continue to see the volume of both our US domestic and cross-border work increasing,’ he added.

She is the firm’s eighth hire in the US the last financial year after it made provisions to allow it to pay a small band of recruits over the top of its lockstep, primarily to back strategic recruitment in US law. The firm has since seen the high profile arrival of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson corporate trio Valerie Ford Jacob, Michael Lewitt and Paul Tropp, Shearman & Sterling’s M&A veteran Peter Lyons and former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom leverage finance partner James Douglas.

Martin added: ‘I’m very much looking forward to helping maintain and grow the Freshfields presence, both in the US and around the world.’

For more on Freshfields’ recent New York expansion, see When will the US become a land of opportunity for Freshfields? (£)