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Heading to the bar: Hogan Lovells streamlines dual management role as former arbitration co-head leaves

Hogan Lovells’ former co-head of international arbitration, Simon Nesbitt, is set to depart the firm and join the Bar, a move which coincides with the firm’s decision to streamline the dual management structure of the practice and continue with a single head.

Legal Business has learned that the practice is now solely headed by Miami-based partner Daniel Gonzalez, with London-based Nesbitt recently moving into a consultancy role to assist with the transition away from having joint heads of international arbitration. He was appointed global co-head in May 2013 after succeeding partner Michael Davison who joined the firm’s international management committee. Nesbitt, who it emerged this morning has been appointed as Queen’s Counsel in a 93-strong round, will not leave the firm until March, and it is currently not known where he will move to next.

A leading individual in international arbitration according to the Legal 500, major mandates for Nesbitt includes acting for a Swiss aluminium trading group on the worldwide enforcement of a $100m arbitral award made under the Swiss Chamber of Commerce Rules against a Russian manufacturing plant; and acting in arbitration under the ICC rules on behalf of Chang Beverages, part of the major Thai beverage group, in a $1.8bn claim for breach of a Singapore-based joint venture with Danish brewer Carlsberg.

Despite the departure of heavyweight Nesbitt, the firm has plans to focus more heavily on investment treaty arbitration, including in its promotions last January when it made up London-based investment treaty specialist Markus Burgstaller to partner. Another key focus for Gonzalez going forward as sole head is geographical expansion within the Latin America region, a move which will follow the firm’s tie-up with leading Mexican firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa (BSTL) in July.

On Nesbitt’s departure, litigation and arbitration head Michael Davison told Legal Business: ‘Since Simon took the decision to stand down as partner at the firm, we have been supporting him in his efforts to become an arbitrator. We would like to congratulate Simon on being appointed as a QC, which is a great tribute to the firm’s practice to which Simon has contributed greatly.’

Nesbitt’s departure mirrors that of other significant international arbitration departures in recent months. Legal Business revealed in November that Nicholas Fletcher QC, who led Berwin Leighton Paisner’s practice for the last five years, had resigned from the firm to join barristers’ chambers 4 New Square while Olswang arbitration chief Andrew Aglionby was also set to leave for the bar.’