Legal Business

Latham lands Debevoise arbitration star Lamb as it seeks disputes growth in the City

Latham & Watkins has hired US rival Debevoise & Plimpton‘s rising arbitration star Sophie Lamb (pictured) as it builds out its disputes practice.

Lamb joins Latham as a partner in its City office in a move that will come as a blow to Debevoise. Lamb is regarded as one of the leading arbitration lawyers of her generation, and one of the few female success stories in an area of law that has long been male-dominated.

Lamb worked closely with former Attorney General for England and Wales and London co-managing partner at Debevoise, Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, during her eight years at the firm. Lamb made partner in 2010, just two years after joining the US firm. She began her career as a barrister at One Essex Court, where she worked closely with Lord Grabiner QC.

The hire comes as part of a renewed push by Latham in the European disputes space, having already built out in finance, private equity and competition. She is the firm’s strongest international arbitration hire in Europe since it hired Fernando Mantilla-Serrano from Shearman & Sterling in 2014 as its co-chair of international arbitration.

In the last few years, the firm has landed rainmaker Claudia Salomon in New York from DLA Piper where she was co-chair of its international arbitration practice, Ing Loong Yang from Sidley Austin in Hong Kong and Markus Rieder in Munich from Shearman & Sterling.

Jamie Wine, global chair of Latham’s litigation and trial group, said: ‘We have been steadily growing our capability in the world’s key arbitration venues as we look to establish a truly global market-leading disputes practice. Sophie brings a formidable track-record in representing clients in high stakes, market shaping disputes.’

Lamb has acted as adviser and advocate in more than 100 international commercial arbitrations. She has also led complex litigation in the English and overseas courts, including in business and human rights cases, and has full rights of audience in the superior English courts, having appeared as advocate at every level, including the UK Supreme Court.

Goldsmith said: ‘Sophie and I have enjoyed many successful campaigns and I will of course miss her presence in the team. She is an outstanding litigator and advocate and has been a major contributor to the successes of the London litigation practice. Latham & Watkins are very fortunate to have her.’

Lamb has represented the likes of South Korea, energy major Exxon Mobil, car maker Daewoo and Russia’s largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems in high-stakes disputes.