Linklaters has begun playing the game of Washington D.C. catch up with its Magic Circle rivals after yesterday announcing the hire of two highly respected Bingham McCutchen tax partners.
David Brockway and Jasper Howard have already joined the tax practice of the firm’s Washington office, which re-launched last year after closing in 2002, when it cited no economic justification for a presence in the US capital.
The hires come after former Dewey & LeBoeuf tax partner Joseph Pari, who effectively spearheaded Linklaters’ formal launch in Washington last year and was the only partner permanently on the ground, left in April to join KPMG as principal in charge Washington national tax-elect.
The hires undoubtedly further Linklaters’ stated ambition and the wider US trend to field senior lawyers with established relationships at the major regulatory agencies. Brockway previously served as chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation of the US Congress, and Howard acted as special counsel to the Internal Revenue Service chief counsel.
Brockway focuses his practice on corporate acquisitions and dispositions, cross border structured finance and asset-based finance transactions, while Howard’s experience includes advising on corporate tax issues including M&A, spin-offs and other divestitures, joint ventures and cross border transactions.
Linklaters New York co-managing partner Jeff Norton said: ‘With the addition of David and Jasper to our US team, we have taken another step forward in building our global US law platform.
‘We are committed to creating a leading US law capability which leverages the strength of our network, has the highest quality practitioners, and is core and integrated across our practices.’
In addition to these latest hires and the promotion of Washington lawyer Sean McKeever to counsel earlier this month, Linklaters will continue to service Washington from its sizeable New York office. But the firm has a long way to go before catching up on the ground with Magic Circle rivals Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the latter of which set up in Washington in 1998 and has a more established presence in the region.
Allen & Overy is a far more recent entrant after its 2011 Washington launch with the hire of a three-partner team from O’Melveny & Myers – Barbara Stettner, Chris Salter and Charles Borden. Both Stettner and Salter had spent part of their careers at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and built their practices to focus on regulatory work in the financial sector. They were later joined by O’Melveny financial services regulatory partner Bill Satchell.
Within the heightened environment of government enforcement, the revolving door is in full swing and Linklaters may now be in the running to catch a few more lawyers on the way out.