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OFT senior director joins Gibson Dunn’s City office

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has recruited Ali Nikpay, senior director at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into its antitrust and competition group in London.

Nikpay joins the US firm as a partner after nine years at the OFT and brings with him Deirdre Taylor, global OFT assistant director from the cartel and criminal enforcement division. Both will be based in London and will start on April 15.

At Gibson Dunn, Nikpay will focus on strengthening the European practice, advising clients on EU and UK cartels, mergers, monopolization cases and other regulatory investigations. He will also work closely with Gary Spratling, who is a partner based in San Francisco.

‘Competition enforcement is getting increasingly complex as more and more authorities take a serious interest in cartels and mergers, so there is a greater need than ever to help companies understand and manage these complexities in a strategic way,’ said Nikpay.

He also said he aims to look to the US model where the same lawyers handle cases at every stage from the investigation through to appeals and damages actions. This involves thinking more about how and when barristers are used particularly as Lord Falconer QC, the former Lord Chancellor, is a partner at Gibson Dunn, he said.

He added: ‘Sometimes it’s better to instruct barristers, but I want there to be an opportunity for clients to use Gibson Dunn throughout the case, provided it is in the client’s best interest.’

Previously, Nikpay headed the OFT’s cartels and criminal enforcement division and was appointed as one of the two main merger decision-makers. He was also a member of the executive committee. Prior to the OFT, he was an anti-trust lawyer in Clifford Chance’s competition and regulation practice. He was also a competition directorate lawyer at the European Commission.

‘Ali brings a wealth of cartel and mergers investigation experience, which will add depth to our competition capabilities and further enhance our ability to serve clients in this important practice area,’ said Tom Budd, London office head.