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On trend: White & Case launches London white-collar practice with Dechert hire

White & Case is preparing to meet the next wave of regulatory and enforcement investigation work as it launches its first City white collar practice with the hire of white collar and securities litigation partner Jonathan Pickworth from Dechert.

The hire comes as blue-chip corporates continue to face greater scrutiny from global regulatory authorities from both the US and the UK. Pickworth has experience of advising clients on regulatory and internal investigations, compliance and risk – with a focus on corruption, market misconduct, fraud, tax fraud and money laundering.

A spokesperson for White & Case said:  ‘The addition of Jonathan strengthens our global white collar capabilities and enhances the firm’s position as a recognised leader in global investigations and corporate crime. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience at a time when the demand for his skills is increasing.’

He also has experience in the handling of investigations by government agencies including the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Revenue & Customs, into allegations of market misconduct such as Libor and FX benchmark manipulation, insider trading and similar matters.

Pickworth joined Dechert in 2011 from DLA Piper, alongside fellow partner and former global co-head of litigation and regulation Neil Gerrard. Pickworth worked at DLA Piper for nearly 12 years where he was the EMEA head of corporate crime and investigations. Before this, he was an associate at Magic Circle firm Linklaters.

The hire comes as many City practices look to beef up their regulatory offering, especially after the government launched its long-awaited UK Anti-Corruption Plan – a disparate collection of initiatives aimed at improving the UK’s transparency, strengthening investigation powers and toughening enforcement options – which will mean an increasing workload for defence lawyers and further overhaul of companies’ compliance regimes.

In April, Ropes & Gray launched its City commercial litigation practice with the hire of K&L Gates disputes partner Thomas Ross, as the firm looked to Ross to advise clients on dispute-related issues in its government enforcement practice – particularly around regulatory and compliance issues, internal investigations and white collar crime – as well as support its transactional and business restructuring practices.

White & Case lost partner Charlie Lightfoot early this month who exited the firm after 16 years to head Jenner & Block’s litigation and arbitration practices in London.