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Revolving Doors: Akin Gump recruits project finance pair amid busy week for City players

After the summer lull, the City lateral hiring scene has come roaring back with a flood of arrivals across a number of practice areas including banking and finance, insurance, disputes and restructuring.

Akin Gump has recruited former Norton Rose Fulbright partners Matthew Hardwick and Daniel Giemajner as project finance partners in its London office. Focusing on energy and infrastructure projects, their expertise spans renewable power, mining, gigafactories, battery and energy storage, electric vehicles, carbon capture and clean hydrogen.

Akin Gump chair Kim Koopersmith (pictured) said: ‘One of our key strategic priorities is continuing to bolster our project finance and development practice as we help our clients play a role in the energy transition. Matt and Dan’s experience will be invaluable to our clients in this space, and we are pleased to welcome them in London and to our global team.’

There was also movement at Squire Patton Boggs in the City, with a five-lawyer restructuring and insolvency team joining from Brown Rudnick. The group includes partners Monika Lorenzo-Perez and Charlotte Møller, as well a director and two senior associates. Leona McManus has also joined the firm from Shearman & Sterling as a partner in the structured finance team.

Meanwhile at Eversheds Sutherland, Mark Everiss has joined the insurance group in London. Previously global head of insurance at Cooley, Everiss brings 25 years’ experience in contentious and non-contentious issues across third-party liability, energy, financial institutions, employers’ liability and product liability.

Eversheds’ insurance co-lead, Simon Brooks said: ‘As a highly experienced industry professional, Mark brings a unique breadth of insurance industry knowledge to the firm. His understanding of high-value complex disputes, including legacy work, means that Mark will add valuable insights and an authoritative voice for our clients. We are excited that he has chosen to join the firm as we continue to invest and build our UK insurance offering following insurance experts Martin Mankabady and Adriana Cotter joining earlier in the year.’

The firm also added to its real estate and planning practice by bringing in former Heathrow head of legal, Daniel Freiman, who joins as a partner. Having focused on the water and aviation sectors throughout his career, Freiman is experienced in contentious planning and environmental matters in the context of nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Stewarts has also been targeting the insurance market, with partner Aaron Le Marquer arriving from insurance specialist Fenchurch Law to launch a new policyholder disputes group focused on complex disputes with insurers.

Le Marquer, who has 18 years’ experience across the UK and Asia, told Legal Business: ‘Covid-19 business interruption has dominated the press as far as insurance coverage is concerned over the past couple of years and for very good reasons. Unfortunately for policyholders the story is not finished yet. The test case that the FCA brought back in 2020 established some of the core principles that apply to business interruption claims in the Covid context but when it comes to the quantification of some of the larger claims, the test case didn’t really deal with that. There has been a lot of follow-on litigation and that’s likely to continue for another year or two, at the very least. There’s some very big claims waiting in the wings, which we will be assisting on.’

Meanwhile, it was a busy week for CMS, which welcomed three partners across the UK. In London, media partner John Cloke arrived from DLA Piper, where he advised on some of the largest rights deals in the sports sector. He was joined in the City by partner James Greer, who advised on derivatives, financial regulation and structured finance at his previous firm, Sackers. Outside the capital, the Sheffield office welcomed energy specialist David Hardy from Squire Patton Boggs. A director at his previous firm, Hardy has joined CMS as a partner.

Locke Lord also added to its London office, with partner Nick Elwell-Sutton joining its employment group. Previously at Clyde & Co, his practice spans prosecuting and defending team moves, restrictive covenants, discrimination, and whistleblowing claims.

Elsewhere, Mishcon de Reya has announced Marc Hanson and Adriano Amorese as new additions to the City construction team from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP). Hanson, who arrived earlier this week, will take up the role of co-head of non-contentious construction, having been head of construction at his old firm and, prior to that, Ashurst. Amorese will join later this year, bringing the number of 2022 lateral partner arrivals at the firm to 11.

On the flip side, BCLP bolstered its City real estate practice with the addition of Will Trotman from Linklaters. A counsel at his old firm, Trotman takes up a partner role at BCLP and brings experience in residential mortgage-backed securities and commercial mortgage-backed securities, among other areas of asset-backed finance.

Linklaters has also seen its tax practice depleted, with Sarah Lindley joining Simpson Thacher. Capable in all tax-related elements of corporate transactions, Lindley specialises in working with clients in the technology and financial services sectors.

Simpson Thacher London lead, Jason Glover, said: ‘Sarah has extensive experience providing some of Europe’s most prominent companies and financial institutions with exceptional tax advice related to complex and strategic transactions. Sarah is a perfect complement to our best-in-class team of UK and US-trained tax lawyers, who make up our London-based tax team.’

In the tech space, Orrick has added fintech regulation partner Dan Jones to its London group. Jones is the sixth lateral partner to join the City office since 2021, and the third global fintech hire in the last two months.

Tech lead Shawn Atkinson said: ‘Dan is another great addition to our team, fortifying our fintech and payments regulatory expertise, which is essential to our clients’ strategies. The demand in fintech and payments has not let up, and we believe it will continue to grow.’

There was also a new arrival at Gowling WLG, with Andrea McMahon joining the government team as a partner. She was previously a senior civil service lawyer in the Government Legal Department, where she was part of the Cabinet Office propriety & ethics team.

Outside the City, Hogan Lovells has recruited Eimear O’Brien in Dublin, who will join as a partner in the regulatory practice. Previously chief legal officer and an executive director at Birchal Ireland, O’Brien’s arrival broadens the scope the offering of the Dublin office, which launched in March 2021.

Dublin managing partner Eoin O Connor said: ’Eimear’s knowledge of the Central Bank’s approach to non-contentious and investigatory matters will be helpful in guiding and advising clients on interactions with the regulator. Her appointment will enable us to further capitalise on opportunities with clients seeking EU regulatory advice and foster relationships with a number of fintech start-ups and unicorns.’

Dentons has also strengthened in Dublin, as the banking and finance practice recruited partner Siobhan Carlin from William Fry. Well versed in real estate investment and project finance, Carlin will join her new firm in October.

In Paris, Amy Frey has joined McDermott Will & Emery from King & Spalding, where she had been a partner since 2016. Specialising in contentious work, Frey’s main focus is international arbitration, having represented clients in cases before the ICSID, ICC, LCIA and Swedish Chamber of Commerce. The appointment continues the firm’s recent strategy of building up its European disputes group, having welcomed Jack Thorne in London in August.

Elsewhere, White & Case has added to its debt finance practice by bringing in partner Jaime Rossi to the Madrid office. Previously at Herbert Smith Freehills where he was of counsel, Rossi represents sponsors, financial institutions and debt funds, with a focus on advising borrowers and lenders on leverage acquisition finance, real estate finance, syndicated lending and restructurings.

Speaking to Legal Business, White & Case executive committee member Oliver Brettle said: ‘Spain remains an attractive market for the firm, and Madrid in particular as the capital and major economic centre. Given the size of the Spanish economy and the strong links with Latin America, where we have a significant presence, adding Jaime is the right opportunity to further grow our capabilities in the country.

‘You have to keep a weather eye on the current economic realities, but also retain a longer-term view. We think that the value of the Spanish market and the international work opportunities there means that we should invest now, even though there are economic challenges at the moment. We are always responding to the demands of our clients, and our clients have demanded we further strengthen our Madid office.’

In the Middle East, Linklaters has announced the arrival of counsel Nick Roudev from Simmons & Simmons. Advising across artificial intelligence, electronic payments and data privacy, Roudev joins the TMT practice in Dubai.

Elsewhere in the region, Baker Botts has brought Omar Iqbal into its associated Riyadh office. Previously at Baker McKenzie, Iqbal will add to the firm’s corporate offering due to his expertise in domestic and international private equity and M&A, which has earned him the rank of next generation partner in The Legal 500.

Finally, in Singapore, technology partner Nicholas Lauw joined the corporate group at RPC. Experienced in contentious and non-contentious IP work, Lauw moved from Rajah & Tann, and is RPC’s eight partner hire into its commercial and insurance groups in the past seven months.