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Revolving Doors: Bakers hires in the UAE, while Eversheds, Bristows, and Stewarts Law grow in the City

London, last week, saw Bristows hire another Bird & Bird partner into its TMT and life sciences practice while Eversheds appointed a new head of its London tax practice and Stewarts Law launched a City tax litigation practice. In the Middle East, Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla hired Simmons & Simmons COO for the region.

Following on from Baker & McKenzie’s merger with United Arab Emirates (UAE) based firm Habib Al Mulla last year, the combined firm Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla has hired David Denman from Simmons & Simmons to be its new chief operating officer (COO) for the firm’s UAE offices and to help implement the firm’s post-combination strategy.

Denman was Simmons & Simmons’ COO for almost five years, after working as the firm’s regional HR manager for nearly a year and a half. He joins after the hire of three lateral partners so far this year with Will Seivewright joining from Latham & Watkins, Steven Henderson from Clifford Chance, and Jayshree Gupta from DLA Piper.

Meanwhile in London, Bristows added to its latest hiring spree by recruiting Matt Dennis to its corporate practice from Bird & Bird. He has over 24-years of experience in international M&A and corporate transactions for clients in technology-related industries and joins Chris Holder who also moved from Bird & Bird in September.

Dennis leaves Bird & Bird after 14 years, most recently as its international media group co-head. He joined his former firm as a corporate partner in 2000, before which he was a lawyer at Ashurst for ten years.

Also in the City, Eversheds hired funds and real estate tax lawyer Cathryn Vanderspar to head its London tax team. She joins from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) where she has been a tax partner for over 16 years, specialising in corporate tax, with particular focus in corporate and joint venture real estate (including REITs) and funds transactions.

In 2007, Vanderspar, along with other City advisors, helped create the UK’s first hotel REIT, after BLP advised Marylebone Warwick Balfour Group on the sale of its hotel properties in its Malmaison and Hotel du Vin chains.

Head of Eversheds’ tax team David Jervis said: ‘Cathryn is a highly regarded funds tax specialist who has vast, cutting edge experience in this key area for the firm, where Eversheds has a market leading reputation.’

Last week, Stewarts Law also ventured into the world of tax, launching a tax litigation practice with the hire of David Pickstone. Pickstone, who will head the new practice, previously worked at PwC Legal for over nine years. He joins with experience of acting for corporates, financial institutions and high net worth individuals in tax disputes.

The new practice area will target tax-related cases that will appear before the courts, and follows the recent boom in tax disputes. The tax practice is the firm’s tenth specialist area, alongside international arbitration and employment litigation.

Pickstone has worked on many of the most important recent tax cases, including having conduct of the Prudential privilege litigation from the High Court through to the Supreme Court, acting for Littlewoods Retail in their claim for compound interest on overpayments of VAT and acting as the solicitor with conduct for the Stamp Taxes Group Litigation Order.

Stewarts Law’s managing partner, John Cahill, said: ‘We are committed to recruiting the very best lawyers to meet the needs of our clients. The current economic climate has resulted in a large volume of high value tax cases. David, with his particular expertise in direct tax claims, is very well placed to take on such disputes.’