Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: Capsticks hires BBC’s head of competition as Field Fisher, Kennedys and TLT bring in laterals

After a week that saw Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW), Kennedys and TLT all make significant hires into their City bases, one of more unusual hires of the past few days was leading healthcare firm Capsticks’ recruitment of the BBC legal department’s head of competition and regulatory team, Noel Watson-Doig.

Watson-Doig initially trained as a barrister at the European Court of Justice of the EU, as a pupil to Judge J. Cooke in competition, state aid, trade mark and employment law. He joined Reed Smith in 2006, Cameron McKenna in 2008 and the BBC in March 2009.

Watson-Doig has worked on a range of high profile matters including the European Commission’s clearance of Syniverse Technologies’ acquisition of Billing Services Group, the Competition Commission’s review of the broadcasting joint venture Project Kangaroo, and the Office of Fair Trading’s investigation in the UK grocery sector. He also advised HM Treasury on the competition protocol included in the Lisbon Treaty.

Capsticks commercial partner Sharon Lamb said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome someone of Noel’s calibre to our busy competition team, he will be a great asset in helping our clients to transform and improve their services whilst meeting the challenges around competition law.’

Elsewhere, FFW has bolstered its finance group with the hire of former Simmons & Simmons banking and finance partner, Philip Abbott, who joins the top 40 firm at the end of the month.

With a significant focus on funds finance, real estate finance and restructurings in the emerging markets – in particular Libya, Turkey and the Middle East – Abbott advises hedge funds, real estate funds, corporate borrowers and lenders, including the German banks, investment banks and the commercial banks.

Having trained with Allen & Overy, qualifying in 1996, Abbott has been with Simmons since 2003, spending two years as head of regional finance for the Middle East in Dubai  from 2008 to 2010.

FFW managing partner Michael Chissick said: ‘The addition of a senior partner such as Philip to our finance group is a great addition to an already strong team. We have made a number of lateral hires into the group over the past 12 months, and with Philip’s arrival we feel that we are in a better position than ever to service our clients’ needs.’

Also boosting its City practice, LB top 30 firm Kennedys has brought in the former insurance practice group head of CMS Cameron McKenna’s Hong Kong office, Michael Skrbic as a partner in its London office.

Prior to CMS, Skrbic was a partner in the London office of New York and Chicago specialist insurance law firm Boundas Skarzynski Walsh & Black, and was a corporate insurance attorney in Bermuda with Appleby.

He has also held senior in-house roles at ACE Group, Zurich Financial Services, Dresdner Kleinwort and Commerzbank.

Peter Cashin, Kennedys international head of corporate insurance based in Hong Kong, says: ‘Kennedys already has a substantial corporate insurance practice, based in Hong Kong, and this appointment strengthens the international presence of the firm in corporate insurance.

‘With financial sector assessments, assessments on the implementation of the insurance core principles, and the many other aspects of international insurance regulatory reform, we expect regulatory and transactional activity in the insurance sector to continue to grow and to be increasingly cross-border. Michael is one of the few lawyers with the experience in these areas across a number of jurisdictions most important to our clients.’

Also in London, TLT – which counts financial services as 40% of its client base – has recruited financial services and regulatory partner Emily Benson to join regulatory head Clare Hughes, advising on all aspects of FCA regulation.

Benson joins from financial services regulatory boutique firm Kinetic Partners, having previously worked in-house for Santander and spending five years in the Financial Services Authority’s enforcement division (now part of the Financial Conduct Authority).

Hughes said: ‘The majority of TLT’s financial services regulatory team, like Emily, have worked in the legal and compliance departments of financial services institutions or regulators. We understand the need for commercially based legal solutions in this technically exacting area. Emily’s arrival will boost this experience and help ensure that our clients are pre-warned and pre-armed in the ever complex and dynamic world of financial services regulation.’