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Revolving doors: Dechert makes double hire in California as King & Spalding lures Brussels head

In a more muted round of lateral partner recruitment as August draws to a close, Dechert, King & Spalding and Dentons have all strengthened their global benches while boutique firm Avonhurst has hired a London disputes veteran.

Dechert has significantly expanded its San Francisco operations by making two lateral partner hires and relocating two further partners from its US offices.

Joining the firm is experienced litigation partner Hartley West, who arrives from Kobre & Kim. West regularly advises clients facing investigations related to antitrust, fraud, corruption, trade secrets and money laundering. She has also served as an Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of California.

Also transferring to Dechert is securities litigation partner Rick Hovarth, who joins from Paul Hastings. He has a wealth of experience representing boards and investors on shareholder litigation, as well as a background in a wide range of transactional and corporate governance matters.

And further strengthening Dechert’s California presence, litigation partner Joshua Hess from Washington DC and corporate partner Jonathan Stott from Philadelphia have relocated to San Francisco.

Andrew Levander, chair of Dechert’s policy committee, said: ‘California continues to lead innovations across the globe and remains a strategic growth area for our firm. The additions of our new partners, along with the moves of our existing partners, will bolster our corporate and litigation capabilities in California, and deepen our bench of top talent on the West Coast.’

King & Spalding has made a significant hire in Brussels, hiring competition partner Salomé Cisnal De Ugarte. Previously Hogan Lovells’ managing partner in Brussels, De Ugarte assists clients with all aspects of EU and national competition law. In particular, she has a background in cross-border mergers and joint ventures, and gaining clearance for transactions from the European Commission and national competition authorities.

De Ugarte is ranked by The Legal 500 in its EU and global competition category for Brussels.

Zach Fardon, head of King & Spalding’s government matters practice, commented: ‘Competition law is one of the cornerstones of the transatlantic legal market and our clients are increasingly involved in cross-border matters. Having a lawyer of Salomé’s standing and stature, with over 20 years of experience in Brussels, allows us to offer the high-end advice that our clients require.’

Newly-formed London multidisciplinary advisory firm Avonhurst has pulled off a major coup, with the addition of former White & Case London litigation head John Reynolds. With over 30 years’ experience Reynolds is a highly respected figure in financial services disputes, recognised by The Legal 500 in its ‘Hall of Fame’ for banking litigation.

He will assume the role of head of disputes at Avonhurst, and will also sit on the firm’s management committee. Reynolds said: ‘After 30 years at some of the world’s leading law firms, I am excited to bring that experience to Avonhurst to help build what I believe is a truly unique offering. Avonhurst is a new-fashioned firm and I look forward to a new-fashioned approach to helping clients resolve or avoid their most complex problems.’

And, in Baku, Dentons has landed a senior hire to lead its intellectual property and technology and litigation practices, with Kamil Valiyev joining as a partner from Azerbaijan firm MGB Law Offices. Formerly of Baker McKenzie, Vailyev has a broad practice spanning corporate and M&A, energy, intellectual property, project development and compliance.

In his new role, he will also take on co-management responsibilities for the Baku office alongside partner Ulvia Zeynalova-Bockin. Valiyev said of his move: ‘Joining Dentons is a great opportunity to become a part of the global and leading team of legal professionals and better serve the needs of clients by giving them access to the firm’s unmatched global resources.’