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Revolving doors: Fieldfisher secures Dentons IP veteran as A&O loses New York finance star to Mayer Brown

Last week saw a busy lateral recruitment market pick up again, with Fieldfisher and Mayer Brown making headline deals at the expense of Dentons and Allen & Overy (A&O).

Dentons’ former UK head of IP John Linneker is to join Fieldfisher after 13 years at the global giant.

He told Legal Business: ‘I have always admired Fieldfisher, it has got a really great platform. It is a bigger group, a well-known IP practice and it’s very aspirational. I am scaling up.’

IP is one of Fieldfisher’s key practice lines, with 60 lawyers last year generating  a turnover of more than £13m.

Linneker joined Dentons in 2005 and became global chair of Dentons’ trade mark practice after 15 years spent making his name at Taylor Wessing’s market-leading IP practice. He has acted on a number of high-profile cases in recent years, including the dispute between Lotus Sports Cars and Malaysia Racing over ownership of the Lotus brand in Formula 1.

On the other side of the pond, Allen & Overy has lost its global co-head of leveraged finance Scott Zemser to Mayer Brown just 18 months after the firm recruited him from White & Case.

Zemser moved along with Alan Rockwell and Judah Frogel in July 2016 as A&O made a major finance play to compete with the US elite which also saw the firm recruiting from Proskauer Rose and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. Legal Business reported at the time that A&O had broken its lockstep for some of the hires .

While the other partners recruited at the time remain at A&O, Zemser will return to the firm where he began his career to co-lead Mayer Brown’s global lending group.

He said that the key factors in his decision to rejoin the firm were ‘Mayer Brown’s sophisticated global finance and restructuring platform, coupled with the firm’s collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to solving clients’ complex business needs and its strong US presence’.

A&O’s US senior partner Tim House stressed that the firm’s US finance and corporate practices experienced ‘substantial growth’ in 2017 and he expected that trend to continue this year. He added: ‘2018 will be a significant year for the firm as we continue to serve our clients, integrate new talent and expand our presence in the US market.’

A&O brought in a three-partner finance and securities New York team from Paul Hastings in February last year, breaking the lockstep again to secure their services. However, it also lost corporate veteran Peter Harwich to Latham & Watkins last October.

Meanwhile, another US firm making waves last week, Cooley secured cross-border deals specialist Michal Berkner from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in London.

She had been at Skadden for more than two decades and her departure is the first loss for the US firm’s London corporate practice since the firm recruited private equity rainmaker Richard Youle from White & Case last spring.

Last week Cooley also opened its second China office in Beijing, recruiting Ropes & Gray funds specialist Xun Zeng. The firm’s thirteenth office worldwide, it follows the launch in Shanghai in 2011.

Meanwhile, Brown Rudnick has continued its recent London expansion with the hire of former Ashurst head of technology and IP Mark Lubbock. Earlier in January, the firm recruited City restructuring partner Louisa Watt from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft .

Back in the US, Clyde & Co shipped in a nine-lawyer insurance team in Washington DC. Partners Doug Mangel, John Hockenbury, Joe Bailey and Alex Karam will move from US firm Shipman & Goodwin along with five associates to beef up the firm’s local office, which launched in February last year with a six partner insurance team.