Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: HSF, Pinsents and Bird & Bird make key international laterals while High Court judge returns to Bar

Last week saw a host of international law firm lateral hires, while judge Sir Jeremy Cooke has left the UK’s High Court to return to the commercial Bar.

Stephenson Harwood has hired Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) partner Pierre-Nicolas Sanzey to spearhead the launch of a real estate practice in Paris. His client portfolio has included UK-based asset manager Resolution Property, Allianz and Premier Group and his arrival follows Stephenson Harwood’s acquisition of a seven-strong banking and litigation team from Eversheds in Hong Kong in February.

In Düsseldorf, Herbert Smith Freehills has added to its recently launched office with the hire of Baker & McKenzie senior corporate partner Soenke Becker. Becker co-headed Bakers German corporate practice until 2014 and currently chairs its Europe, Middle East and Africa M&A practice and is a member of the global M&A steering committee.

Meanwhile Norwegian firm Wikborg Rein has recruited Ince & Co shipping partner Nick Shepherd. Shepherd, who will serve as head of Ince’s Piraeus office until December, will join Wikborg in London in May. At the same time, Ince’s former shipping head Faz Peermohamed returned to the firm after four months as chief executive of client the Norwegian Hull Club.

In Asia, Bird & Bird secured the hire of Simmons & Simmons head of TMT Alexander Shepherd as partner in its global tech & communications group in a bid to ‘enhance the firm’s transactional capabilities’ in the sector. Having relocated to Singapore in 2013 to establish an office for Simmons, Shepherd will continue to be based in the region where the firm’s international practice head, Graeme Maguire, said it has become ‘an increasingly important regional hub for tech and comms clients and work.’

Meanwhile Pinsent Masons has strengthend its oil and gas team in Asia with the hire of Ashley Wright from Norton Rose Fulbright. A partner in Norton Rose’s Singapore office since 2011, clients have included Hess, Petronas, PTTEP, KUFPEC and Pertamina.

In Scotland, Burness Paull has bolstered its technology practice with the addition of DLA Piper partner Callum Sinclair to its Glasgow office. Sinclair, who currently counts Skyscanner and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival among his clients, will lead the firm’s technology group, and take over as head of the commercial division from partner David Goodbrand, who steps down from the management role after a decade.

Finally at the Bar, commercial set 7KBW has welcomed the return of judge Sir Jeremy Cooke, after he recently stepped down from the bench. He joined the set as a full time arbitrator and mediator earlier this month (3 May).

Cooke’s time as a judge included presiding over the criminal court trial of the first trader to be convicted for attempting to fix Libor. A justice of the Dubai International Financial Court, he specialises in commercial law, including shipping, insurance, professional negligence, and banking.

Cooke’s departure coincides with current strife within the profession about the clear declining morale in the judiciary over issues including pay and working conditions.

For more on movement at Ince & Co, see this month’s cover feature ‘Ports in a storm – can Ince get back on course’