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Revolving Doors: Key hires for Mayer Brown, Greenberg Traurig, Herbert Smith, K&L Gates and Pinsent Masons

The lateral hiring spike of September is running into October, as Mayer Brown and US rival Greenberg Traurig Maher bulk up in London, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and K&L Gates recruit into their Australian practices, and Pinsent Masons boosts its Middle Eastern energy projects team.

Mayer Brown has hired Patricia Jones, a real estate partner from SJ Berwin, to join its team in London, following the hire last week of corporate partner Greg Stonefield from White & Case. Jones has been at SJ Berwin for 10 years and most recently acted for British Land on the redevelopment of the Shoreditch Estate.

The 1536-lawyer US firm has been bulking up its real estate practice for over year, hiring head of real estate investment Chris Harvey from CMS Cameron McKenna last April and more recently investment and development specialist Martin Wright, who arrived from Ashurst in January.

‘At a time of volatility in the real estate legal market we are strengthening our team with the very best and are increasing our numbers to reflect the requirements of both our domestic and overseas clients,’ said Wright, who heads up Mayer Brown’s European real estate practice.

Stonefield, meanwhile, focuses on equity capital markets (ECM) and M&A work. His ECM work has often involved emerging markets and he covers a range of sectors, including oil and gas, mining and metals and real estate.

‘There is an extremely international dimension to our practice and we also have an emerging markets focus. Greg’s international and sector experience will complement our domestic and global capabilities,’ said Peter Dickinson, head of corporate and securities in London at the firm.

Also bulking up in London is top 20 Global 100 firm Greenberg Traurig, which has secured the hire of corporate partner Stephen Horvath, who previously served as head of the now defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf’s European M&A practice and who was one of two partners who remained with the firm to wind down its affairs. He joins the firm’s corporate and securities practice in London.

‘His proven ability to work with collaborative teams of lawyers from multiple offices and specialties will be well suited to delivering the kind of services clients are seeking from a modern global law firm,’ said Paul Maher, co-chairman of the firm’s global M&A group and chairman of Greenberg Traurig in London.

Elsewhere, a growing demand for energy lawyers in Australia has seen Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), which has lost a number of partners in the jurisdiction recently, take on two high profile partners. David Ryan joins the 2323-lawyer firm from Baker & McKenzie where he was a partner and global head of mining and metals. He will work with the firm’s energy and resource clients on corporate and general M&A matters.

David Lyons joins HSF from top 10 LB100 rival Norton Rose Fulbright, where he was a partner in the firm’s finance practice. He has a wide practice that encompasses transactional, advisory/regulatory and corporate matters as well as infrastructure, resource and project finance.

‘While we already have Australia’s leading corporate and finance practices, we have needed to increase our resources to service clients in these areas within certain markets,’ said Australia managing partner Jason Ricketts.

Also in Australia, K&L Gates continues its lateral hiring run with the appointment of Alex Eastwood as a partner in the energy, infrastructure and resources practice in Perth. He was general counsel for Gryphon Minerals, an Australian energy company that does a lot of work in West Africa.

‘He is a first class operator and a very experienced lawyer, having worked both in-house and in private practice. He understands what clients are looking for in their legal services provider and no-one comes more highly qualified than Alex,’ said Nick Nichola, managing partner of K&L Gates Australia.

Managing partners predicted an increase in energy work when interviewed for The Global 100 earlier this year and energy is a recurring feature at Pinsent Masons, which has hired oil and gas specialist George Booth from Clyde & Co, where he has been a partner since 2010. He specialises in the Middle East, having lived and worked in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for ten years. He was also legal counsel at Halliburton Energy Services, advising on international matters across the UK, Norway, North Africa and Europe.

‘His particular focus on the Gulf helps us build our capability to serve that market, working with the team’s base in Doha and Dubai,’ said Michael Watson group head for projects at the firm.