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Revolving Doors: Key transactional and antitrust hires for Bakers, Bird & Bird, K&L Gates, Trowers, Reed Smith and Mayer Brown

With transactional activity on the rise international firms including Bird & Bird, K&L Gates, Trowers & Hamlins and Reed Smith have bolstered their European corporate and banking capability, while Baker & McKenzie and Mayer Brown have made appointments in the buoyant pharmaceutical and antitrust sectors respectively.

In London, Bakers on Monday (3 February) announced the hire of highly rated pharmaceutical lawyer Julian Thurston, a former partner and consultant at Morrison & Foerster, who joins the firm’s 450-lawyer global pharmaceutical and healthcare industry group as a consultant.Recognised internationally as one of the leading life sciences transactional lawyers, the Legal 500 describes Thurston, who focuses on strategic joint ventures, licensing and collaborations with an emphasis emerging markets such as China Latin America and Russia, as a ‘leading individual’ in the industry.

Also in London, top 50 law firm Trowers & Hamlins announced this week that it has bolstered its banking and finance capability with the appointment of former Squire Sanders partner Simon Owen, who headed the banking team at legacy Hammonds prior to its January 2011 merger with the US firm.

Adrian Carter, head of banking and finance at Trowers, said: ‘With his enviable track record and skill set, Simon will help further strengthen our existing real estate and finance capabilities.’

In the corporate sector, Bird & Bird announced on Monday that it has hired former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton corporate partner and cable market specialist Hans Peter Leube in Germany. Luebe, who joined the Frankfurt office on 1 February from Schalast & Partner in Frankfurt, has had an extensive career working across Cleary’s Frankfurt and New York offices, having previously worked for Baker & Mackenzie in Düsseldorf and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Frankfurt.

‘We are very pleased to welcome Hans Peter to our corporate team. Drawing on his practical experience in the communications industry, especially in the cable market, he can offer our clients an exceptional level of industry insight and advice,’ said Alexander Schröder-Frerkes, managing partner of Bird & Bird’s German practice and head of the international corporate group.

Also bolstering its corporate capability, this time in Paris, Reed Smith last week turned to Hogan Lovells for the hire of corporate partner Isabelle MacElhone, who was previously a partner with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

MacElhone’s hire, which brings the Paris corporate team up to five partners, follows the launch of the Paris competition practice in April 2013 with the hire of Hogan Lovell’s antitrust partner Michel Debroux.

‘We have a full-service corporate team in Paris, and with Isabelle’s added experience and knowledge we are able to provide both French and international organisations with expert support. Isabelle’s appointment brings new expertise and strengthens the capabilities of an already strong corporate team in Paris. I am very pleased to welcome her to Reed Smith,’ said James Wilkinson, head of the firm’s Europe & Middle East corporate group.

Also in Paris, which has seen a number of team moves and individual hires in recent months, global law firm K&L Gates has hired Allen & Overy (A&O) partner Jean-Patrice Labautière as a partner in the corporate/M&A practice.

An experienced corporate and transactional lawyer, Labautière practised with A&O for 15 years and advises financial institutions, corporations, and private equity clients on a wide variety of transactions, including complex acquisitions, reorganizations, and joint ventures. He is particularly active in the healthcare, financial services, and technology sectors.

The hire follows the January arrival in K&L Gates Hong Kong office of Deacons investment management partner Greg Heaton.

Meanhwhile, bolstering its competition capability in the Brussels heartland is global top 30 firm Mayer Brown, which has hired antitrust partner Julian Ellison from Ashurst. Ellison specialises in EU and UK competition law and has been involved in merger cases including ferry company P&O’s mergers with Stena Line and Brittany Ferries. The Legal 500 describe him as ‘easy to contact’ and adds that he ‘maintains the right balance between technicalities and practicalities’.

Kiran Desai, partner-in-charge of the firm’s Brussels office, said: ‘Julian is a highly regarded EU and UK competition lawyer whose experience complements our focus in Europe on network industries, local markets, government investigations and litigation before the EU Court of Justice. In addition, his skills will enhance our state aid practice and our representation of clients in sectors such as transport and chemicals.’