In the latest series of lateral appointments across the UK’s leading firms, Squire Sanders has hired former Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) director of China business as a partner in its global corporate practice, as Olswang welcomes former Gateley contentious insolvency partner Louise Bell, Irwin Mitchell hires restructuring and insolvency specialist Edward Judge, and DAC Beachcroft brings in Eversheds’ former head of procurement in Newcastle, Ruth Connorton.
Meanwhile in Italy, Osborne Clarke has hired former R&P Legal antitrust partner, Enrico Fabrizi.
A dual-qualified lawyer in England and Wales and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with more than two decades’ experience advising both international and Chinese clients on cross-border corporate, commercial and M&A transactions, Michelle Chen is one of the latest to depart BLP as she joins Squire Sanders’ City practice.
After qualifying among the first PRC lawyers in 1990, Chen worked for 10 years as an international law advisor to the State Council of the PRC and has an in-depth understanding of the Chinese government.
She has been closely involved in several high profile projects, including the formal transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China and the establishment of the Hong Kong legal system.
Chen also served as group legal counsel at Hong Kong-based investment holding company Hutchinson Whampoa, responsible for the group’s China-related matters.
Jane Haxby, partner and EMEA chair of Squire Sanders’ global corporate practice, said: ‘We welcome Michelle to the firm and to the London office, where she is the fifth partner to join us since January. Michelle is highly regarded by her peers, many of whom include in-house counsel at some of China’s largest businesses.
‘She joins us at an important time, as our China outbound and inbound work continues to develop. Chinese outbound M&A, in particular, is growing globally with the UK, Western Europe, Germany especially, and North America being key regional focuses for Chinese investors. Following our recent appointment of China outbound specialist Dr. Benjamin Kroymann in Shanghai, Michelle’s experience will further strengthen our capabilities for clients both in China and internationally.’
Also in London, former Gateley insolvency litigator Louise Bell joins Olswang’s commercial litigation, insolvency and civil fraud team where she brings her focus on substantial claims brought by insolvency practitioners, often working on fraud and complex recovery options.
Bell’s clients include KPMG, Grant Thornton, BDO, FRP Advisory, Moore Stephens and Griffins, and she has worked for banks including Lloyds Banking Group, Clydesdale Bank and National Australia Bank in pursuing recovery options outside of a formal insolvency.
In a clear statement of intent to continue to instructing Bell, head of Grant Thornton’s contentious insolvency team, Kevin Hellard said: ‘Olswang has significantly strengthened their offering in this growing market with the addition of Louise Bell to their team. Louise is an accomplished litigator and increasingly a leading player in the contentious insolvency market. We look forward to continuing to work with Louise and the wider Olswang team in the future.’
Meanwhile, Judge marks Irwin Mitchell’s 21st hire into its commercial practice since the start of 2012, as he joins the top 25 firm’s London office from SGH Martineau, where he specialised in both contentious and non-contentious corporate restructuring and recovery.
In the North, DAC Beachcroft takes on Eversheds’ former head of procurement law, Connorton, who specialises in non-contentious procurement matters advising clients in both the private and public sectors, including the NHS, and who brings with her three colleagues from Eversheds in Newcastle upon Tyne.
With 20 years’ experience in the sector, five of which were spent in-house at Yorkshire Water, Connorton’s recent experience includes the de-commissioning contracts at Sellafield, Olympic Legacy procurement and Network Rail franchising.
Martin Cannon, head of the commercial team at DAC Beachcroft, said: ‘Ruth is a national figure in procurement law with No. 1 rankings in Chambers and Legal 500. The work she does will complement and enhance our existing services in real estate, regulatory and public law, local government and health and take us into a whole new space in terms of our national procurement offering.’
Across to the Continent, meanwhile, Fabrizi joins Osborne Clarke from local firm R&P Legal to head its Italian antitrust practice and oversee the firm’s expansion in Rome, bringing with him a team of three lawyers.
Fabrizi advises on Italian and international competition law, state incentives and unfair business practices, as well as on regulatory issues, particularly in the digital business and energy sectors.
Riccardo Roversi, managing partner of Osborne Clarke Italy – which was formed through its merger with SLA Studio Legale Associato in 2012 – commented: ‘Enrico’s arrival enriches our pan-European competition practice, which is led by Thomas Funke. His experience, combined with the growing Brussels office means OC has a deeper bench of talent available to its clients who need national and EU advice.’