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Revolving doors: OC, DLA and DWF make key hires as CMA promotes new cartels head

Last week saw a trio of LB100 firms, Osborne Clarke (OC), DWF, and DLA Piper,  make key national and international appointments while the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) bolstered its cartels and criminal group with the internal promotion of a director to its leadership team.

OC, which has this year seen a period of dramatic growth and assured strategic expansion, recruited Hogan Lovells commercial partner Mark Taylor to its London office. A specialist in tech and IT projects, outsourcing and cyber security, his move to the firm follows that of telecoms specialist Jon Fell, who left Pinsent Masons after 15 years for OC in June.

UK managing partner, Ray Berg, said: ‘Digital business, data privacy and mobile payments are all hot topics in today’s world. Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in all three, making him a huge asset to the team. We look forward to welcoming him to our London office and further strengthening our expertise for the benefit of our clients.’

On the back of a recent disappointing financial performance, DWF has forged ahead with further investment and appointed DAC Beachcroft partner Lorraine Carolan as its national head of counter fraud.

Set to join this month, Carolan headed DAC’s national claims validation team and prior to that led the litigation practice. She will work alongside the firm’s 900-strong insurance team to ‘deliver increased value to the firm’s client base of insurers’.

She said: ‘There are a number of opportunities available to pursue within the fraud market, and DWF’s investment in their systems and intelligence provide a strong platform on which to explore these.’

Carolan’s hire comes on the back of DWF’s second year of lacklustre performance. In early August its financial results showed a 1% rise in revenue and a 16% drop in profit per equity partner.

DLA Piper meanwhile, has made a bid to enhance its Australia offering with the recruit of heavyweight corporate lawyer James Philips from Minter Ellison, where he co-headed its M&A practice.

Having advised on transactions valued at more than AU$100bn, he specialises in takeover bids, schemes of arrangement, public to privates, privatisations and equity capital markets work. Philips constitutes the sixth lateral hire made by the firm as part of a strategic effort to better its corporate capabilities in the Asia Pacific. Others in recent months includes Allen & Overy partner Grant Koch as head of private equity in Sydney; Michael Bowen, Scott Gibson and Marc Wilshaw of Perth corporate law firm Hardy Bowen in July; and partner David Hallam from Melbourne firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth in July.

DLA Australia managing partner John Weber said: ‘We have gained significant momentum in the Australian market, in particular with a focus on transactional corporate work, and we’re delighted to welcome James.’

Finally the CMA last week bolstered its cartels and criminal group with the promotion of Deborah Wilkie as director of civil cartel enforcement.

Previously a lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills before joining the body in 2014, she will lead an expanded team alongside existing director Juliette Enser, and act as project director on Competition Act cartels cases, while playing a role in the CMA policy work on cartels and leniency.

Stephen Blake, CMA senior director of cartels and criminal, said: ‘This appointment further strengthens the CMA’s cartel enforcement group, reflecting the ongoing importance we place on identifying, investigating and taking enforcement action against cartel activity by firms and individuals across the UK. Deborah brings a wealth of skills and experience, both from her time at the CMA, and before that as a lawyer in private practice, dealing with large and complex commercial disputes.’