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Revolving doors: OC hires from Bakers in international push while Ashurst and Dentons build European presence

Last week saw LB 100 firms Dentons, Ashurst and Osborne Clarke (OC) expand European offices while Addleshaw Goddard boosted its litigation offering.


Dentons enhanced its Paris office with the hire of Nicolas Theys, a partner from King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin, to lead its restructuring insolvency and bankruptcy practice in France. His hire is indicative of the increasingly fluid Parisian market that has seen Clifford Chance ramp up its finance and corporate teams in recent weeks. For others, it’s been more of a challenge as evidenced by Berwin Leighton Paisner’s recent decision to scale back as a result of market difficulties.

For Dentons, the addition of Theys, a specialist in all aspects of French insolvency law and experienced in shareholder-related disputes, will enable the firm to ‘build our offering to clients in France and contribute to the strategic goal of developing a leading restructuring practice in Europe’.

Theys brings with him a four-strong team including King Wood counsel Audrey Molina and associates Geraldine Astrup, Elisabeth de Carvalho and Gwenaelle de Girval.

Meanwhile, Ashurst took measures to improve its disputes team in the typically volatile Spanish market, a region that is starting to enjoy an increasingly positive economic outlook. The firm has appointed Jose Antonio Rodriguez Alvarez, a former partner in CMS’s Spanish arm, CMS Albinana & Suarez de Lezo, to head its disputes practice in Spain.

Before his role at CMS, Alvarez also previously led the disputes practice at Baker & McKenzie in Spain and served as general counsel at Spanish TV company, Sogecable.

Commenting on Alvarez’s arrival, the firm’s Spain managing partner Eduardo Gracia: ‘We are confident that Jose Antonio will make significant contribution and provide the leadership required to make it the go-to team in the Spanish market’.

Over in Germany, Osborne Clarke (OC) continues to make good on its international ambitions and recruited IP partner Andrea Schmoll from Baker & McKenzie who leaves the world’s largest firm by revenue after 12 years. She joins OC’s office in Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city, and brings with her experience in the commercialisation of IP rights, and know-how in R&D, licensing and collaboration agreements.

Having enjoyed an upward growth trajectory of late with global revenues up 26% to €169m for the most recent financial period alongside a profit per equity partner hike of 46% to £513,000, the firm has made clear its audacious mandate for continued expansion.  Outgoing managing partner Simon Beswick told Legal Business previously that, alongside four office launches since last year, the firm will look at further internationalisation which includes making additional lateral hires throughout 2014.

Lastly, having been plagued by multiple partner defects in recent months, Addleshaw Goddard has refocused its efforts on its London office and appointed litigation partner Mark Hastings as head of fraud, regulatory and corporate crime following the exit of Ian Hargreaves to King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin while litigation partner Helen Worth was hired from Hong Kong firm Cordells to its London Office.

Hastings is known for several high profile mandates, including leading in the mammoth Berezovsky dispute, a $6bn commercial court claim against Roman Abramovich. He further acted on the related $3bn Chancery Division claims against the estate of the late Georgian billionaire Arkady Patarkatsisvili.

On his new role, litigation division managing partner Michael Barnett said: ‘Mark is well placed to build on this strong platform and lead the team towards our ambition of becoming one of the City of London’s best civil fraud practices’.