Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: Quinn hires Simmons disputes head in London-focused recruitment round 

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has reinforced its considerable disputes strength with a senior hire, as a host of firms focused on London for their partner recruitment.

Paul Baker, Simmons & Simmons head of dispute resolution in the UK, has joined US litigation heavyweight Quinn Emanuel as a partner in London. With a specific focus on financial disputes, Baker also led Simmons’ reputation management practice.  
A notable mandate for Baker during his spell at Simmons, he represented Grant Thornton and two of its former partners in the much-publicised multi-billion pound claim brought by property-investing brothers Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz.

John Quinn, founder of Quinn Emanuel, said: ‘Paul is another impressive addition to the London office which will grow substantially again this year on the back of a spectacular 2020.’ The firm unveiled a striking 27% uptick in London turnover in January.

Meanwhile Hogan Lovells has made a string of marquee hires in the past week, including the appointment of White & Case’s M&A star Patrick Sarch. Sarch will co-head Hogan Lovells’ London M&A practice alongside Ben Higson.

In addition, a four-strong litigation team has joined Hogan Lovells from Debevoise & Plimpton. The team includes two partners, Kevin Lloyd and Richard Lawton. Lloyd has a broad commercial litigation practice, while Lawton specialises in cross-border commercial disputes.

Hogan Lovells CEO Miguel Zaldivar said: ‘These appointments demonstrate our ambition and commitment to grow into an unrivalled global powerhouse that puts clients at the centre of everything we do, drives revenue and enhances profitability.’

A Debevoise spokesperson said: ‘Our UK commercial litigation team remains among the strongest in the market, led by a group of established senior partners and an exciting set of future leaders.’

Also strengthening its London disputes bench was Jones Day, appointing Michelle Bradfield as a partner. Bradfield, who co-headed the international arbitration group in Dechert’s London office, will also be tasked with expanding her practice into Australia.  She has experience in boundary and maritime disputes, investment treaty arbitration and international commercial arbitration.

Continuing the contentious theme, Lewis Silkin expanded its commercial dispute resolution bench to 15 partners with the hire of Neil Parkes. Parkes joins from Foot Antsey, and has a particular focus on the media, entertainment and technology sectors, but also a strong background in contentious IP matters.

Stephenson Harwood has made a significant leveraged finance hire by bringing in Julie Romer as a partner from DLA Piper in London. She has over 20 years’ experience advising lenders, private equity sponsors and corporate borrowers on all manners of financing transactions.

James Linforth, head of Stephenson Harwood’s banking practice, hailed Romer as ‘an outstanding lawyer who is well-known for her commercial insight and technical abilities.’

Goodwin has added an experienced private equity partner in the form of Geoff O’Dea, who joins the firm’s London office from Baker McKenzie. O’Dea specialises in acquisition finance, corporate lending, and restructuring and insolvency.

Richard Lever, a London-based Goodwin private equity partner, said O’Dea would become an ‘integral part’ of its team and noted the firm was ‘incredibly focused on building out our platform in the UK and Europe in response to the increasing demand from clients.’

In another loss for Dechert, Mayer Brown has recruited its European structured finance head Charles Malpass in London. Malpass has a wide-ranging practice with a multi-jurisdictional edge, and frequently advises on transactions in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and the US.

‘This is a big hire for us’, announced Dominic Griffiths, partner and co-head of Mayer Brown’s global banking and finance practice. He added: ‘Finance has long been one of the signature strengths of our global platform, which we sustain through continuous and targeted investment such as this hire.’

Reed Smith has also boosted its London structured finance bench via the appointment of Partner Jason Richardson, who joins from Sidley Austin. Richardson advises on a variety of structured finance transactions, with a particular focus on commercial real estate and derivatives-based deals.

Panos Kastambas, global co-head of Reed Smith’s financial industry group, said: ‘He is a hugely talented lawyer and highly regarded throughout the industry. In fact, I know just how good a lawyer he is having worked opposite him on a recent complex transaction.’

Finally, Dentons has secured a major insurance move in Canada with the addition of a nine-strong team in the region. Five of the arriving lawyers are partners, with varied expertise in corporate, regulatory and litigation.

The team will be led across Toronto and Calgary by corporate and regulatory partner Laurie LaPalme, alongside similarly-specialised partners Derek Levinsky and Marisa Coggin. Partners Arthur Hamilton and Laurie Livingtsone bring the commercial litigation expertise.

Martin Mankabady, London partner and global chair of Dentons’ insurance group, said: ‘Bolstering our insurance sector capabilities across the world is a huge priority for Dentons. Our scale is unmatched by any other law firm and our aim is to continue to be a market-leader and the go-to adviser for both large conglomerates with global reach and local businesses with highly specialised needs.’