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Revolving doors: Senior ex-Unilever and Amex lawyers move to private practice as McDermott boosts Paris office

Some of the most high-profile strategic hires recently have seen former in-house counsel move to private practice, all following the news last week that Weil, Gotshal & Manges is bringing Goldman Sachs’ European head and co-head of restructuring Andrew Wilkinson back to a law firm.

Irwin Mitchell has appointed the former head of trade marks at Unilever, Katrina Burchell, to its intellectual property team. Burchell, who was most recently IP director of Kering, the owner of luxury brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, will join Irwin Mitchell’s London office.

With 25 years’ experience as a qualified trade mark attorney, Burchell spent 15 years at Unilever where she was head of the global trade mark team. She will work alongside former Brown Rudnick IP head Georgie Collins who was brought in last September to spearhead the firm’s IP practice.

Collins said: ‘Recruiting Katrina is a real coup for Irwin Mitchell in terms of her profile, extensive in-house experience and knowledge of all things brand. Katrina understands how to price and market brands-led IP products and services effectively and efficiently without compromising quality. As a result of her role at Unilever she also understands that there are some aspects of trade mark filing/prosecution work that are process driven and can be systemised and managed more efficiently.’

In the US, the former GC of American Express, Louise Parent, has joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton‘s New York office as an of Counsel having retired from her post in 2013 after 20 years at the credit card company. At Cleary, she will advise clients on issues related principally to corporate governance and regulatory matters.

Meanwhile, McDermott Will & Emery has appointed former Dechert partner Emmanuelle Trombe to its corporate advisory practice group in Paris. Trombe focuses her practice on clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device and related healthcare industries, representing French, European and US life science companies on acquisitions and divestitures, outsourcing projects, product development, cooperation and licensing agreements, regulatory issues and general corporate and commercial law matters.

David Goldman, head of McDermott’s corporate advisory practice group, said: ‘Emmanuelle brings an outstanding reputation to our corporate and life sciences practices and reinforces our commitment to continue to grow our international transactional practice in key strategic areas.

‘We are, as a firm, committed to our life sciences practice – spanning all aspects from IP to regulatory to transactional. Our commitment to life sciences extends beyond the United States, and expanding our practice in Paris offers a great opportunity for growth at this time.’