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Revolving doors: Senior hires for Withers, Baker & McKenzie, Brown Rudnick and TLT

The past week saw Withers hire Taylor Wessing’s head of contentious trusts and estates as the BBC’s head of litigation returned to private practice with a move to Baker & McKenzie, and Brown Rudnick and TLT made strategic hires in intellectual property (IP) and real estate respectively.

Steven Kempster will become the thirteenth partner in Withers’ contentious trust and succession group when he arrives in mid-July and brings the group up to seven partners in London. The group was founded 20 years ago by Dawn Goodman, who remains head of the department.

Kempster, who joined Taylor Wessing from Herbert Smith in 2008, brings with him a reputation for handling Russian disputes. He was, however, unsuccessful with a claim brought by his client, Russian oligarch Vladimir Slutsker, against his ex-wife Olga for a 50% share of the £40m London home they purchased using an offshore trust.

Kempster told Legal Business his practice is ‘burgeoning with Russian, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern disputes’ due to their growing number of UK investments and desire to have recourse to English courts.

Given the growing convergence of family law and contentious trusts work, Kempster says ‘the crossover at Withers, which has a high quality family law practice, is very complimentary to my own practice.’ He adds: ‘Taylor Wessing doesn’t have a family law department, which is a shame as it is a practice that crosses over quite well with contentious trusts work, particularly divorce cases.’

Goodman said in a statement: ‘Steven is well-known for his expertise and successes in contentious trust work, and has advised clients from around the world on complex matters for 15 years. His experience and leadership skills will be a real asset to the team.’

Elsewhere, Baker & McKenzie hired Nadia Banno from the BBC, where she was head of litigation. Banno will join Baker’s as of counsel and will particularly focus on the firm’s public law, and regulatory investigations.

Banno has worked at the BBC for the past nine years, of which she spent the last two heading the litigation team. Her experience includes advising in relation to the Jimmy Savile matter, the Pollard Review and the Dame Janet Smith Review, as well as the civil claims compensation scheme.

She also has experience of managing both domestic and international disputes, investigations and crisis management. She has advised on data protection and freedom of information, defamation, privacy, contempt and reporting restrictions.

Baker & McKenzie head of disputes John Leadley said: ‘We’ve worked closely with Nadia for a number of years and know first-hand what a talented and impressive lawyer she is. Having Nadia’s expertise and broad experience in the team will be a tremendous boost to our dispute resolution practice, particularly our public law, and regulatory investigations offering.’

Meanwhile, Brown Rudnick has recruited Speechly Bircham’s head of technology and intellectual property (IP) Alexander Carter-Silk, who has left the firm ahead of its merger vote to combine with Charles Russell. The vote is expected to take place in August this year.

Carter-Silk has 25 years’ experience of advising on contentious and non-contentious IP and technology matters. He headed Speechly’s trade mark designs and brand practice, and has experience of advising on advertising and marketing regulation and reputation management, including privacy and defamation.

Elsewhere TLT has hired Foot Anstey partner Daniel Halstead to boost its real estate offering in the UK. Halstead, who joined Foot Anstey from Osborne Clarke in 2011 to set up the firm’s Bristol office, will join TLT as its third property and development partner in Bristol.

Halstead specialises in real estate development and investment matters for institutions, property companies, developers, housing associations and corporate occupiers. He has particular experience in representing student accommodation projects, and some recent work includes advising on the £45m acquisition of a student village, the redevelopment of a Bristol city centre student scheme, and real estate finance matters for Santander.

Halstead told Legal Business: ‘There is increased investment into the property market as a whole. I aim to use my previous experience in the student accommodation field and work alongside the London and Manchester offices to service the firm’s existing property clients.’

TLT’s head of real estate Andrew Glynn added: ‘We continue to grow our team and expertise in response to client demand. Daniel brings a wealth of experience and expertise that will further boost the support we can offer our clients across the UK.’

Some of TLT’s real estate group clients include BBC, WH Smith and