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Revolving doors: Shoosmiths calls up Telefónica GC as post-summer recruitment spree begins

Headlining a hectic week of partner recruitment, Shoosmiths has landed in-house veteran and former Telefónica UK general counsel Ed Smith as a commercial partner.

It marks a return to private practice 20 years after leaving Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for Smith (pictured), who will link up with Shoosmiths in October. A well-respected in-house leader, Smith left the telecoms giant in July just as the £31bn merger between parent company 02 and Virgin Media was being finalised.

Shoosmiths will be a familiar outfit for Smith, having relied upon them as a key advisory firm during his tenure as GC. He said: ‘Once I decided I wanted to return to private practice, I was in the fortunate position of being the subject of interest from a number of firms, but it quickly became apparent that the spirit, energy, vision, client focus and increasing diversity and inclusion focus of Shoosmiths made it the right choice for me.’

Meanwhile, Simmons & Simmons has appointed a heavyweight disputes partner from Herbert Smith Freehills, with competition and antitrust expert Mark Jephcott making the switch. Over the last decade, Jephcott built out a considerable reputation in Asia as a key member of HSF’s Asian competition practice, before relocating to the UK to focus on competition work.

Jephcott chiefly advises technology, pharma and energy clients on a wide range of issues, including competition appeals, multijurisdictional mergers and competition litigation. He said of his move: ‘Joining Simmons at this point, with the London competition team poised to expand, is a positive fit with my own experience of practice growth. Similarly, my expertise in the technology sector aligns strongly with the firm’s four-sector strategy and I look forward to building relationships with Simmons’ leading technology- focused partners.’

Elsewhere, DLA Piper has made a significant addition to its London real estate team, hiring former Linklaters partner James Knox from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Knox focuses his practice on cross-border real estate investment, mainly into the UK and Europe. He predominantly serves a client base of sovereign wealth Funds, real estate private equity investors and global funds.

DLA Piper’s UK real estate head, William Naunton, described Knox as ‘very highly regarded in the market’. He added: ‘The UK real estate team continues to build its reputation for working on increasingly complex, multi-jurisdictional investment transactions. James brings with him a wealth of experience based largely around transactional work for large investors on structured deals.’

In a high-profile move for the insurance sector, RPC has hired partner William Hogarth from Clyde & Co. A transactional and regulatory insurance specialist, Slaughter and May-trained Hogarth is ranked as a NextGen Partner by The Legal 500 for the Insurance: Corporate and Regulatory category.

Head of RPC’s insurance transactions and regulatory group, Matthew Griffith, commented: ‘Having recently supported clients on more than 25 insurance sector transactions and on numerous complex commercial and regulatory mandates, William’s arrival comes on the back of our busiest ever year as a transactional and regulatory insurance team.’

Also hiring a sector specialist was Watson Farley & Williams, which appointed senior project finance lawyer Julian Nichol as a partner in London. Previously global co-head of Akin Gump’s energy group, Nichol has substantial experience in the emerging markets of Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, having advised sponsor-side clients on infrastructure projects for 25 years.

Nichol said: ‘WFW’s highly regarded and deep bench of specialist project contract, project finance and EPC lawyers, as well as experts in all the key service lines needed to support large-scale energy projects, makes the firm a superb platform from which I can better service my existing clients and further expand my practice.’

Keystone Law has continued to attract swathes of partners to its alternative model, announcing ten new senior hires, including an appointment from in-house. EU and competition expert Alexandra von Westerhagen joins from DAC Beachcroft; corporate partner Will Nash joins from Charles Russell Speechlys; Joseph Kosky is a dispute resolution partner from Greenwoods GRM; family partner Sarah Thompson arrives from Slater and Gordon; employment partner Sarah Garth joins from Gateley; probate and estate planning partner Camilla Bishop switches from DMH Stallard; Tim Tyndall is an employment partner from Stone King; employment specialist Rob Stanton joins from his own firm Stanton + Co; and Nick Smith is a commercial property partner from Marriott Harrison.

The in-house recruit is corporate and commercial expert Milena Radoycheva, formerly of Imperial College, London. Keystone chief executive, James Knight, hailed the hires: ‘The impressive breadth of experience and notable calibre of our new joiners will further strengthen our full-service offering and enhance our ability to provide clients with the best possible service.’

Fladgate has hired an experienced financial services lawyer in the form of ex-Charles Russell Speechlys partner Kate Troup. She specialises in the investment management and private banking sectors, advising UK and international clients that wish to do business in the UK.

Haynes and Boone has made a similar hire, bringing in capital markets and securities partner Martin Pugsley. Formerly global head of financial services at DWF, Pugsley’s international practice centres on debt capital markets, corporate finance and alternative investments.

Also hiring was Reed Smith, with finance and restructuring lawyer Kathleen Garrett joining from leading Irish firm Arthur Cox. A veteran of 30 years, Garrett has built a reputation focusing on cross border finance and corporate transactions, formal and informal insolvency procedures, restructuring and workouts.

‘Kathleen is an outstanding and well-connected lawyer with a practice that spans several areas of strategic importance to our practice and firm,’ said Panos Katsambas, global co-chair of Reed Smith’s financial industry group. ‘She has a very impressive track record of delivering for her clients and quickly and intimately distilling the complex issues they face.’

Outside of the UK, CMS has taken a team from Baker McKenzie in Poland, led by partner Rafal Zakrzewski. Joining alongside a senior associate and two other lawyers, Zakrzewski advises clients on transaction and project financings, with a particular focus on the energy, oil and gas and real estate sectors.

Addleshaw Goddard has taken a partner from Ashurst in Paris – competition specialist Michaël Cousin. Cousin typically assists clients on cross-border M&A, antitrust investigations, antitrust disputes and national security matters.

Rémy Blain, head of Addleshaw’s Paris office, commented: ‘What we look for when we recruit a new member of our team is, beyond competence, that they share our mindset. We want to create a team that is both expert and accessible and for whom working together is a matter of course. There is no doubt that Michaël fits in perfectly with Addleshaw Goddard’s DNA.’