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Revolving doors: Shoosmiths hires first COO as DWF acquires small Australian firm and others look to the continent

City lateral recruitment was quiet last week, with firms instead hiring in Europe as Shoosmiths appointed a chief operating officer (COO) and DWF made another acquisition.

Paul Hastings hired the former director of legal affairs for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), Nicola Bonucci, as a partner to its Paris office.

Bonucci joined the OECD as a legal adviser in 1993, becoming director in 2005. He has led the OECD in anti-corruption and anti-bribery as well as international tax work. His appointment follows recent hires to Paul Hastings’ Paris office, including corporate and private equity partner Charles Cardon and tax partner Bruno Leroy.

Bonucci commented: ‘I look forward to sharing my international experience with compliance programs, investigations, and anti-corruption issues across various legal systems, with their clients and partners globally. I also look forward to bringing my knowledge of intergovernmental and multilateral processes to the firm.’

Elsewhere, Ashurst  added to its banking capabilities in Luxembourg with the hire of partner Fabien Debroise from Ogier. He specialises in acquisition and funds finance, real estate finance, loans and bond issuance, as well as more general regulatory and insolvency and restructuring matters.

Managing partner of Ashurst Luxembourg Isabelle Lentz commented: ‘We are seeing a very high volume of banking and finance transactions with Luxembourg involvement, and Fabien’s expertise of the core Luxembourg banking and finance business together with his deep knowledge of insolvency matters, will be a valuable addition to our team.’

In the UK, Shoosmiths appointed former Farrer & Co COO Ben Bennett as the firm’s first chief operating officer in London.

Bennett will be reporting to chief executive Simon Boss and will lead the business services team which includes strategic change, quality and risk, information services, HR and estates management and business development.

Bennett told Legal Business: ‘It’s an exciting time to have joined Shoosmiths as it continues with its ambitious plans across all divisions. With the current challenges for businesses in the UK, more than ever it’s crucial to continue to keep focused on delivering the exceptional service and experience expected, and support needed, by our clients.’

Boss added: ‘Ben’s experience and credentials will help us with our ambitious growth plan and our strategic vision to be the leading law firm in the UK legal sector focused on the UK market.’

Elsewhere, DWF acquired McDonald Johnson Lawyers in Newcastle, Australia, in a deal that will see 16 people, including eight lawyers, move. The firm offers services in insurance, real estate, commercial, civil litigation and corporate law.

The addition of the team will increase DWF’s Australia headcount to 180 people. The merger follows the acquisition of K&L Gates Jamka in Poland in May this year and the launch of a new DWF office in Dusseldorf in October.