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Revolving Doors: Signature Litigation launches in Paris while Kirkland and Mishcon make City moves

The January shopping spree is well underway with firms making moves at home and abroad last week, most significantly in City dispute specialists Signature Litigation crossing the channel to open shop in Paris.

Kirkland & Ellis, meanwhile, continued its expansion in the City with a tax hire and Mishcon de Reya filled the gap left by Alison Levitt QC in London.

Signature’s new Paris office will be headed up by a three partner team comprising Thomas Rouhette, former head of Hogan Lovells’ Paris disputes team, Syvie Gallage-Alwis, also a former Hogan Lovells litigator and Emmanuèle Lutfalla, who joins from French insurance boutique Soulié & Coste-Floret.

Rouhette specialises in international and cross-border litigation and has acted on an array of cases before the French courts including contract litigation, corporate and banking disputes as well as fraud and asset tracing. Lutfalla, meanwhile, acts on insurance and reinsurance litigation, often relating to product liability. Finally, Gallage-Alwis has experience in disputes linked to products and represents manufacturers from various industries.

Graham Huntley (pictured), founding partner of Signature, commented: ‘The launch of a Paris office is not part of a determined international strategy but rather a reflection of a desire to complement our existing practices in London and Gibraltar with people who we know will fit in and prosper as part of our unique all-member profit sharing and open management style. Paris, of course, is special in many ways, and it will help us to develop a broader litigation and arbitration practice unaffected by Brexit which itself we believe will not affect the dispute resolution activity in London.’

In the City, Kirkland deepened its London bench with the hire of tax partner David Irvine, who joins the firm from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Irvine has acted on a range of financing and restructuring transactions for financially troubled debtors and also advises multi-asset managers and private equity firms. Irvine re-joins Jonathan Kandel, Ian Ferreira and Frixos Hatjantonas, who all joined Kirkland from Weil in 2015.

Mishcon also made a London hire, filling the gap left by Alison Levitt QC with Johanna Walsh from Kingsley Napley, where she was partner. Walsh most recently acted for Tesco as the supermarket avoided prosecution from the Serious Fraud Office. Having been at Kingsley Napley for over four years, Walsh will now strengthen Mischon’s white-collar practice, which currently stands at two partners.

Morrison & Foerster also made a City play, hiring Oliver s’Jacob. Joining from Reed Smith, where he chaired the firm’s European private equity real estate practice, s’Jacob’s addition forms part of a strategy to further bolster the firm’s real estate offering across Europe.

Magic Circle firm Linklaters looked to the US, recruiting Jerome Roche in Washington DC to the firm’s financial regulation group. Roche arrives at the firm from Mayer Brown, where he had been a financial services regulatory and enforcement partner for more than a decade. He has previously served as associate general counsel at TIAA-CREF and as an attorney for the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Commenting on the hire, Linklaters head of financial regulation group Peter Bevan said: ‘Jerome’s substantive broker-dealer expertise will be invaluable as we guide our clients through an increasingly complex regulatory landscape. His in-depth knowledge of the financial services industry will complement our existing financial regulatory, derivatives, and funds practices.’