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Revolving doors: Simmons makes double Dutch hire as Bakers expands finance practice

In the latest round of lateral partner hires, Simmons & Simmons has significantly strengthened its presence in the Netherlands through a pair of lateral partner appointments.

David Shearer, formerly a partner at Dentons, and ex-AKD partner Robert Jean Kloprogge will join Simmons’ Amsterdam office. Both Shearer and Kloprogge are corporate and M&A lawyers. Head of Simmons’ Dutch operations, René van Eldonk, said the appointments were ‘a hugely significant step in the achievement of our ambitious growth plan in the region. This spate of recent hires demonstrates our ongoing commitment to growing our offering to clients across Europe.’

In London, Baker McKenzie has made a key appointment to its leveraged finance team, bringing in experienced partner Ben Wilkinson from White & Case. With 16 years’ experience, Wilkinson was previously a partner in White & Case’s debt finance practice, where he advised clients on cross-border acquisition finance transactions.

Matthew Dening, chair of Baker McKenzie’s banking and finance practice, commented: ‘Ben has an outstanding reputation in the acquisition finance and bank lending market. Expectations are that 2021 is going to be very busy as financial performance re-stabilises with pent-up refinancing and liquidity that has yet to be deployed, creating key opportunities. Ben’s appointment will put Baker McKenzie in a solid position to take advantage of these openings.’

It has been a productive couple of weeks for Shearman & Sterling, with the firm hiring two restructuring and insolvency partners in London: Sam Brodie from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Helena Potts from Latham & Watkins. Brodie has extensive experience advising clients on complex financing aspects of restructuring projects, while Potts similarly has expertise in complex cross-border restructurings.

The double hire follows the appointment of fellow restructuring and insolvency partner Alexander Wood, who joined in September from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Ward McKimm, Shearman’s European managing partner, said: ‘Helena brings excellent additional expertise to our now sizeable and growing English law restructuring offering. She will play a key role in developing our restructuring practice in the region, alongside Alex and Sam.’

Lewis Silkin has made a hire from in-house, adding Deliveroo’s head of employment and commercial litigation, Tarun Tawakley, as a partner. Tawakley, who will be rejoining the firm after starting his career as a trainee at Lewis Silkin in 2007, will join its employment litigation team. During his in-house stint, Tawakley defended the self-employed status of Deliveroo riders across multiple markets.

Joint managing partner of Lewis Silkin, Richard Miskella, said: ‘Clearly his talents are an exciting boost to our growing employment litigation offering as well as an enhancement of our market-leading expertise in the technology-led industries. But it is also a ringing endorsement of our firm culture that having trained with us, and then become a client, we are welcoming Tarun back as a friend and colleague for the next phase of his career.’

HFW has made a senior hire in the form of Matthew Cox, who joins from Simmons. Cox, who was previously Dentons’ Singapore managing partner, will add to HFW’s London commodities practice, bringing with him a commodity finance edge. He advises banks, funds, commodity producers and traders on all forms of structured trade and commodity finance.

HFW’s global head of commodities, Alistair Feeney, said the firm was in an ‘exciting period of growth’, adding that Cox ‘shares our approach of delivering outstanding client service.’

Meanwhile Harbottle & Lewis has hired seasoned immigration partner Sarah Gogan, formerly of Fladgate. Gogan brings 20 years’ experience in a range of UK immigration matters and is ‘widely regarded in the industry as one of the most pre-eminent and leading specialists in all aspects of personal immigration law, nationality asylum and human rights law’, according to the firm.

Gogan said: ‘Harbottle & Lewis is widely and well recognised for its private client specialism, which is complementary to my practice and approach and I look forward to working with the team to develop solutions for our clients.’

K&L Gates has further expanded its London energy, infrastructure and resources practice by hiring partner James Douglass from Baker Botts. Douglass’ practice primarily focuses on power, oil and gas, infrastructure and resources, but he also advises on project finance and other structured lending. Douglass’ arrival builds on the hire of energy disputes partner Ben Holland from Squire Patton Boggs at the beginning of March.

Finally, Squires has bolstered its Paris contentious bench with the appointment of John Adam from Latham & Watkins. Adam brings a wealth of experience in complex international commercial and investor-state arbitrations, particularly in the energy sector.

Stephen Anway, global co-head of the international disputes practice, said: ‘John is a highly respected arbitration specialist, someone we know well and have admired for some time. His vast arbitration knowledge and connections across key jurisdictions will add to the strength of our market-leading team globally, while expanding our strong international disputes practice in Paris, which is key to the continued development of our services in international arbitration.’