Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: Stephenson Harwood and Ropes make moves in a busy City recruitment round as HFW expands in Abu Dhabi

There were a number of lateral hires in the London last week, with Stephenson Harwood, Ropes & Gray and Osborne Clarke all strengthening their City benches. Meanwhile internationally HFW bucked the recent trend of downsizing in the Middle East with a senior hire from Bird & Bird.

Stephenson Harwood’s hire came in its energy group as the firm secured partner Marc Hammerson from Akin Gump. Hammerson returns to Stephenson Harwood having been a partner at the firm between 2006 and 2011, bringing back his experience in advising on upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas and infrastructure projects.

‘Energy and natural resources is one of the firm’s key industry sectors and we expect to continue to see increased activity in the market, especially with the stronger oil price,’ said head of corporate Andrew Edge. ‘Marc is a seasoned, experienced energy practitioner with an excellent track record and strong reputation in the market.’

Ropes & Gray also made a City play at the expense of Akin Gump, with Rosemarie Paul joining the firm’s litigation and enforcement practice as partner. Paul had spent six years at Akin Gump, and will now bring experience acting on an array of UK financial regulatory matters to Ropes as the firm looks to further develop its litigation practice in London.

Meanwhile Osborne Clarke hired of restructuring and insolvency partner Will Gunston. Gunston joins the firm after a seven year stint at Dentons, having acted on a number of mandates in corporate restructuring and contentious insolvency procedures.

Greenberg Traurig finished off the City laterals with the hire of white-collar defence and investigations specialist Anne-Marie Ottaway, who joins from Pinsent Masons. Ottaway had formerly been an SFO prosecutor for 13 years before joining private practice six years ago, and is a significant addition as Greenberg looks to strengthen its new London-based white collar practice.

Elsewhere, HFW made the most noteworthy move internationally, with the firm expanding its new Abu Dhabi office with the hire of Richard Lucas from Bird & Bird. The hire comes after a string of laterals for the firm in the region over the last three months, while many firms are looking to cut back their Middle East offering.

Lucas formerly headed up Bird & Bird’s Middle East defence and infrastructure practices, and will now become head of HFW’s Abu Dhabi office, which opened 1 October. Richard Gimblett, Dubai office head at HFW commented:

‘These are exciting times for HFW in the Middle East. Richard’s arrival is a massive boost for our new Abu Dhabi office and our projects practice throughout the Middle East, and further reinforces our commitment to the region. Our Middle East practice has more than doubled over the past three years and we are now one of the biggest international law firms in the market.’

Meanwhile Squire Patton Boggs announced the hire of an employment team in Paris spearheaded by partner Jean-François Rage, who joins from Pinsent Masons where he was an employment partner in the firm’s Paris office. Rage advises French and international clients on various sectors, including hospitality and leisure as well as construction and infrastructure. His arrival increases the firm’s employment lawyer headcount to 13.