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Revolving doors: Stephenson Harwood, Dentons, Morgan Lewis, Pinsents and Wragges make key hires

A number of firms have made noteworthy strategic appointments in the last few days, with Stephenson Harwood, Dentons, Morgan Lewis, Pinsent Masons and Wragge & Co all adding to their benches.

Stephenson Harwood has opted to plough investment into developing its private client practice. James Quarmby, head of international and business taxation at south east firm Thomas Eggar, joined the firm yesterday (7 April) as a partner to spearhead the expansion of its private wealth offering.

Quarmby helped build the respected private client practice at Thomas Eggar over a ten-year period. He is joined by fellow private client specialist Vivienne Wild, who joins as a senior associate from Schofield Sweeney.

Stephenson Harwood’s head of international head of tax Hugo Jenney, said: ‘These appointments add considerable strength and depth to our existing private wealth expertise. As a result, we are one of the few firms able to field personal tax and estate planning within a business-oriented City practice. We see a demand for this.’

Dentons also announced yesterday that former Baker Botts partner Dominic Pellew is joining the firm’s international arbitration group as a partner. Pellew, who is dual-qualified as a solicitor in England and as an avocat in France, will divide his time between Dentons London and Moscow offices.

The hire is a significant move for Dentons, which lost Salans’ former head of UK arbitration, George Burn, to Vinson & Elkins last July, followed by international arbitration partner Paul Stothard, who led legacy SNR Dentons’ dispute resolution practice in the Middle East, to SJ Berwin in September.

Meanwhile Morgan Lewis, which has been one of the fastest-growing US firms in the City, according to our Global London report, has added to its ranks with the hire of corporate partner Stephen Walters from Bird & Bird. As a former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner, Walters will join a number of former colleagues at Morgan Lewis, including its London managing partner Peter Sharp, who led Dewey’s London practice up until the firm collapsed in 2012.

Walters’ arrival adds to the four lateral hires that Morgan Lewis made in 2013/14.

‘Stephen reinforces our M&A capabilities and international private equity position in the UK,’ said Sharp. ‘His addition supports the growth and continuing development of our London office and bolsters the firm’s English law capabilities.’

Elsewhere, Pinsent Masons is making efforts to boost its Asia Pacific infrastructure team with the hire of construction and disputes specialist Helena Chen in Beijing, who joins from Taiwan firm Formosan Brothers.

Having been a partner since 2001 and founded the construction law team of Formosan Brothers in 2002, her appointment follows previous hires made by the firm in the region of late, including SJ Berwin’s Shanghai office head Philipp Senff in early 2014.

Last week, Midlands giant Wragge & Co announced it had appointed the former head of Irwin Mitchell’s London employment team, John Hayes, as a partner in a bid to boost its employment practice capabilities.

With its £171m merger with City firm Lawrence Graham set to go live on 1 May, Wragges has recruited Hayes to its 28-strong employment team, bringing its total number of employment partners up to seven.

Revolving Doors is a regular round-up of senior legal moves across the globe. To be included, please contact