Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: Strategic hires for WilmerHale, Eversheds, Irwin Mitchell and DWF

As former co-head of Bird & Bird’s London-based international life sciences sector group and rated intellectual property (IP) litigation partner Trevor Cook joins WilmerHale’s New York office, Irwin Mitchell this week took on Pinsent Masons former dispute resolution and litigation head Nigel Kissack and Squire Sanders IP partner Alex Newman, while in Birmingham, Eversheds and DWF pulled in international rail partner Andrew Herring and real estate partner Melanie Williams respectively.

Veteran Bird & Bird IP litigation partner Cook has resigned after 32 years at the 966-lawyer firm to join WilmerHale’s disputes practice in New York.

Bird & Bird’s IP practice is acknowledged in the Legal 500 as being ‘extremely knowledgeable and technically sound’ with a ‘good commercial outlook’, while Cook is described as ‘a master in the field.’

Key mandates secured by the patent litigation focused group co-headed by Cook include successfully defending ConvaTec against a patent invalidity claim brought by British medical equipment manufacturer Smith & Nephew, and obtaining a ruling for Actavis that proceedings for pan-European declarations of non-infringement can be brought before the English courts.

On his new role, Cook said he had ‘found a new home in WilmerHale,’ which is ‘regarded in Europe as a pre-eminent force in the US IP litigation market.’

Elsewhere, top 20 law firm Irwin Mitchell has signaled its intention to expand its Business Legal Services (BLS) division with two high profile partner hires, including former Pinsents dispute resolution and litigation head Nigel Kissack, who will join the firm’s London office as national head of commercial litigation in early November.

Kissack – a qualified mediator who specialises in resolving disputes for private and listed companies, in the manufacturing, technology, finance, retail and energy sectors – left Pinsents this summer after 15 years at the firm to join South African legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider Exigent as global strategy consultant in the company’s London office. Kissack had worked closely with Exigent since 2009, when he set up Pinsent’s LPO initiative, with the firm becoming the first UK firm to outsource legal work to South Africa.

Joining Kissack at Irwin Mitchell is former Squire Sanders IP partner Alex Newman and trademark attorney Kirsten Doherty. Newman previously led Squire Sanders IP practice in the North of England and focuses on the technology and engineering sectors.

At Eversheds, meanwhile, former Greenberg Traurig Maher partner Herring joined the 1,760-firm in Birmingham at the beginning of this month, working under head of construction and engineering Simon Oats. He has been brought in by the firm to focus on expanding its international rail sector.

Recent mandates he has led include advising Birmingham City Council on the redevelopment of New Street station.

Herring spent seven years as a partner at DLA Piper and was part a group of partners who launched Greenberg Traurig’s satellite office in Birmingham. That office closed in the summer of last year and Herring has been based in London until June this year, since when he has been on gardening leave.

Herring said: ‘Eversheds has got a tier one practice in rail and they want to internationalise that, which is something they want me to focus on. It’s a really good opportunity to broaden out what I’ve already been doing in the international sector with a firm which has a leading practice in the area.’

Also in Birmingham this week, DWF has hired former Squire Sanders real estate partner Melanie Williams, who has over ten years’ experience in the investment and funding of development projects and property tax driven transactions and specialises in utilising property tax reliefs in structuring real estate investment projects.

National head of real estate at DWF, Nic Crocker, said: ‘Melanie is nationally recognised for her niche expertise in structuring and transacting projects using specialist tax incentives, having acted for a number of private equity funds in this area. She is a key addition to both our regional and national teams and her appointment demonstrates our continued commitment to growth.’