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Revolving doors: week of international hires in Asia and Europe as A&O tempts litigator back home from Shearman

In another busy week of lateral recruitment, Allen & Overy has considerably bolstered its disputes offering in London, luring back former associate Susanna Charlwood from Shearman & Sterling, where she had been a partner for five years. 

Karen Seward, Allen & Overy’s global head of litigation, commented: ‘We are thrilled to welcome Susanna back to A&O. Her broad experience across commercial and corporate disputes makes her a valuable addition to the litigation practice and bolsters our bench strength at a time when our corporate clients are operating in a trading environment fraught with uncertainty.

‘We have seen a sustained uptick in corporate and commercial disputes over the last six months. Susanna’s versatility will be a huge asset in helping our clients manage their most business-critical risks. Her diversified sector knowledge, including advising alternative asset managers, will also give further depth to our practice in areas that we have identified as strategic priorities. As the current economic cycle continues to present new challenges to businesses, we are determined to be down in the trenches with our clients.’ 

The most senior lateral hire of the week took place in the City, with Christopher Harrison joining US firm Vedder Price as a partner in the its London office from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s City branch.  

For over 25 years Harrison – who from 2009 was co-managing partner of Morgan Lewis’ London office and was previously a partner at Morrison & Foerster and Weil,Gotshal & Manges – has represented financial institutions, funds, and corporate and government entities on complex cross-border leveraged finance and capital market transactions across a wide range of industries, including transport, energy, telecoms, media and financial services sectors.  

‘Chris’s broad finance practice and solid client base are a perfect fit for Vedder and exactly what we need to enhance our finance capabilities and support corporate private equity in London,’ said Derek Watson, administrative partner of the London office.  

Meanwhile, LB100 firm Hill Dickinson has bolstered its Asia practice with the hire of construction specialist Richard Lyons in Hong Kong. He joins from Arabtec Construction in Dubai, one of the largest infrastructure contractors in the Middle East, where he was head of legal from 2018. He is an experienced construction lawyer whose expertise also benefits from a previous career in industry, as an engineer with a number of large companies including Sir Robert McAlpine and Taylor Woodrow in the UK and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation in Hong Kong. 

Since qualifying in 2006, he has worked for both Mayer Brown and King & Wood Mallesons in Hong Kong and acted primarily on construction dispute and arbitration cases concerning major infrastructure projects for clients including Hong Kong government and Mass Transit Railway Corporation. His hire is the latest move by the firm to drive forward the growth of its non-marine services in Asia and is expected to enhance the firm’s offering to its clients engaged in ongoing infrastructure and trade activities as well as positioning the firm for further work associated with the Greater Bay Development.  

Elsewhere, PwC Legal has recruited Willkie Farr & Gallagher competition partner Susanne Zuehlke. She will join the firm as a partner in the Berlin office in order to ‘lead and realign the antitrust practice’. She has been a partner in the Willkie’s antitrust group in Brussels and Frankfurt since 2015 and prior to this she was a partner at Latham & Watkins in Brussels. She brings more than 20 years of experience in global merger control for complex transactions and cartel investigations, advising international industrial clients as well as private equity investors on all types of antitrust matters. 

Steffen Schniepp, managing partner of PwC Legal in Germany, commented: ‘The strategy for our public business law practice is to fill vacancies by adding top-notch lawyers from first-class law firms who are able to offer our clients outstanding consulting services. I am very pleased that we succeeded in this endeavour in the area of antitrust.’ 

Mayer Brown also made a move of its own to deepen its competition expertise in Germany, recruiting Christian Horstkotte and Johannes Weichbrodt from Baker McKenzie to its Düsseldorf office.  

Horstkotte has extensive experience advising on complex merger control proceedings and cartel investigations before German and EU competition authorities, acting on some of the largest antitrust proceedings in recent years. He was head of the German antitrust practice at Baker McKenzie for almost 10 years and will lead Mayer Brown’s antitrust & competition practice in Germany, working from the Düsseldorf and Brussels offices. 

Weichbrodt represents clients on global antitrust and compliance investigations with a focus on the automotive and heavy industry, consumer goods and retail sectors. A key aspect of his work is assisting foreign companies in Latin America with their compliance programs. 

Finally, Midlands-based LB100 firm Shakespeare Martineau has recruited a new partner. Sushma Maharaj joins with more than 20 years’ experience in the energy sector from boutique clean energy firm Lux Nova Partners and has worked at global firms including Dentons, DLA and Squire Patton Boggs. She has extensive experience of advising on renewable energy projects including corporate power purchase agreements, and on heat networks and clients have included Smartest Energy, Social Energy Supply, the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda and Selfridges. 

Head of energy at Shakespeare Martineau, Andrew Whitehead, said: ‘Sushma comes with extensive UK and international experience across the energy sector, but especially on clean energy projects. Working with me and the energy team in our London office, her arrival will bolster our capabilities in areas such as private wire networks and power purchase agreements where we are currently seeing a rapid growth in client activity. Sushma also has a strong track record working on some ground-breaking heating schemes and trading arrangements, which will help position us as we look ahead to the raft of new policies and initiatives that are expected as the government gears up to deliver on its net zero carbon ambitions.’