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Revolving Doors: White & Case disputes partner joins the Bar as McGuireWoods; Covington and Simmons make key hires

The latest standout lateral moves have seen White & Case litigator Paul Cowen return to the Bar as McGuireWoods expands its City restructuring offering with a hire from DLA Piper, and Covington & Burling and Simmons & Simmons boost their competition groups in Brussels with hires from Clifford Chance (CC) and Olswang respectively.

Cowen returns to the Bar after eleven years at White & Case. He joins 4 New Square’s international arbitration, construction and dispute resolution team.

After being approached by the Bar on several occasions late last year, Cowen told Legal Business that it was 4 New Square’s clear strategic objective and modern feel that attracted him. ‘Its core strategic priorities are international arbitration and big ticket construction advice, which is what I do,’ he said. ‘4 New Square is the modern face of the Bar – it does a lot of traditional work, but is open to new models of working. For example, they have a centralised IT system and its basic set up is similar to what I am used to in a firm.’

He added: ‘I am a barrister in my DNA. The main question was “is this practical and does it work”, and it will.’

Cowen was called to the Bar in 1996 and joined White & Case as a partner in 2008. He has experience of advising on non-contentious construction issues and contract negotiation, including building contracts, consultancy appointments, development agreements, collateral warranties, bonds and guarantees involving all forms of construction procurement.

Head of chambers, Ben Hubble QC added in a statement: ‘This recruitment provides a great opportunity both for Paul and for 4 New Square. His experience as part of the team at White & Case will prove invaluable and further advances our long term strategy for growth in the commercial and construction, international litigation and arbitration fields.’

Elsewhere, DLA Piper’s restructuring partner Simon Neilson-Clark has joined McGuireWoods in the firm’s restructuring and insolvency group in London, where he will focus on representing stakeholders in UK and international financial restructuring, insolvency and dispute resolution. He comes with experience of advising borrowers, lenders, and insolvency practitioners involving international structures, as well as debt and equity investors in cross-border, leveraged and group structures.

Dion Hayes, chair of the McGuireWoods restructuring and insolvency department said: ‘He has a tremendous amount of experience in large UK and cross-border restructurings and will greatly expand our capabilities in that area in London.’

In Brussels meanwhile, Covington & Burling has strengthened its EU competition practice with the hire of Clifford Chance partner Johan Ysewyn and Peter Camesasca, who returns to the US firm after a two-year stint running his own practice.

Ysewyn joins Covington as its European competition practice head and has experience of advising on international and Belgian antitrust law, including merger control, compliance, cartel and leniency issues, and abuse of dominance cases.

Camesasca has advised US and EU clients within the aviation, maritime transport, harbours and shipyards, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, electronics and semiconductor sectors. He joined Covington as a partner in March 2010 and left to run his own practice Peter Camesasca Advocaat BVBA in June 2012.

Covington’s Brussels managing partner, Peter Bogaert said: ‘The arrival of Johan and Peter’s return to Covington are very exciting news for our European and broader international competition practice. It brings us fully on track with our plans to grow in Brussels, and we feel this is a watershed moment for the EU competition group, which produces cutting edge work for a range of clients, including AstraZeneca, Expedia, Microsoft, Samsung, and many others.’

Similarly, Simmons & Simmons has hired competition partner Koen Platteau from Olswang to its EU, competition and regulatory practice in Brussels. Platteau joined Olswang in 2008 and has represented clients before EU institutions, the Belgian Competition Authority and EU and national courts, on merger control, cartel cases and abuse of dominance cases, compliance programmes, competition litigation/arbitration and State aid matters.

Simmons & Simmons international dispute head Hans-Hermann Aldenhoff said: ‘Koen’s appointment will add further scale, not only to our EU, competition and regulatory practice, but to our Brussels office as a whole and we are looking forward to him joining this growing team.’