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Revolving doors: Withers and Watson Farley make City hires as A&O boosts Frankfurt and New York practices

In a busy week for lateral hires, Withers and Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) have made appointments in the City while Allen & Overy (A&O) has boosted its German and US offices.

Withers has hired property litigation partner Andrew Chesser to join its London office. Chesser moves from DAC Beachcroft where he was head of the firm’s contentious property team. Withers head of real estate Paul Brecknell said: ‘Andrew is an acknowledged leader in conducting property disputes and, with 25 years of experience, has addressed the widest spectrum of contentious issues that can arise in relation to real estate.’

Meanwhile WFW has made a key energy hire with the appointment of John Conlin. Oil and gas specialist Conlin joins from the London office of Houston-headquartered energy firm Andrews Kurth, having previously been a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. WFW managing partner Chris Lowe said: To secure the services of a highly regarded partner like John highlights the potency of our existing energy platform and the firm’s commitment to investment and growth in this area.’

A&O has improved its Frankfurt and New York practices with hires from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett respectively. The firm has appointed Benedikt Burger from Orrick who joins next month as a partner in the Frankfurt office. Burger’s focus is on arbitration, and he will work closely with practice head Daniel Busse. Meanwhile in the US, the Magic Circle firm has bolstered its securities practice by adding Justin Cooke as a partner in its New York office, a month after announcing it had hired David Flechner from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Cooke joins from Simpson Thacher where his practice focused on a variety of US and cross-border capital market transactions, including SEC-registered and private offers of debt equity securities. The hire is part of A&O’s bid to increase the size of its US securities practice, which currently has 25 partners globally.

Norton Rose Fulbright has also made a move in the Big Apple with the hire of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom finance partner David Barrett. Barrett’s practice focuses on acquisitions and disposals, restructurings, securities offerings and other transactions involving financial institutions and financial services businesses. Norton Rose US managing partner Linda Addison said: ‘David has advised major New York-based and global financial institutions for more than 10 years. His experience working with clients in the major financial centres around the world will greatly benefit Norton Rose Fulbright’s clients.’

Finally, in in-house news, BNY Mellon has appointed former Bank of England counsel Jacqueline Joyston-Bechal. Formerly head of legal for markets, banking and notes directorates at the central bank, Joyston will join as head of BNY Mellon’s advisory compliance team in EMEA for investment services. BNY Mellon head of international compliance Alain Lesjongard said: ‘We are expanding our compliance team and continue to deepen our expertise in areas such as prudential matters, conduct risk and financial crime to meet the evolving regulatory landscape across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.’