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Simmons takes leading arbitration lawyer Dutson from Eversheds

Simmons & Simmons has hired Eversheds‘ star arbitration partner Stuart Dutson in a bid to strengthen its Africa practice.

Dutson (pictured) leaves Eversheds after seven years at the firm, having made partner on his arrival from Linklaters in 2009. He spent a decade at Linklaters, which he joined from Herbert Smith.

Dutson’s practice is heavily built around the energy and gas sector, one of the biggest users of international arbitration, and has designed complex dispute resolution mechanisms for oil and gas projects in Russia, Chile, Kuwait and Nigeria. His knowledge of that market has seen Dutson carve out a strong reputation for handling disputes in Africa, and he served as Malawi’s State Advocate between 2000 and 2001.

Dutson is listed by the Legal 500 as one of 36 leading lawyers for international arbitration work in London and his exit means Eversheds has lost its two strongest international arbitration partners in the City in just seven months, with disputes veteran Andy Moody having left for Baker & McKenzie at the start of the year.

For Simmons & Simmons, Dutson’s arrival comes as part of a wider play for work emerging out of Africa. The firm hired Dentons’ projects star Paul Bugingo, who as director of Dentons’ Africa group was the architect behind a profitable referrals network in the region, two years ago.

Dispute resolution head Hans-Hermann Aldenhoff said: ‘As international trade and commerce have grown, so too has the international arbitration market. Stuart’s arrival will add significant value to our arbitration practice across the firm, and the existing offering to our clients and their businesses, particularly across the global markets in which we operate.’

The hire also follows a period of strong investment in Simmons & Simmons’ international arbitration group, with construction disputes specialist Rob Horne joining from Trowers & Hamlins last year.