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The eagle strikes: Cadwalader taps Bird & Bird for disputes head Baker

New York-headquartered Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has hired Bird & Bird dispute resolution co-head Steven Baker to its London office.

Baker joins Cadwalader’s City practice expanding the firm’s litigation and international arbitration capacity after four years at Bird & Bird. Baker was previously head of commercial dispute resolution at Olswang until 2011, spending almost a decade with the firm.

In The Legal 500, Baker is recommended for cross-border fraud cases, banking litigation, commercial litigation and international arbitration. Baker had been acting with Brick Court’s Tim Lord QC for claimants Property Alliance Group in the libor rigging litigation against Royal Bank of Scotland, winning the £30m dispute from litigation boutique Cooke, Young & Keiden in February this year.

Baker’s exit comes shortly after the departure of Bird & Bird’s head of transformational projects Dominic Cook, who left the firm earlier this year after a leadership challenge to chief executive David Kerr in March.

The latest partner hire for Cadwalader comes after the firm added former King & Wood Mallesons’ Europe head of finance Jeremy Cross in July. The recent recruits represent a fresh push by Cadwalader into the London market. Following a quiet period, the firm grew its City office 17% last year, upping head count to 56 lawyers.

Cadwalader has recently seen a dip in global revenues, down 4% in the Global 100 rankings to $463.5m for 2015/16. The firm’s profit per equity partner also fell, down 7% to $2.06m, having fallen 15% to $2.21m in 2014/15 from more than $2.6m the year before.

US giant Latham & Watkins has also moved to boost its City litigation practice with new partners in recent months, hiring Stuart Alford QC from the Serious Fraud Office in July, while it recruited Debevoise & Plimpton’s rising arbitration star Sophie Lamb in May.

At the start of this year Cooley also increased its London litigation capacity, a year on from its UK launch, hiring Sullivan & Cromwell litigator Louise Delahunty, a specialist in global investigations.