Legal Business

Disputes Eye: Crime pays as white-collar hires dominate recruitment

If you are a senior litigator looking for a lucrative move, it does not hurt to be a white-collar specialist. As Edwards Gibson founder Scott Gibson observes: ‘It’s like private equity, where individuals can always move. In the white-collar world, people’s reputations can be enough to attract interest.’

Such moves include last September, when King & Spalding hired Gareth Rees QC from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Rees has pedigree, having acted as the FRC’s executive director of enforcement and executive counsel, leading prosecutions since 2012. But such moves are becoming common. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) bribery and corruption co-head Ben Morgan joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer last year after a five-year stint at the agency (an ultra-rare London partner hire for the firm). Stewarts last summer hired Dechert fraud veteran David Hughes and in the autumn Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher recruited SFO veteran Sacha Harber-Kelly, a key figure in crafting the agency’s deferred prosecution agreement with Rolls-Royce. Since January, King & Spalding hired Berwin Leighton Paisner head of corporate crime and investigations, Aaron Stephens, while Ropes & Gray in February secured Clifford Chance partner Judith Seddon to lead its seven-strong team in London, alongside US-trained Amanda Raad.