Europe has been the focus of much lateral partner activity over the past week, as firms including Eversheds and Osborne Clarke make senior hires across the continent.
On 3 June, Osborne Clarke announced it is to open in Brussels with a two-partner, five-lawyer team from former Belgian ally De Wolf & Partners, led by De Wolf’s head of employment Thierry Viérin and commercial partner Stefan Deswert.
Joining them at what will be the firm’s 14th office in six countries following its expansion into Italy and Spain last year, are five associates covering corporate, commercial, competition and employment law. The team will be joined by members of the firm’s EU regulatory team and further senior appointments are in the pipeline.
Viérin said: ‘We are very excited to be joining the OC family. Our Brussels team has extensive experience of both inbound international work and domestic work, with a particular focus on northern European cross-border matters.
Elsewhere, 884-lawyer US firm Bryan Cave also on 3 May announced three partner hires across its London and Paris offices. In London, the top 60 Legal Business Global 100 firm appointed Pinsents Masons rated employment partner and chair of the employment committee of the City of London Law Society, Gary Freer, as head of its UK labour and employment client services group.
Freer, who was head of employment in McGrigors London office prior to its merger with Pinsent Masons last year, advises on all employment law including executive severance, team moves, unfair and wrong dismissal, discrimination and tribunal claims as well as transfer of undertakings (TUPE) and global mobility issues.
Across the channel, meanwhile, the firm’s Paris office has poached Dentons regional head of litigation and dispute resolution Constantin Achillas and domestic and cross-border banking partner Jean-Norbert Pontier to join its commercial litigation client group and financial services client group respectively.
Achillas’ has acted for 20 years before the French courts in complex civil and commercial cases for clients including Arch Chemicals, Bank of Scotland, Bausch & Lomb, BDO, Chartis, EADS, HDI-Gerling and Veolia.
‘Constantin and Jean-Norbert will add tremendous depth and experience to our firm both in France and the EU, as well as across other international borders,’ said Joseph Smallhoover, Paris office managing partner. ‘They will play a key role in our ongoing efforts to further enhance and expand Bryan Cave’s global reach in key practice areas.’
Also in Paris, Eversheds has appointed Hascoet & Associés insurance law expert Frédérique de la Chapelle as a partner and head of insurance in its international financial services disputes resolution team (FSDR).
De la Chapelle has an established insurance and reinsurance practice and her clients include both French and overseas insurance companies and multinational corporations.
Paris FSDR partner Rémi Kleiman said: ‘We have looked at developing the insurance practice in France further and with Frédérique, a practitioner renowned for her expertise in this area on the French market, I have no doubt that we will be able to offer clients an excellent insurance litigation service from our office in Paris.’
In neighbouring Spain, DAC Beachcroft on 31 May appointed Ruth Duque as a partner in its Madrid insurance regulatory practice, joining from the Spanish Regulatory Authority, Dirección General de Seguros y Fondos de Pensiones, where she worked for ten years overseeing legislation policy.
Duque was instrumental in the drafting of the Bill on Supervision of Insurance which, when enacted, will implement Solvency II. Enrique Gich, DAC Beachcroft Madrid senior partner, said: ‘This appointment is another step in our strategy to offer clients in the international insurance market high-quality advice in dealing with regulatory issues in Solvency II.’
In the UK, meanwhile, 350-lawyer Scottish headquartered Shepherd and Wedderburn has bolstered its City real estate capability with the hire of partners Jonathan Rickard from Addleshaw Goddard and Sally Morris-Smith from Kennedys. Morris-Smith focuses on portfolio acquisitions, financing and complex development projects, having trained at Linklaters and worked at Olswang before joining Kennedys in 2009. Rickard became a partner at Addleshaw Goddard in 2002 and his clients include Hammerson, Bayerische Landesbank and IBRC.
Shepherd and Wedderburn’s chief executive Stephen Gibb said: ‘Our real estate business has seen sustainable growth over a number of years now, and the addition of Sally and Jonathan is a clear indication of the investment we’re making in the future growth and success of both the real estate team and the London office.’
Elsewhere, specialist litigation firm Stewarts Law has appointed a new head of commercial litigation in Leeds, with the hire of former Pinsent Masons partner Mohan Bhaskaran.
Bhaskaran has focused on commercial disputes for over 14 years and has particular experience handling fraud and corruption investigations as well as complex commercial disputes involving major IT implementation projects, PFI disputes and product recall matters.
Firm-wide head of commercial litigation Clive Zietman said: ‘Mo’s appointment strengthens our current position as one of the leading commercial litigation departments. Our strategy continues to create a team comprising the very best lawyers to meet the complex needs of our clients and Mo will be a great asset heading the team in Leeds.’
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