Legal Business

Freshfields patent litigation duo exit for WilmerHale

Freshfields patent litigation duo exit for WilmerHale

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is set to pick up Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer patent litigation partner Justin Watts.  

Freshfields senior associate Matthew Shade will join the US firm with Watts, whose clients have included Rolls-Royce, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Schlumberger.

Watts’ practice covers disputes concerning pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biotech, communications and computers, often involving the interaction between standards, competition law and patents.

According to the Legal 500, Watts is singled out for his ‘vast experience in patent litigation’ while Shade combines ‘acute nous, commercial instinct, grasp of detail, and strategic insight’.

Watts joined Freshfields from Bristows in 2003, having previously worked as an engineer for BT. Shade began his career as a trainee solicitor at Baker & McKenzie before joining the Magic Circle firm in 2007.

Watts and Shade are the first lateral hires the firm has made since launching its London IP litigation practice in 2014, taking on Dentons’ UK patent head Anthony Trenton.

In 2015, WilmerHale wound down its 10-lawyer transactional outpost in the City, with the US law firm refocusing its London practice heavily around its arbitration team. The firm had operated with two London offices since legacy Hale and Dorr merged with Cutler & Pickering in 2004.

In April, Freshfields hired the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) joint-head of bribery and corruption, Ben Morgan, to its corporate crime and global investigations practice.

Morgan is Freshfields’ fifth London partner with particular experience and expertise in corporate crime matters acting for corporates and financial institutions, an area in which the firm is looking to grow.

Legal Business

Squires continues German growth with three-partner Frankfurt team from WilmerHale


Transatlantic firm Squire Patton Boggs has recruited three litigation and competition partners from US firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, including the firm’s former Frankfurt office head.

Intellectual property and trademark litigator Reinhart Lange will join Squires in Germany, where he was partner-in-charge of the firm’s Frankfurt office. He joins with IP partner Christofer Eggers and counsel Eva Schalast, who joins as a partner.

All three are known for brand management and competition disputes and join along with a five-strong brand management team.

Lange has over 25 years of intellectual property and trademarks experience. He spent eight years at the US firm having joined along with Eggers from Mayer Brown in 2008 to launch WilmerHale’s Frankfurt operations.

Squires international dispute resolution global chair George von Mehren said: ‘We have a strong cartel litigation and competition dispute practice in Germany and this team’s arrival, coupled with the continued growth in competition-related litigation, will lead to further opportunities for the expansion of our practice as one of the leading firms for this type of specialist work.’

The firm has been expanding its operations in Germany, with Squires merging at the start of the year with San Francisco firm Carroll, Burdick & McDonough giving it an additional office in Böblingen, as well as its offices in Berlin and Frankfurt.

Squires recently appointed Jane Haxby as its new Europe and Middle East managing partner. Haxby was the firm’s chair of global corporate group for Europe, the Midde East and Africa and previously the firms Manchester managing partner.

Long-time European managing partner and former legacy Hammonds head Peter Crossley is understood to be remaining at the firm after stepping down from the leadership role at the end of the year.

Legal Business

WilmerHale review set to shut City branch to refocus on Mayfair arbitration team


Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is set to close one of its two London offices, with its 10-lawyer transactional outpost in the City currently being reviewed amid expectations that the office will be wound down. The review is likely to result in the US law firm refocusing its London practice heavily around its arbitration team at its existing Mayfair office, according to two current partners.

Headed by life sciences M&A specialist, Joe Pillman, WilmerHale’s Alder Castle office near St Paul’s Cathedral is expected to be wound down nearly 20 years after it opened for business. A partner at the firm confirmed that ‘there are discussions to try to transition people out of there because it’s not something that fits with what the firm is doing’.

The office currently holds five partners, two counsel and three associates carrying out litigation, corporate, finance and employment work. It was set up in the late 1990s by the legacy Hale and Dorr, before the Boston-bred law firm combined with Washington DC leader Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in 2004.

The firm has operated with two London offices since that merger over a decade ago, with Hale and Dorr having originally launched the site in a bid to secure tech-focused work. While WilmerHale’s renowned arbitration team at the firm’s other London office, on Park Lane, has grown in size and stature since the merger, the Alder Castle branch has shrunk over the last decade.

Partners at the office include employment lawyer David Andrews, employee benefits specialist Paula Holland, IP litigator Anthony Trenton and corporate duo Pillman and Michael Holter. Legal Business understands that WilmerHale will retain Trenton, who launched the firm’s IP litigation practice in September 2014 when he joined from Dentons, as the firm looks to build a transatlantic IP litigation team following the arrival of big-billing Trevor Cook from Bird & Bird the previous year. Cook relocated to the US as part of that move. It is not clear if other lawyers in the Alder Castle office are to transfer to Park Lane.

Pillman currently splits his time between London and Oxford, where the firm has a small office, and the team is known for its Thames Valley work. Julia Bracewell, who has served stints as a director of British Fencing and chair of sportscotland, and formerly headed Morrison & Foerster’s UK corporate practice, is a counsel at the Alder Gate office.

A WilmerHale partner commented: ‘The problem is that it doesn’t fit with what the firm is. The firm would like to have their practices be more robust firm-wide but we’re a litigation, regulatory and specialised corporate firm. We’re not a Wall Street or City finance firm so to support those practices is tough. Why do you want people who are treading water in practice areas that aren’t obvious to have outside of the US because we don’t have the critical mass to make them fly?’ There are people who are good at what they do, they have enough work, but don’t really have a coherent reason for being there.’

WilmerHale declined to comment.

Legal Business

Boies Schiller boosts London presence as it takes on third City partner with WilmerHale hire


Eighteen months on from its City launch, Boies, Schiller & Flexner has hired its third partner with Kenneth Beale joining the disputes shop from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s arbitration group.

The hire comes as the firm looks to bulk up its offering within its three core practice lines: investigations, litigation and international arbitration. Beale starts in his new role on July 6 and will be joined by three associates from various firms including White & Case.

Beale, who was of counsel at WilmerHale with particular experience of disputes involving Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia, was understood to have been on track to partnership at the firm but decided to leave to join fellow arbitration partner Wendy Miles, who also left last September to boost Boies Schiller’s City arbitration offering.

The arrival of the team will take office headcount to 15, which counts three partners and 12 associates including two secondees. The firm has also taken out extra office space in Old Broad Street’s Tower 42 that will house up to 25 heads.

After more than a decade at WilmerHale’s London and Washington DC offices, Beale returns to Boies Schiller where he spent time as a summer associate in the early 2000s under co-founder and managing partner Jonathan Schiller.

Beale has experience of advising in criminal and corporate investigations, cross-border disputes and international arbitrations across the oil and gas, manufacturing, financial services, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and defence sectors.

Boies Schiller’s London head, Natasha Harrison, said: ‘Ken is a valuable and important addition to our growing London office. His expertise in investigations and international arbitration will add further resource and depth to the office as we continue to build the international disputes practice.’

Founded in 1997, Boies Schiller launched its first office outside of the States in London in the summer of 2013 with the hire of former Bingham McCutchen star partner Harrison. The launch came in a bid to service the firm’s major clients including Barclays, which Boies Schiller represented over Libor related issues.

Recent work out of the London office has seen Boies Schiller advising the Class A1 Fixed Noteholders of Canary Wharf in a dispute to a spens payment, which is listed for trial in the final week of July; and obtaining a judgment from the High Court in April in favour of a group of Spanish conglomerate FCC’s debt holders.

Legal Business

Perspectives: Gary Born, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr


I grew up on a military base, I was an army brat in what was then West Germany, and they didn’t need lawyers; they had commanding officers and lieutenants.

I went to university in the US and happily studied history and religion. I thought being the professor was what I wanted to do. In my last year, my faculty announced a freeze on hiring and liberal arts education was in a bit of a crisis. So, with all other options ruled out, I decided to go to law school.

Legal Business

The Innovator



What’s next for the institution that pioneered the now-ubiquitous emergency arbitrator provision? WilmerHale partner John Pierce talks to American Arbitration Association senior vice president Richard Naimark to find out

In the context of dispute resolution, ‘US-style’ rarely denotes a positive quality. Be it for the brand of aggressive cross-examination practised in courts from New York to Nevada, or a class action system whose excesses are slammed by European legislators when introducing their own forms of collective redress, American lawyers are seen by many as having much to answer for. Such criticisms are to some extent offset by the influence such practitioners continue to exert on the global stage, with international arbitration being no exception. Indeed, London-headquartered Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer aside, the industry’s busiest players are, to a firm, American. Given this predominance, it is to be expected that US-style practices would bleed into international arbitration – the most unloved and increasingly prevalent of which remains its approach to document production.

Legal Business

Running the rule



Shortly before the LCIA’s rule revisions came into effect on 1 October, the institution’s director general Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof met with WilmerHale partner Steven Finizio to discuss how its provisions fit into her vision for the future

Steven Finizio, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr: The growth of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)’s case numbers has been a notable development in recent years. Why are more and more parties now choosing the institution?

Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof, LCIA: Our overriding – and unique – selling point is the balance we strike between a light-touch approach wherever possible and being more directional only when necessary. If parties are able to take care of themselves, as many are, we look to be in their way as little as we can. It’s not a one-size-fits-all style of administration, which is something I experienced as counsel and arbitrator, so it’s interesting now to see the philosophy from the other side. We are also increasingly emphasising the truly international character of the LCIA. This is demonstrated not only by hires such as mine, but by the fact that we are now seeing parties choose non-London seats, which people should not forget is possible. We don’t want the institution to be perceived as being overly pro-London.