Bakers poaches partner and clients from US firm

Baker & McKenzie has poached the head of insurance and reinsurance at the London office of Chicago-based firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

Peter Schwartz says he will be taking clients, including AXA, C&A and Royal & Sun Alliance, with him to Baker & McKenzie. Also moving is associate Marie Colquhoun.

Schwartz's departure leaves Sonnenscheins with four UK partners in its London office. The firm is getting a taste of its own medicine – it had previously raided Allen & Overy, Linklaters and DJ Freeman in establishing its London practice.

Schwartz joined Sonnenscheins in 1995. Previously, he was in-house at Alexander Howden Group, international Lloyd's brokers and one of Lloyd's insurers, before joining boutique insurance firm Reynolds Johnson & Green.

Rupert Jones, a partner at Sonnenscheins' London office, says Schwartz's departure and that of his clients is a disappointment. “Insurance is a core area for the firm,” he adds.

Jones says further European expansion may well be on the cards. He promises: “Resources will be deployed.”

Schwartz says he expects further movement of partners in the top end of the market, given the globalisation and consolidation of the sector: “I would imagine partners in less strong firms will be awaiting developments in both the insurance and legal services markets.”

Schwartz says he moved to Baker & McKenzie to face changes in the insurance and re-insurance market head-on.