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Bird & Bird has lost competition partner Simon Topping to the Brussels office of technology rival SJ Berwin.
Topping joins a rated UK team that has recently acknowledged the importance of a greater Brussels presence. The hire follows that of Marc Levy, the former head of antitrust at Andersen Legal's French law firm. SJ Berwin competition head Stephen Kon said: "With enlargement, Brussels will become more important… What we've done already is develop in the member states and we're complementing that with enhancing our Brussels practice."
Topping joins one of the few UK firms with a standalone competition practice. Kon said 80 per cent of the work is for clients owned by the competition team rather than referrals from the corporate practice.
Bird & Bird also bolstered competition earlier this year by taking on a three-lawyer team from Brussels regulatory specialists Stanbrook & Hooper.