Bryan Cave takes on Sinclair Roche partner

US firm Bryan Cave is taking on the head of commercial litigation from Sinclair Roche & Temperley to launch its UK contentious law practice.

Rod Cowper has been a partner at Sinclair Roche for a decade. He led the non-shipping commercial litigation and corporate recovery practice at the City firm.

He is the third UK partner for Bryan Cave in London, joining managing partner Charles Attlee and corporate partner Anthony Fiducia. They came to the firm from Druces & Attlee and Davenport Lyons respectively.

Cowper makes the firm one of the few US firms in London to offer a UK commercial litigation capability. Others include White & Case, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and McDermott Will & Emery.

Attlee says that the decision to add litigation capability is purely the result of client demand.

He says: “We know that we’ve been placing litigation out and there’s a demand for those services on the commercial side. We’ve spent over six months finding the right person, looking for someone with a broad spread of commercial litigation experience, and we think Rod will do very well with us.”

A third of Cowper’s practice is in corporate recovery work, something Attlee says the firm was not looking for but which will come in useful.

He says: “He has the level of experience that we need. We’re finding clients who are looking at whether they need to reorganise or restructure, so that experience will be very helpful.”

Attlee declines to name any of the firm’s clients, but the London office has just closed a deal acting for CIT Holidays on its buyout of travel agent Citalia from Italy’s CIT Group for an undisclosed figure.

The London office’s partner count will rise to 10 when Cowper arrives in May, three of whom are UK-qualified, four US-qualified and three dual-qualified.

The 600-lawyer firm, which is based in Missouri, also has eight US offices and others in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Attlee believes that Bryan Cave is different from other US practices in London.

He says: “I think that the breadth of the corporate commercial practice is something that’s different to a lot of US firms that are focusing on securitisation, capital markets and project finance work.”