Cohen eyes Europe as Freshfields, Links plan class action strategies

US class action specialist Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll is set to ramp up its international best friends network as magic circle firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters decide on the best strategies for defending UK companies.

Cohen is to tour Europe to build relationships with firms to which it can refer class action work and hopes to have the bones of any associations set up by October.

Meanwhile, Freshfields and Linklaters are repositioning following the £175m settlement by Royal Dutch Shell to European shareholders through a US class action. Freshfields has set up a working group, made up of lawyers across its European network, to monitor how the class action market is shaping up.

The group, headed by litigation partner Paul Lomas, will assess whether Freshfields’ setup needs to be restructured.

Linklaters has decided not to create a dedicated class action sub-group, but to weave it into the existing practice areas, with Sir Christopher Bellamy, a former judge of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), leading the effort.

Commercial dispute resolution partner Michael Sanders said: “Christopher has handled CAT cases, which are similar to class actions. It means we have another source apart from our US experience to draw on.”