Covington & Burling has hired AOL Europe's associate general counsel, corporate affairs, as a special counsel in its London office. Robert Stankey, who was at AOL for almost three years, will concentrate on advising technology and interactive services companies on corporate and commercial matters. Stankey said he had always planned to return to private practice at a later stage in his career and that Covington provided a good opportunity to do this. "There are opportunities in the TMT (technology, media & telecoms) area and things are beginning to pick up again. So it's really good to be ready to exploit those opportunities," he said. Prior to AOL, Stankey was general counsel at Primus Telecommunications Group, a publicly traded international telecoms and data services provider. Before that he was assistant general counsel of Cybercash, an internet payment systems pioneer. Stankey has structured and negotiated a variety of cross-border deals for technology and interactive service companies, including joint ventures, strategic equity investments, software and trademark licences and agreements for technology development distribution.