Crossing the divide

In the run-up to Christmas it’s not hard to see why firms are already starting to look ahead to try to raise their games for 2013. And as the flurry of hires in recent weeks shows, many firms are choosing to cast their gaze in-house in a bid to bolster their offerings.

Earlier this week Simmons & Simmons took the plunge in Hong Kong and poached Jay Lee from Standard Chartered Bank. As the bank’s head of debt capital markets legal for North East Asia with responsibility for capital markets legal matters across China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, Lee’s hire is a major addition to the firm’s Hong Kong capital markets team.

Other moves have also shown the importance of firms maintaining relationships with their former partners when they move in-house. This was clear earlier this month when SJ Berwin rehired Ofcom head of legal Sarah Turnbull in a bid to boost its contentious competition practice.

Similarly, Veale Wasbrough Vizards recently rehired former partner Sue Malthouse, who returned to the firm after 18 months at Clarks Shoes as group director of legal and company secretary, to bulk up its commercial practice in the City.