Gibson Dunn lures top partner from Nabarros

THE London office of top West Coast firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is to offer an English law capability for the first time by appointing a Nabarro Nathanson property partner.

Alan Samson is qualified in both UK and US law and specialises in property finance. He is expected to join Gibson Dunn in the spring.

The firm says Samson will be the first of many UK lawyers to join its London branch.

Samson is the third property lawyer to leave Nabarros for a US firm in four months.

Andrew Bond, property partner at Nabarros' Reading office, joined US firm Altheimer & Gray which set up in the UK in July (The Lawyer, 6 September).

In the same month colleague Donna Stringer, a property lawyer, became Weil Gotshal & Manges' first property partner in the UK.

Geoffrey Lander, head of property at Nabarros, says the practice has always expected Samson to join a US firm since many of his clients are based in the States.

“We will be happy to work together with him in the future,” he says.

On the number of property lawyers the firm has lost to US firms, Lander says: “The need for lawyers is more dynamic now. Certainly younger people have a different view of the market.”

Gibson Dunn is ranked the second largest firm on the West Coast and fourteenth biggest in the US in terms of gross revenues, which last year totalled £374m.

In August The Lawyer revealed that Gibson Dunn was intending to bolster its London office by appointing UK lawyers to compete for local work.

Paul Harter, corporate partner at Gibson Dunn's London office, says: “We cannot have a useful UK and cross- border M&A and finance practice without having a strong presence in related areas – and property is one.”

In the US, Gibson Dunn has scored a coup by taking on former head of criminal anti-trust at the Justice Department, Gary Spratling, to its San Francisco office.

The firm is also bolstering its Washington office with the appointment of James Loftis, an anti-trust partner who is joining from Collier Shannon Rill & Scott.