Hogan closes another office as Akin poaches Geneva team

US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has gutted Hogan & Hartson’s Geneva office to launch its own Swiss practice.

This is the latest defection from Hogan ahead of its 1 May agreed merger with Lovells.

Charles Adams, Hogan’s Geneva office managing partner and co director of the firm’s international litigation and arbitration practice, will lead the new Geneva office, which is due to open on 1 May.

He is being joined by Hogan’s entire Geneva team, which is made up of tax partner Jonathan Ivinson and arbitration partner Michael Stepek as well as four associates.

The team will practice out of the same office Hogan opened in 2005 and will continue to focus on international arbitration, international civil litigation, corporate and commercial law and giving tax advice to corporates and high-net-worth individuals.

“We’ve very much enjoyed our five years with Hogan & Hartson, and have the highest regard for its senior management, lawyers, and staff,” said Adams. “We wish our colleagues every success as they enter into their combination with Lovells, even as we, for our part, look forward to the exciting and rewarding new chapter on which we are about to embark.”

According to Rick Burdick, Akin Gump’s managing partner for international operations, the move is part of the firm’s efforts to develop a world-class international arbitration practice, and that the growth would not stop there.

“We plan on growing our international arbitration practice and that’s going to be in Geneva because that’s where our most senior people are,” he said, adding that having a footprint in Geneva would provide the firm with a good opportunity to expand its trade and funds practice.

The move comes shortly after 18 partners from Hogan & Hartson Raue announced they would launch an independent Berlin practice when Hogan’s and Lovells merge 1 May 2010 (23 March 2010) and the entire Warsaw office of Hogan’s defected to K&L Gates (8 March 2010).

Lovells has also announced that it will close its Chicago base once the merger with Hogan goes live (30 March 2010).

Hogan chairman Warren Gorrell said: “While we’re sorry to see these lawyers leave, and we wish them well, their departure will not impact our plans or prospects. We continue to have extensive, highly regarded capabilities in international arbitration, tax, and international trade, and these capabilities will be augmented further following our combination with Lovells. We remain excited and bullish as we move ahead with our combination planning and the upcoming launch of Hogan Lovells.”

The office will be Akin Gump’s second in mainland Europe. The firm, which opened an office in London in 1997, also has a base in Moscow.