Akin Gump Geneva lawyer defects to Holman Fenwick

An Akin Gump Geneva lawyer who joined the US firm from legacy Hogan & Hartson last April has quit for Holman Fenwick & Willan (HFW).

Matthew Parish joined Akin Gump when Hogan’s entire Geneva office defected prior to the firm’s May 2010 merger with Lovells (7 April 2010). He has been tasked with building an arbitration practice for HFW, which has focused on commodities since opening in Geneva in October 2010.

Parish will be HFW’s second partner in Geneva, joining office founder Jeremy Davies. Damian Honey, head of HFW’s commercial, banking and disputes practice, said Parish’s arrival meant the firm now had a presence in “virtually all” the world’s major disputes centres.

Arbitration work is booming in Switzerland at present, with both local and international firms focusing on the area.

Meanwhile, the firm has also added trade law specialist Folkert Graafsma to its Brussels office.

Graafsma, who practises international trade law, general European and World Trade Organisation law and customs law, has joined from independent firm Vermulst Verhaeghe Graafsma & Bronckers.

He is the second partner hire for HFW in Brussels this year, following the January 2011 arrival of former Hammonds partner Konstantinos Adamantopoulos (17 January 2011).

Graafsma’s move is continuing evidence of a trend in Brussels for firms to beef up their competition and trade practices. It follows recent hires by De Brauw Blackstone & Westbroek (22 September 2011), Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (20 September 2011) and Clifford Chance (13 September 2011).