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Former Hammonds Direct partner Stephen York has moved over to Lovells’ Dubai office to build a Middle East dispute resolution practice as his dispute with his former firm is understood to be ongoing.
York will join Lovells as a consultant to put together a team that currently comprises one assistant. Lovells’ Dubai practice, which currently has four partners, has an Islamic finance focus.
York was fighting a partnership cash call at conveyancing company Hammonds Direct after it collapsed in 2009 (The Lawyer, 18 May 2009). He was the sole partner to dispute the £2.3m cash call, which was made to cover estimated liabilities in the business. The partners in the failed business launched a court battle to recover the money, but York filed a counterclaim after disputing liability.
There was a court hearing on the matter before Christmas.
Prior to joining Lovells York was a partner at Reed Smith, which he joined in 2008. A statement from Reed Smith said: “Stephen left Reed Smith in August 2009. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Crispin Rapinet, Lovells regional managing partner for Asia and the Middle East, said: “Stephen has a lot of arbitration experience, but he’s also the first one to mention he’s a dispute resolution lawyer. That [combination] is exactly what you need in a market like Dubai. A large proportion tend to go to arbitration because international companies try not to get sucked into the United Arab Emirates courts.”