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Mayer Brown & Platt has added a litigation capability to its London office with the hire of two Denton Wilde Sapte lawyers, just as merger negotiations with Rowe & Maw are reaching their final stages.
Former Dentons litigation partner John Miles and senior assistant Marie Kidwell will both join Mayer Brown as equity partners today (3 December). Although dispute resolution accounts for a quarter of the firm's practice, the London office lacked significant litigation capability. By adding Miles and Kidwell, the firm has taken steps towards expanding its dispute resolution capability in Europe. Mayer Brown has arbitration and litigation lawyers in its Frankfurt, Paris and Cologne offices. London managing partner Ian Coles said: "We've felt for some time that arbitration is something that really does operate on an international basis. We've got a very active arbitration practice in the US and we'd been looking for some time to set up something in London."
"We've felt for some time that arbitration is something that really does operate on an international basis" Ian Coles, Mayer Brown & Platt
Global head of Mayer Brown's arbitration group Rick McCombs said: "London is a key international dispute resolution centre, and we look forward to integrating John and Marie's practices and capabilities with our own, to provide our transnational clients with a seamless web of litigation and arbitration services around the world." Miles said that he was recruited via contacts with US-based partners, having worked with New York litigation partner Robert Ward on a number of occasions. "They wanted someone in London," said Miles. "They're quite keen to exploit opportunities in China, the Middle East and Africa." Miles headed Dentons' China group for 10 years. He said: "After 16 years, you've got to try something new." Miles said that clients will be following him to his new firm. His immediate task will be to finish a number of ongoing cases. After that, he said, he will "work out a plan with the boys in the States as to how we attack the rest of the world". Coles said that Mayer Brown intends to grow the London litigation practice carefully and steadily. The objective is to offer a full arbitration and litigation service in London. He declined to comment on how the new litigation group fitted with the firm's plans to merge with UK firm Rowe & Maw.