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Blackstone Chambers stalwart Thomas Beazley QC is to leave the bar to take up partnership with top level litigation boutique Hage Aaronson.
Beazley will become head of international litigation at the nascent firm, which was launched earlier this year by former One Essex Court barrister Joe Hage (11 March 2013).
Hage teamed up with leading tax silk Graham Aaronson QC of Pump Court Tax Chambers for the launch after hiring a trio of leading tax partners from Dorsey & Whitney for its tax litigation team (4 March 2013).
The arrival of Beazley will be a significant boost for the litigation firm, which targets high-end work and aims to work closely with the bar, instructing advocates at an early stage to help clients resolve disputes.
Beazely was regarded as a significant force within Blackstone Chambers having headed the set jointly with Ian Mill QC for seven years until January 2011 (21 January 2011). When they were first elected in 2004 the pair put the development of the competition practice at the top of the agenda (25 October 2004).
Since then Beazley has picked up a raft of top level work. Last year he was instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Sue Prevezer QC to represent Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in his £1bn court fight with rival Michael Cherney. The case went on to settle (27 September 2012).
He also picked up an instruction for the claimants in a $250m dispute with against Saudi investment company Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers (AHAB). That case also settled after the defence was withdrawn (20 June 2011).
His shock departure from Blackstone will come as a surprise to many but is understood to be amicable. Hage Aaronson plans to work closely with the bar and it is believed that Blackstone could benefit from the hire by way of future instructions.
Head of chambers Tony Peto QC issued a statement, saying: “We will continue to enjoy a close working relationship as Joe Hage has been a friend of Blackstone for many years and we are confident that he and his colleagues will develop a highly successful litigation practice.”
Hage Aaronson named partner Hage added: “We intend to carry on working closely with the independent bar and, in particular, Blackstone Chambers, which houses some of the best commercial advocates at the bar.”
The firm has already scored its first Supreme Court appearance with partner Simon Whitehead, who joined from Dorsey & Whitney, representing Marks & Spencer in a tax dispute with HMRC (10 April 2013).