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White & Case arbitration partner Paul Cowan has defected back to the bar, joining 4 New Square after months of talks.
Cowan, who leaves White & Case tomorrow after eleven years at the firm, said he has a number of old friends at 4 New Square, including Anneliese Day QC, and was not “knocking on the door” of any other chambers.
“I still consider myself a barrister and a part of that never left. Little by little all the boxes started to be ticked and I felt this offer would not come up again,” he explained.
For Cowan, who works in White & Case’s international arbitration and construction group, this is a return to the bar after a near 20 year gap.
He was called to the bar in 1996 and qualified at One Paper Buildings before joining the construction practice of CMS Cameron McKenna. It was here that he worked closely with construction star Ann Minogue, moving to Linklaters with her in 2001 before joining White & Case three years later.
Sources have called the hire a strategic move for 4 New Square, with the set understood to have approached Cowan a number of times. More private practice lawyers are expected to move across in the coming months, though none from White & Case.
When Ben Hubble QC became head of the London set last summer, following the elevation of Sue Carr QC to the High Court bench (25 June 2013), he said 4 New Square would be focusing on expanding its commerciality to keep ahead of the pack.
The set, which has a strong focus on professional liability law, also builds direct relationship with insurer clients, with barristers able to negotiate set fees on a case-by-case basis.