Olswang hires Byrne & Partners’ Bernard O’Sullivan

Olswang has bolstered its commercial litigation group with the hire of partner Bernard O’Sullivan, who will join the firm from Byrne and Partners in November.

The hire is aimed at enhancing Olswang’s regulatory and fraud expertise, an area that many litigation practices have looked to grow in response to a greater number of regulatory investigations around the globe.

O’Sullivan was a part of a team of criminal, investigations and civil fraud lawyers who quit Dechert in 2003 to launch commercial litigation boutique Byrne and Partners.

O’Sullivan, a former senior partner, has a particular focus on international fraud cases and has picked up a raft of Russian related cases in recent years. This included obtaining a £425m freezing order against Russian state oil company Rosneft, in support of attempts by a former subsidiary of Yukos Oil to enforce arbitration awards in England and Wales.

Head of litigation Richard Bamforth said the firm had seen a significant increase in the number of international fraud cases and compliance related disputes. “It’s where the market is moving,” he said. “The FCA [Financial Conduct Authority] is flexing its muscles, all firms are looking at that with trepidation.”

He added that O’Sullivan’s experience of dealing with international cases was also an attraction.

Bamforth said it had been a year of consolidation in the Olswang disputes team but now the firm was looking to grow again and there may be further lateral hires.

Following the re-election of David Stewart as chief executive in April (22 April 2013) Olswang rejigged its governance structure moving from a single broad management board to a dual structure that features one elected board handling stakeholder oversight and an executive decision-making committee (22 April 2012).