Sidley Austin Brown & Wood has ramped up its international trade practice and simultaneously boosted its presence in Europe by luring a 10-partner group from Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy
The group is led by Daniel Price and is based in both Washington DC and Geneva, where lawyers practise before the World Trade Organisation. While most of the group will join Sidley's DC office, a handful will remain in Geneva, giving the firm its first European office outside London. London partner Robert Asher said: "It's probably not where any of us thought our first office on the Continent would be, but it gives us a new service to offer at the highest level of expertise." Price's team comprises 33 lawyers specialising in international trade law, dispute resolution and policy. When the group formally becomes part of Sidley in May, Price will take on a wider role as chair of the firm's international trade practice. He said: "We felt that the continued development of our practice required a significantly larger firm with a major financial markets presence in New York as well as multiple offices overseas. Sidley's six international offices in London and throughout Asia are a big plus for our practice." For Sidley, ushering in a group that counts Vivendi, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Unilever and Nike among its clients, as well as a host of former US, European and Latin American government trade officials among its partners, is very good news. "This group of people has a tremendous reputation in the market," said Asher. "It allows us to serve our corporate client base with an area of practice that we didn't have nearly the depth in that we do now." The team in Geneva, headed by partner Scott Andersen, will work closely with the London office, which has lacked litigation specialists among its predominantly finance-based practice. DC managing partner Carter Phillips said: "I'm off-the-charts ecstatic. Our lawyers came across them on cases and said we really ought to take a look at them if we wanted to be players in international trade. "It's just one of those great happenstances that we'll look back on as one of the turning points in the firm."