SJB hires Dentons former Middle East arbitration head Stothard

SJ Berwin has picked up the former head of Denton’s international arbitration unit in the Middle East, Paul Stothard, for its London office.

Stothard, who spent three years in Dubai as an Allen & Overy associate between 2002 and 2005, was made partner at Dentons in August 2008 and moved to Dubai the following month to head the office’s international arbitration unit. He returned to the City office in 2012.

The move to the Middle East came after The Lawyer revealed (28 July 2008) that Dentons was drafting a policy that offered incentives including partnership to lawyers who agree to move to the region.

Stothard’s exit from the firm follows the departure of Salans’ former head of UK international arbitration, George Burn to Vinson & Elkins (V&E) (15 July 2013). Salans, SNR Denton and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC) merged under the Dentons banner in March (22 February 2013) having ratified the three-way merger in a partner vote in November 2012 (28 November 2012).

In July, SJ Berwin partners voted to combine with King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) on 1 November 2013, the first ever tie up between two major UK and Asian Pacific firms (31 July 2013).

The tie-up will be non-financially integrated, but will require SJ Berwin to phase out its longstanding name – used by the firm since it was founded by Stanley J. Berwin in 1982 – in order to be consumed by the Sino-Pacific giant’s brand.

It is the lastest in a number of exits from Dentons including transactional partner Dan Larkin to Bryan Cave (21 August 2013) and partner Joel Benjamin who has joined Central and Eastern European (CEE) firm Kinstellar to launch a base in Kazakhstan (3 September 2013).

In June the firm voted in favour of closing its Kuwait office following a review but the future of its local tie-up with Jamal Ahmed Al-Shehab remains unclear (21 June 2013).