Stephen Ball set to join Gibson Dunn in London

Nomura’s former chief general counsel Stephen Ball is resurfacing at US firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to head its UK practice.

Ball left the Japanese banking group in February – where he was also managing director and a member of the board of directors and executive committee – in a shroud of mystery and has been on gardening leave ever since.

Ball is now joining the US firm’s London office to expand its number of UK lawyers.

At present the London office has only one UK qualified lawyer who also practises US law – Alan Samson, a property finance partner who joined from Nabarro Nathan-son (The Lawyer, 24 January).

It is understood that going to Gibson Dunn was one of three options for Ball, which included joining ABN Amro as head of legal to oversee the consolidation of its five in-house legal team departments. He was also considering joining Jiway, a stock exchange internet site set up by Morgan Stanley.

Ball will work alongside Gibson Dunn corporate partner Paul Harter, who will continue to head the US practice in London.

The firm’s managing partner Wesley Howell says: “As one of the leaders of the UK practice we expect Stephen to be invaluable in helping to coordinate the development of the London office.

“Stephen is one of the most experienced lawyers in London.”

It is understood that Ball’s remit will include establishing a presence in Asia.

A spokeswoman at Gibson Dunn says: “We will probably be expanding in Asia but it is not the number one thing on our agenda.”

Although Ball qualified at Linklaters & Alliance, he has spent the majority of his career in-house, firstly at Bankers Trust in both London and Hong Kong before joining Nomura.

Ball was unavailable for comment.