Wikborg Rein has become the first Norwegian firm to practise English law in the City after adding three maritime partners to its London office.
The firm has had an office in London since 1987, but until now has not practised English law in the City. That has changed with the recruitment of Simon Tatham from Bentleys Stokes and Lowless and Clare Calnan and Rob Jardine-Brown from Curtis Davis Garrard.
In March the firm’s nine-member London team will move to a new office with the capacity to seat 20 lawyers in Cheapside House. The team will integrate with UK partners in Wikborg Rein’s Norway and Singapore offices.
“This is an expansion of the shipping and offshore part of the business, which accounts for a quarter of our business in London, and is where the firm has the highest penetration in Norway,” said Tatham, whose 20-year career in maritime litigation means he also has a profile among Norwegian clients.
“Norwegian clients have internationalised - many are based offshore and in Singapore. What the firm has seen is an increasing focus on English law in shipping law because when the market is internationalised English law tends to become the preferred choice for contracts and dispute resolution processes,” he added. “The firm couldn’t offer a dispute resolution capability before and in these times when markets are volatile, we needed to be able to assist [our clients]. It was a piece of the armoury that we were missing.”