ABN brings employment in-house as disputes escalate

Dutch investment banking giant ABN Amro has hired its first in-house employment lawyer in an bid to slash its external legal spend.

Charlotte Davies, a senior associate at US firm McDermott Will & Emery, has joined ABN’s legal department.

ABN’s employment law panel, which comprises Olswang, Simmons & Simmons and SJ Berwin, is being reviewed as part of the bank’s broader plans to overhaul its law firm roster.

The appointment is also part of a major trend over the past couple of years of banks bolstering their in-house employment capabilities after increased concerns about being sued for unfair dismissal and/or sex discrimination (as first reported on Lawyer News Weekly, 11 January).

In recent weeks, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DKW) and HBOS have been hit with sex discrimination cases. DKW is being sued for $1.4bn (£790m) by six female bankers. Meanwhile, HBOS is defending itself against an £11m claim brought by fomer asset and liability management head Claire Bright. The case is the largest sex discrimination case to ever hit the City (click here).