Addleshaws hires Abramovich litigator from Skadden

Addleshaw Goddard has hired former Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom litigator Kambiz Larizadeh as a partner in its City litigation practice.

Larizadeh was of counsel at Skadden until last Wednesday and started at Addleshaw Goddard today (1 July).

He was part of the team that defended Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich in last year’s multi-billion dollar dispute brought by Addleshaw Goddard’s client Boris Berezovsky. The claims, totalling $5bn, were thrown out in August 2012 – a victory for the Skadden team (31 August 2012).

Addleshaw’s head of litigation Simon Kamstra said the decision to hire Larizadeh was made several months after the close of the trial but, “as a way of judging recruitment, you couldn’t do better than seeing an opponent in action”.

He said the firm’s strategy was to keep building on expertise in complex cross-border litigation, an area that requires a deep understanding of criminal law as well as more obvious corporate disciplines, and that Larizadeh is the calibre of litigator the firm is looking to attract.

Larizadeh, who had spent most of the five years he was at Skadden working on the Abramovich case, said that when it finished he took stock and decided where he wanted to be for the next five to 10 years.

“I knew Addleshaw Goddard’s lawyers from the Abramovich case so I had a fairly good idea of how they approached litigation and was interested in how they intended to develop it,” he said.

He said he was attracted to the innovative ways in which Addleshaws was breaking away from traditional law firm models, “like their conditional fee arrangements, willingness to explore external and third party funding and their road mapping process, which shows a commitment to delivering services in a more efficient way”.

Addleshaws ran the Abramovich litigation on a conditional fee arrangement, while the road mapping, or commoditisation of parts of a deal or dispute, started in transactional work and is gradually being rolled out into other areas (18 June 2013).

Larizadeh started his legal career as a barrister at 1 Mitre Court Buildings and 5 Pump Court, gaining experience as a trial advocate in the High Court and before arbitral tribunals.

At Skadden, he worked on high value and complex international disputes, involving allegations of misconduct and fraud, and acting for both claimants and defendants. His clients have included large international corporates, major financial institutions, media and technology companies, airlines and a number of high net worth individuals, including Abramovich.

Larizadeh’s appointment follows the hire of white-collar crime specialist Nichola Peters, who joined in June from Herbert Smith Freehills (7 February 2013).

In April Skadden made up three litigation partners, David Leland and Eben Colby in the US and David Herlihy in London, one more than in 2012 when there was just one in the US and one in the UK.