Howrey continues hiring spree for Brussels office

DG financial services head to join in July; move boosts US firm’s investigative antitrust capability

US firm Howrey Simon Arnold & White has made another appointment for its new Brussels office. David Wood, head of the unit for financial services at the Competition Directorate-General (DG), will join Howrey this July.
Wood joins former Norton Rose Brussels partner Trevor Soames, who heads the Howrey office, and former head of the Com-petition DG’s crack cartels unit, Julian Joshua. His appointment gives Howrey strength in depth on the investigative side of antitrust law. He will remain at the Competition DG until the end of the June.
Wood qualified with UK firm Richards Butler, but has spent the majority of his career working in government. In the past 10 years at the Competition DG, Wood has worked in transport, media and ultimately financial services. He specialised in investigations on abusive pricing, refusals to supply by dominant undertakings and the establishment of joint dominance.
Wood said: “I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at the European Commission, building something that I believe in.”
But he added: “For all the good things about an administration, there are some less good things, not least the lack of independence. For someone of my temperament, it’s not easy to toe the party line.”
Woods told The Lawyer: “At the risk of courting controversy, I would say that many businessmen get a rotten deal from their advisers. There’s a marked contrast between the best antitrust lawyers and the rest. I’m convinced that there is plenty of scope on the Brussels scene for more of the best.”
Howrey managing partner Bob Ruyak said:”Our intention is to have a very strong presence and comprehensive practice in Brussels. The addition of David Wood is another critical step in achieving this goal.”
In March, Ruyak told The Lawyer that he intended to have five or six partners in Brussels by September. The firm still requires further support for Trevor Soames on the M&A side.
Movement between the public and private sectors is increasingly common in both directions for competition lawyers and top posts at the Competition DG are now publicly advertised. Wood said that he believes in the merits of experiencing both sectors and sees this as an increasingly mainstream view within the commission.