Bristows scoops three-partner team from restructuring Howrey

City IP boutique Bristows has recruited a three-partner disputes team from the London office of US firm Howrey.

Former Howrey partners Geoffrey Gauci, James Irvine and Charles Pugh join Bristows as partners on 1 March.

Bristows joint managing partner Paul Walsh told The Lawyer: “We want to build on our excellence in IP and build up our broader litigation offering.”

Gauci and Irvine have been involved in IP disputes but also have a broader commercial litigation background. Gauci is representing CIBC Mellon in its epic ongoing case against Stoltzenberg, which relates to the 1992 collapse of Canadian property and investment company Castor Holdings.

“There is a lot of technology litigation and we’re tooled up for that. We are expecting a lot of insolvency litigation and litigation against financial institution over the next 12 to 36 months and we’re well placed to pick up on that,” said Walsh.

Howrey has been restructuring its London office to focus on its firmwide strengths in IP, antitrust and international dispute resolution and arbitration with some product liability. It also plans to add Cap Analysis strength.

Howrey partner Trevor Soames said: “It’s a fundamental redesign of the business model of the London office and it does result in the departure of some partners and they’re good people. These people will do well at Bristows.”

The departures of Gauci, Irvine and Pugh follow those of partners Peter Fitzpatrick and George Maling, who left for Nabarro in September.

“That’s quite a lot for a small office. We’ve effectively swapped out the litigation department for four partners in IP and one in antitrust,” said Soames.