is looking to take on the might of the US law firms by setting up its own class action practice.
Litigation partner John Kelleher is heading the initiative into the class action market.
Kelleher, who has defended several English group actions for manufacturing clients, said that, with class actions creeping closer to the UK, firms need to start seeing it as a serious potential growth area.
Kelleher is currently consulting with other practice areas, including the firm’s competition and regulation group.
He said: “Our aim is to put a cross-disciplinary team in place by the end of 2007, dedicated to defending class actions, particularly the private enforcement of competition breaches, securities fraud, pension fund actions and significant product liability claims.”
Kelleher added that the firm is also looking closely at the market for funding arrangements, the availability of which it regards as an increasingly important part of the future of dispute resolution in this country.
Recent developments in funding arrangements have been highlighted by the coverage of the third-party litigation funding of a £90m professional negligence claim against accountant Moore Stephens (The Lawyer, 5 January).
The news comes just three months after DLA Piper announced it would be setting up a private class actions team (The Lawyer, 28 May).
DLA Piper’s move was a response to the arrival of US class action boutique Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll in the UK. Cohen launched its practice with the hire of DLA Piper’s former head of competition Rob Murray.