Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed Nigel Rawding to head up its arbitration practice in the City.
Rawding will replace Costantine Partasides who has exited the magic circle firm to launch an independent arbitration boutique, named Three Crowns (17 February 2014).
Rawding was based in Freshfields’ New York office before relocating to London in April 2007 as part of an initiative to bring the firm’s big-hitting stars to the City. The scheme also bought Partasides to the City from his prior base in Paris in the same year.
The practice management changes follow the announcement in February that Partasides was to establish Three Crowns, alongside former international arbitration head Jan Paulsson who led the practice for more than 20 years. Despite being officially retired, it is thought that Paulsson was retained by the firm for set-piece disputes (12 March 2013).
Georgios Petrochilos, who is currently based in Freshfields’ Paris office, is also departing for a role in the new venture.
The trio have been joined by Covington & Burling London partner Gaetan Verhoosel, Shearman & Sterling Paris partner Todd Wetmore, and Jones Day’s Luke Sobota who is currently based in Washington DC (26 February 2014).
Freshfields is currently undergoing an effort to bulk up its City practice, and intends to relocate arbitration partner Reza Mohtashami from Dubai to London in June. Mohtashami has been based in Dubai since 2009, and leads the firm’s global arbitration practice.
It also appointed former senior associate Elizabeth Snodgrass as international arbitration counsel in January, and is seeking to grow the team further with a number of senior associate hires.
Three Crowns, which will be located in London, Paris and Washington DC, officially launched yesterday (7 April) promising flexibility in staffing and pricing.
Sobota said the name “relates to the idea of excellence and mentorship in advocacy associated with a decades-old tradition of leading advocates in the field wearing cufflinks with the insignia of three crowns”.
Meanwhile, the hunt for a new corporate chief to replace Julian Long when he steps into Mark Rawlinson’s shoes as London managing partner continues. Insiders suggest that deal-maker Julian Makin and M&A co-head Simon Marchant are likely candidates for the position (24 March 2014).