Chadbourne raid leaves Howrey with one City disputes partner

Chadbourne & Parke has hired a team of four disputes lawyers from Howrey’sLondon office including formerinternational arbitration group head Melanie Willems.

Willems’ departure leaves Howrey with just one mainstream dispute resolution partner, John Evans, based in London full time and an office almost entirely focused on IP and antitrust.

Willems joinsChadbourne’sinternational dispute resolution practice as a partner. The former Lovells partner, who joined Howrey five years ago, has experience of disputes in a wide range of industry sectors including engineering, energy, construction and transport.

Willems and the three members of her team are all solicitor-advocates. She said the platform offered by Chadbourne, both in terms of its international coverage and sector focus, was “outstanding”.

“The fit felt absolutely perfect in terms of the work my team and I do in areas such as infrastructure, transport and energy,” Willems added.

Chadbourne managing partner Charlie O’Neill said Willems’ arrival would add depth and hands-on experience to his firm’s IDR practice.

“Her international ADR and litigation skills will help us to expand and capitalise on significant opportunities coming to us from Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Turkey and Africa,” O’Neill added.

Howrey London managing partner Mark Hodgson said Willems’ decision to leave was  amicable and “mutually beneficial”.

“Arbitration’s something the majority of our European offices don’t do so there was no real synergy between what Melanie was doing and the European part of Howrey,” Hodgson added.