White & Case hires SJ Berwin co-arbitration head for Moscow push

SJ Berwin’s co-head of arbitration David Goldberg is set to join White & Case’s London office next month.

David Goldberg
David Goldberg

Goldberg, who led SJ Berwin’s Russia desk, will join White & Case’s international arbitration group and is expected to spend a large proportion of his time in Moscow as the US firm continues to build its presence in the jurisdiction.

Earlier this year, the US firm snared a pair of lawyers from Clifford Chance for its Moscow office in the shape of M&A partner Andrei Dontsov, who joined in May, and energy counsel Maria Oleinik, who became a local partner in April (10 May 2010).

White & Case is understood to be looking to continue growing its Russia practice, with the firm also wanting to strengthen the link between its London and Moscow bases.

International arbitration chief Paul Friedland said: “London’s become the centre for resolution of international business disputes involving Russian parties. Most large international Russian-oriented contracts are governed by English law and the LCIA [London Court of International Arbitration] is the dominant forum for the settlement of disputes through international arbitration.

“David brings important contacts and enables us to enhance what we offer to clients with disputes in the region.”

White & Case London arbitration head Phillip Capper said that the firm would be “building a team around” Goldberg and had already hired a Russian-speaking junior to work closely with him.

Capper added: “There’s a real synergy with what he [Goldberg] does and our global practice. Our firm has a global reach with strength around the CIS countries. His combination of Russian-speaking arbitration and strong corporate relationships fits perfectly with us.”

Goldberg had been set to run a proposed Moscow office for SJ Berwin before the plans were put on hold as a result of the continuing global financial crisis.

He is the second partner to leave since it emerged that the City firm was in merger talks with US firm Proskauer Rose, with banking partner Stuart Brinkworth set to join Hogan Lovells in October.

Commenting on Goldberg’s departure, an SJ Berwin spokesperson said: “He’s an exceptional lawyer and we wish him well.”