Linklaters to build up US team

CITY-BASED international practice, Linklaters & Paines, is recruiting a team of US lawyers to handle its securities work in the US.

Edward Fleischman, former commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), starts in the firm's New York office on 1 December. Linklaters head of international finance Terence Kyle says his appointment is the first of several planned by the firm.

Kyle says although the firm is taking on US staff, it does not believe the appointments will cause problems with referral work from other practices.

“Edward Fleischman's appointment marks the start of a new initiative for us. We do not see a problem with it,” says Kyle.

“We are not seeking to compete with US firms across the board, and certainly not in their domestic marketplace.”

“The question of referral was something that we thought about before taking this step, but we don't anticipate that Fleischman's appointment will reflect on the sort of referral work we get.

“There are 125 lawyers in the international securities field at Linklaters. There's no way that one US lawyer could give us a credible US law capacity.”

Kyle says discussions with US firms which currently instruct Linklaters in the UK have indicated there will be no downturn in work sent over to the practice.

“In the last three years access to the US as investors has been made easier and more attractive and, as far as our clients are concerned, they require advice and assistance in relation to complying with those laws,” says Kyle.

He says if the firm is unable to give advice on certain parts of transactions clients may decide they want a US firm to handle the whole transaction, resulting in a loss of business.

INTERNATIONAL firm Coudert Brothers has taken on top European law expert David O'Keeffe as counsel.

O'Keeffe is professor of European law at the University of London and director of University College London's Centre for the Law of the European Union. He will work mainly in the London, Brussels and Paris offices.

He is an expert in financial services legislation, trade law, insurance and pensions regulation, and competition law. O'Keeffe worked for Couderts in Brussels from 1984 to 1985 before moving to the European Court of Justice where he spent six years specialising in community law.

O'Keeffe will continue with his academic work which also includes roles as a professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and visiting professor at the University of Sienna.

He says he decided to go back into private practice after leaving his position last year as head of law and holder of the Allen & Overy chair of European law at Durham University.

“When I moved back to London I wanted to do some practice with a firm with a genuine international vision, and Coudert Brothers is that firm,” says O'Keeffe. “It's a totally international firm, both in terms of clients and lawyers working there.

“They're also very interested in building up their European law capabilities in London and that's why we make a good fit.”