Norton Rose suffers blow to competition

Norton Rose has lost its second key competition partner in just over two years.

Brussels managing partner Riccardo Celli has quit for O’Melveny & Myers, where he will launch a Brussels-based competition practice.

Celli took over in late 2001, when then head of competition Trevor Soames quit to launch a European practice for Washington DC competition giant Howrey Simon Arnold & White.

However, unlike Soames, Celli has not been put on gardening leave by Norton Rose.

It is understood Celli has worked with O’Melveny on European merger clearance work. His hire will deliver the Brussels presence that is so vital for O’Melveny, which is building up its London M&A practice.

The firm has seen rivals such as Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Sidley Austin Brown & Wood open in Brussels in the past year, a city that has seen yet another wave of invading US firms.

Norton Rose did not return calls for comment.