Rees returns to roots for Welsh City launch

Cardiff-based Hugh James is to launch its first office in London, and has recruited Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman outsourcing partner Phillip Rees to launch the new base.

Rees, most recently a partner in the intellectual property team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman, will head the new operation.

Before joining Shaw Pitman (just before it merged with Pillsbury Winthrop) in January 2005, Rees was a partner at Hammonds. He, along with 13 other partners, is currently being sued by the firm for the repayment of partner overdrawings. Hammonds claims Rees owes the firm £142,953 plus interest.

Rees joined Hammonds in 2003 after three years as a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, which he joined from the in-house team at banking giant Citi. Before that he spent seven years as joint head of intellectual property (IP)/IT at the Cardiff branch of Geldards.

Hugh James has eschewed the City in favour of Canary Wharf, and will open there next month. The London team’s initial focus will be on technology, outsourcing and procurement.

Pillsbury has struggled to assert itself in London after a series of partner departures, including former London chiefs Alistair Maughan and Andrew Moyle, now at Morrison & Foerster and Latham & Watkins respectively.

The US firm has recruited Osborne Clarke partner Simon Fielder and assistant Caroline Grange, who specialise in flotations on AIM and the main market, particularly advising North American issuers, who joined the firm in July last year (The Lawyer, 31 July 2006).

A Pillsbury spokesperson was unavailable for comment.