Richards Butler raids Stephenson Harwood for shipping team

Richards Butler has raided Stephenson Harwood, taking shipping litigation partner Mark O’Neil, marine manager Ron Clark as well as a team of assistants.

Previously a captain in the British army, Mark O’Neil qualified as a lawyer in 1994 and became a partner at Stephenson Harwood in 2002. Ron Clark is an admiralty lawyer and a former master mariner.

Stephenson Harwood has been left with eight shipping litigation partners in London and 20 fee-earners.

Richards Butler shipping group head Nick Shaw said the appointments were in line with the firm’s plans to develop its wet and dry shipping practice.

The hires came after Richards Butler and Reed Smith agreed to merge.

O’Neil said Richards Butler was committed to shipping as a practice area and the proposed merger would “strengthen its shipping and commodity work.”

Richards Butler recently lost shipping insurance partner Chris Zavos to Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.