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25 March 2020

Allen & Overy hires two Orrick partners in Washington DC and appoints new office head

Magic circle UK firm builds US enforcement capability; projects partner Jean Lee take reins

Photo of Jane Lee

Jean Lee: a 'foundational asset' of Washington team

UK magic circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O) has hired two federal enforcement partners in Washington DC and appointed a new managing partner to head up the office.

Former Department of Justice fraud specialists Billy Jacobson and Jonathan Lopez are joining the firm after six-year stints at Orrick while projects partner Jean Lee takes over as office managing partner from US regulatory practice head Barbara Stettner.

The moves mark the latest stage of the firm’s efforts to grow its US practice following the breakdown last year of its merger talks with O’Melveny & Myers.

Jacobson and Lopez have both served in the fraud section of the US Department of Justice, also both joining Orrick’s Washington DC office in 2014.

Jacobson handles a range of white-collar criminal work with a particular focus on overseas corruption cases, including World Bank and other multi-lateral development bank enforcement actions, while Lopez represents corporations and individuals in government enforcement actions, congressional inquiries and internal investigations.

Tim House, A&O’s US senior partner, said: “As federal criminal enforcement against banks and companies continues to shift from its historic New York base to the Department of Justice’s main office in Washington DC, A&O has responded by augmenting our talent at the partner level to match that momentum and better service our clients.” 

The firm said it had made significant investments in its US enforcement defence practice in recent years, pointing to the hire of former Southern District of New York prosecutor Julian Moore in 2019, one of three former prosecutors from the district at the firm.

Jacobson said: “I am so pleased to be joining Allen & Overy where the culture of collaboration across practice areas and across the globe is paramount to ensuring clients – especially those with cross border operations – get the highest quality and most efficient counsel.”

Lee, meanwhile, takes up the office leadership role having begun her career at A&O as an associate in 2012. 

Stettner, who has stepped down as office head after eight years, said: “Jean Lee has been a foundational asset in our Washington office since its early days, and the DC partners are proud to support Jean in her new role leading this team. A&O seeks to identify, build and foster partners with strong leadership qualities, like those Jean has exemplified.”

Last month A&O settled on its leadership for the next four years after partners voted in global head of projects and energy Gareth Price as global managing partner.

He will work alongside newly re-elected senior partner Wim Dejonghe, who was confirmed in the role on 25 February after beating off a challenge by banking co-head Philip Bowden.

Last week Orrick hired a four-partner energy team in London from Watson Farley & Williams during a busy period for partner arrivals – and departures – across its international network which includes the the winding down of its four-partner Hong Office.

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