Allen & Overy hires Norton Rose Fulbright’s EMEA disputes head

UK giant bolsters banking litigation team after recent loss of senior litigator to White & Case
Headshot of Michael Godden

Michael Godden

Allen & Overy (A&O) has bolstered its financial services litigation team with the hire of Norton Rose Fulbright’s (NRF’s) EMEA head of disputes, Michael Godden.

Godden is re-joining the Magic Circle firm in London, having spent eight years at A&O as an associate before joining NRF in May 2007 to further his career. His deputy at NRF, Patrick Bourke, has been chosen to replace him as EMEA disputes head. 

Godden brings with him extensive experience in litigating both for and against banks, having headed NRF’s banking litigation team before being selected to replace Peter Scott as EMEA head of disputes on Scott’s elevation to the EMEA managing partner role in March 2020. 

Godden’s expertise covers derivatives, debt capital markets, commodities and trade finance, Islamic finance disputes, syndicated lending and internal investigations involving these products. 

His hire follows the July exit of A&O’s experienced financial services litigator, Lawson Caisley, after nine years. Caisley, who also held A&O’s cybersecurity brief, left to join White & Case in London, while veteran banking litigator Marc Florent left A&O in 2019 to join Baker McKenzie after almost two decades with the firm.   

London head of litigation Arnondo Chakrabarti said: “Michael’s hire demonstrates our continued commitment to protecting the business of our most strategic finance clients.”

Global head of litigation Karen Seward, shortly to relocate to the United States to support A&O’s offices there, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Michael back to A&O. He is a great litigator, with a proven track record in building a market leading practice. His entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative approach fits perfectly with the London team and our practice globally.”

Seward highlighted recent litigation hires, such as those of Melody Wang in Shanghai and Susanna Charlwood in London, as part of planned strategic investment, the firm having made ten lateral hires across the US, EMEA, and Asia, as well as six disputes’ promotions in the firm’s 2021 promotions round. 

She added: “With the additional finance litigation expertise Michael brings to the team, we are primed to continue supporting our finance clients on their highest profile and most strategically important disputes.”

Godden commented: “I have extremely fond memories from my time at the firm and look forward to playing a key role in building upon the excellent reputation of its finance litigation practice and advising premier financial institutions on high-stakes disputes.” 

NRF’s response was swift; while wishing Godden well, Scott moved to bring in Patrick Bourke, Godden’s deputy for the last three years, as its EMEA head of disputes.  

Bourke brings with him 30 years’ experience of the firm, having joined in 1992, making partner in 2004. He is no stranger to leadership; he has acted as London head of corporate disputes and investigations, head of Middle East and head of disputes in Hong Kong, being dual-qualified there. 

That experience – and broad knowledge of disputes spanning contracts, corporate, insolvency and fraud, as well as arbitrations – will bolster the firm’s practice leadership while allowing Bourke to develop his successor in time. 

Scott said: “Patrick is a first-rate litigator who brings with him a wealth of management and disputes experience from across the EMEA region. I look forward to working with him in his new role as well as on our management committee.” 

NRF recently announced a 54-strong 2022 partner promotions round that included 18 promotions in disputes, five of whom are based in EMEA, mostly in London. 

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