13 Jul 2020

Clyde & Co secures trio of partner hires including former Pinsent Masons head of cyber

IP and construction also targeted as two partners join in London and one in Dubai since start of July

Ian Birdsey and Beau McLaren

Ian Birdsey(left) and Beau McLaren: joining in London and Dubai respectively

Three new partners — Ian Birdsey, Chris Williams and Beau McLaren — have joined Clyde & Co since the start of the month, two of them in London and one in Dubai.

Birdsey, formerly global head of cyber at Pinsent Masons, has joined the London office together with senior associate Seaton Gordon; while Williams, an intellectual property (IP) specialist, has joined from Blake Morgan. McLaren, a construction disputes specialist, has joined the firm in Dubai from HFW.

Of the three hires, Birdsey’s looks the most strategic, reinforcing a core practice area, insurance, which took six of the firm’s promotions in its 13-partner April 2020 round, in a growth area for that sector. 

Birdsey spent eight years at Pinsents, during which interest in cyber-related insurance has increased considerably. He brings insurer experience with him; having previously worked for Hiscox for six years, where he developed cyber products.

Birdsey’s strengths are his adaptability – he has advised policyholders, brokers, and insurers, and businesses big and small – and versatility; he brings wider experience in data protection, dealing with regulatory as well as litigious fallout from cyber breaches. 

Clydes senior partner Peter Hirst said: "Cyber is one of the most dynamic areas of the law thanks to regulatory, technological and social developments around data security, privacy and corporate risk.“

“The cyber threat organisations face and the impact it can have is rapidly evolving and intensifying and is a significant board level issue.” 

Both boards, and general counsel, are increasingly keen to manage risk; Clydes recently released a report, jointly written with Winmark, which highlighted technology risk as a joint priority. 

The firm has advised on move than 2,000 cyber incidents, leading Birdsey to say: “The cyber market is extremely dynamic but also at a critical point in its development with the number of incidents, costs and liability risk increasing exponentially”. 

Williams’ arrival adds to the firm’s IP advisory and transactional strength, as it seeks to build out that department, broadening IP corporate support. With patent litigator, Ralph Cox having joined in 2016, from Fasken Martineau, Williams’ arrival balances its traditionally strong litigation function.

Cox said: “Chris rapidly established himself as an IP lawyer of note with a loyal client following at his previous firm,” adding that, thanks to the pandemic, “protecting their IP remains important to them.” 

Williams’ ‘soft’ IP skills would give Clyde’s “a more rounded offering for servicing our clients' needs and forms an important step in the growth of our IP team," he noted.

McLaren has spent nearly fifteen years in Dubai and joined HFW as a partner three years ago, where he helped build the firm’s constructions disputes presence. 

With experience up and down the supply chain, and a strong disputes provenance across the wider UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, McLaren’s construction-related arbitration practice is high-value, with growing pandemic-related risks across transport, infrastructure, power and healthcare projects.

His arrival is tactical, given the UAE’s appetite for investing in large-scale development projects and infrastructure, and covers the exit of Mat Heywood to set up Mantle Law last month

Michael Grose, regional head of construction, said: "Beau's strong regional experience and his seniority in the market will be a key addition to the firm.”

Last September, Clydes celebrated 30 years in the Middle East.