DLA Piper taps Bates Wells partner to lead UK contentious public law team in London

Emma Dowden-Teale joins after six years at rival firm

Emma Dowden-Teale Image courtesy of DLA Piper

DLA Piper has hired a partner from Bates Wells to lead its UK contentious public law team in London. 

Emma Dowden-Teale joins the firm’s wider litigation and regulatory practice after six years at Bates Wells, including five as a partner, according to her LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, she was an associate in the regulatory and public law team at DAC Beachcroft.

As head of DLA Piper’s UK-based contentious public law team Dowden-Teale will be in charge of developing the group’s relationship with private sector clients, which the firm said operate across highly regulated sectors both in the UK and abroad. 

She is also expected head the team's efforts to to build on its appointment to the UK Government Legal Service panels last December. DLA Piper was one of 19 firms to successfully bid for the contract, which is reportedly worth £430m over four years. The contract was divided into two lots – general legal advice and services and financial and complex legal services – with DLA Piper successful in its bid for a place in both. 

Other firms to win a place included DWF and Pinsent Masons, while Magic Circle trio Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer were dropped from the prestigious roster. 

Dowden-Teale’s practice focuses on the intersection between the public and private sector. On the public side, she covers the drafting and implementation of legal frameworks, policies and decisions and defending public bodies in judicial review, among other matters. In the private sector, she advises clients on compliance and assists in challenging public sector decisions when appropriate to do so, the firm said. 

Neil Bowker, head of DLA Piper’s litigation and regulatory practice in the UK, said: “Emma was already highly respected by our contentious public law team and I look forward to the team making excellent progress under her leadership in this strategically important area of law for our clients.”

Dowden-Teale joins DLA Piper just days after the firm recruited a team of more than 25 deals lawyers in Chicago from smaller rival Honigman to boost its middle market private equity offering, an area in which it is one of the most active law firms. 

Last November the firm also strengthened its public law offering in Paris with the hire of Ruxandra Lazar as a partner from King & Spalding, with Lazar bringing more than 15 years of experience advising on high-profile litigation proceedings before administrative courts and the Constitutional Council.

And in July it emerged that the Paris-based head of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s public international law team, Ben Juratowitch QC, was to join Essex Courts Chambers in London. The move underscored the set’s attraction to City solicitors seeking to maximise their advocacy careers without conflict, as well as develop their arbitrator-only work. 

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