Greenberg Traurig signs up highly rated six-partner Mishcon fraud and business disputes team

Top 20 US firm continues rapid growth in London as partners depart UK firm ahead of its planned flotation

Greenberg Traurig has signed up a team of six disputes partners who are leaving top 30 UK firm Mishcon de Reya ahead of its its planned listing on the London Stock Exchange.

All five partners in Mishcon’s highly-rated fraud defence and business disputes group, which is led by Kathryn Garbett, are moving across to the top 20 US firm's London office along with Jo Rickards, head of Mishcon’s white collar crime and investigations group, and Matt Hancock, legal director in the firm's contentious regulatory team.

Claire Broadbelt, Annabel Thomas, Hannah Blom-Cooper and Martin Shobbrook make up the remainder of Garbett's team. News of the group's departure, along with two other disputes partners, broke last Friday, but at that stage their destination was not known. 

Greenberg Traurig’s executive chairman, Richard Rosenbaum, said the new recruits will bring the number of lawyers the firm has added in London during the Covid-19 pandemic to around 50 and its litigation practice to almost one-third of the office.

All will be shareholders at their new firm and join the 20-strong disputes team built by Masoud Zabeti and Mohammed Khamisa QC, who themselves moved over to the firm from Mishcon last year, along with of counsel Ian Bean and senior associate Katharine Bond.    

“We are thrilled to be joined by such a super group of colleagues and exceptional lawyers,” said Zabeti. “Combined with other recent hires across the firm’s European offices, their arrival delivers on the firm’s strategy of continuing to grow our London office and our litigation capabilities across Europe.”

Garbett and Broadbelt will co-chair Greenberg’s civil fraud and business disputes practice in London, having been a division head and leader of the defence and business disputes group at Mishcon respectively.

Rickards, meanwhile, will chair Greenberg’s London white collar defence and investigations practice – her arrival helping to make up for last week's departure for HFW of Barry Vitou, global co-chair of corporate crime and investigations, together with fellow partner and former Serious Fraud Office prosecutor Anne-Marie Ottaway.

The firm’s expanded litigation practice in London will be made up of some 40 fee earners, including nine shareholders. Rosenbaum said the new additions will enhance the firm’s core practices in the city, which include M&A, funds, tax, capital markets and restructuring, in what will soon be an office of almost 120 lawyers.

He added: “Ever since we began our London office in 2009 with a very small group, we have been creating a team here that would be vital to our overall European strategic growth for many years to come. We said we'd build a balanced platform that would ultimately be in sync with the rest of our law firm and its client base, in terms of excellence, cultural fit and practice mix,” he said.

The group joins Karel Daele, Mishcon’s head of international arbitration, in quitting the firm before its flotation, GLP having revealed last month that Daele is moving across to Taylor Wessing.

The destination of the two other partners identified on Friday as leaving Mischon – competition partner Rob Murray and private client partner Madalina Dumitrescu – remains unknown.

James Lisbon, Mishcons’ managing partner, said last week: “We are sad that these partners, who have given so much to the firm, have decided to leave. We are extremely grateful for the contribution they have made, the constructive way that they have come to their decision and the manner in which they are leaving.” 

The plans for Mishcon’s IPO gained traction in April when the City firm brought in JP Morgan to advise on the possible listing, which at the time it said could take place ‘as early as the fourth quarter of 2021. Last month, at least three quarters of the partners gave the green light to the flotation, which has been valued at £750m. The figure would make it easily the most valuable listed UK law firm. 

Although still a rare move, IPOs are gaining traction among UK law firms. Sheffield-based full service firm Irwin Mitchell is also believed to be gearing up for a stock market float at a hoped-for valuation of £500m.


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