Latham & Watkins hires WilmerHale’s former international arbitration head in New York

John Pierce will co-chair Latham’s international arbitration practice alongside Fernando Mantilla-Serrano

John Pierce Image courtesy of Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins has hired cross-border disputes specialist John Pierce from WilmerHale to co-chair its international arbitration practice.

Pierce joins in New York as a partner and member of the firm’s litigation and trial department. His practice focuses on representing global clients on a range of high-stakes international arbitration in common and civil law jurisdictions. His experience spans joint venture and shareholder disputes, post-M&A issues, as well as matters related to IP, financial services, energy and chemical supply contracts.

Paris-based Fernando Mantilla-Serrano, Pierce’s fellow global co-chair, said: “With more than 20 years of experience handling complex, international disputes through arbitration and litigation, John has earned a sterling reputation as a global thought leader in the field, and is widely recognised as a first-rate advocate, arbitrator and mentor.”

Mantilla-Serrano previously served as co-chair alongside New York-based Claudia Salomon, who left Latham at the end of 2020 to practise as an independent arbitrator and last summer was elected as the next president of the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration.  

Pierce spent more than two decades at WilmerHale, most recently serving at its head of international arbitration. Prior to joining WilmerHale at the start of this century, he served as law clerk to Judge Margaret McKeown in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and was an associate in Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s litigation department before that.

Sophie Lamb QC, a partner in the firm’s international arbitration practice, said: “Internationally renowned as a creative, thoughtful and strategic advisor capable of successfully resolving some of the world’s thorniest cross-border disputes, John also brings a team-focused perspective that complements our collegial and collaborative approach.”

Pierce is the second international arbitration practice recruit from WilmerHale in the past 18 months, following the arrival of Santiago Bejarano in New York in February last year. Bejarano is dual-qualified in New York and Colombia, adding specialist Latin America arbitration experience to Latham’s disputes bench.

Marc Jaffe, managing partner of Latham’s New York office, said: “The continued development of our international arbitration practice is a strategic priority for the firm. As an important global hub for international arbitration, New York plays a critical role in Latham’s near and long-term vision.”

Latham's international arbitration team was ranked among the top 15 in the world earlier this year by Global Arbitration Review (GAR) in its annual GAR 30 report. At the end of last year nine of the practice's lawyers also earned a place in the Who's Who Legal arbitration report, among them Mantilla-Serrano, Lamb and Bejarano. 

Another member of the team to earn a place in the report was highly-rated Hong Kong partner Ing Loong Yang, who left the firm in April for Akin Gump

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