McDermott boosts Washington DC practice with arrival of seven-strong trade disputes team

Firm seeks to enhance its offering amid US government's 'fast and furious' trade policy

New McDermott partners Joanne Osendarp and Eric Parnes

McDermott Will & Emery has hired a seven-strong team of trade disputes experts from Hughes Hubbard & Reed to bolster its Washington DC trade practice.

The team is led by partners Joanne Osendarp and Eric Parnes, and bring with them extensive international trade law expertise. Dean Pinkert, formerly a commissioner at the US International Trade Commission, joins as senior counsel. Tim Hruby, Lynn Kamarck and Alan Kashdan arrive as counsel, along with associate Conor Gilligan.

Both Osendarp and Parnes leave leadership positions at Hughes Hubbard. Osendarp chaired her former firm’s international trade practice group and will co-chair the equivalent group with current chair Carolyn Gleason. Parnes, meanwhile, served as chair of Hughes Hubbard’s defence industry practice group and was co-chair of the technology committee. He is a veteran of his former firm with nearly twenty years’ trade experience, having risen through the ranks.

McDermott chairman, Ira Coleman, said: “The team is dynamite—and the insights they are bringing to our clients have never been more critical, particularly as government policy changes are increasingly fast and furious,” a reference to the growing amount of trade work brought by current US trade policy, notably the 2019 renegotiation of NAFTA and the ongoing trade disputes with China. 

His words were echoed by Gleason, who commented that “the team is one of the strongest in the world when it comes to trade remedies, trade policy, international dispute resolution and trade negotiations” and would help clients to “navigate the increasingly complex trade landscape.”

Osendarp brings with her an impressive resume, having acted for the Canadian government in its ongoing softwood dispute with the United States. She has also acted for businesses, industry associations, and export credit agencies, among others.

She has combined in-house experience with the Canadian Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and of Justice, with nearly ten years in private practice at Hughes Hubbard and 12 years at Weil Gotshal & Manges. 

Her experience in World Trade Organisation (WTO) disputes will be prized, as it comes amid proposals for the reform of that system by WTO members—including the US.

She said the move was inspired by client demand noting: “As companies and countries grapple with trade uncertainty around the world, now, more than ever, is the time to provide strategic counsel,” adding that McDermott provided “the perfect platform” to do so in challenging times.

In a separate move, Brian Malkin, a regulatory partner with extensive life sciences experience, including in US Food and Drug Administration matters (FDA), is also joining the firm in DC.

Malkin, who arrives from Arent Fox, has combined intellectual property and FDA approvals expertise in drug development, which Eric Zimmerman, head of McDermott’s healthcare practice, said “further strengthens our ability to assist innovators through all stages of approval.”

Despite becoming the first international firm to withdraw completely from China in 2020, McDermott has continued to invest laterally in the US. According to the firm’s website, 44 new partners and counsel have joined the firm this year, while the firm’s new Atlanta office opened in May.

Lauren Woodhead contributed to the reporting of this story. 

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