RPC and Pallas Partners secure key arbitration hires in London

As RPC appoints London team head from Stephenson Harwood, Pallas builds on launch with first partner lateral

Shai Wade (left) and Nelson Goh

Two eye-catching hires this week have seen RPC and the recently launched Pallas Partners boost their ranks of arbitration partners.

RPC is celebrating the arrival of Shai Wade from London rival Stephenson Harwood while Boies Schiller Flexner’s former deputy chair, Natasha Harrison, has secured her new firm’s first lateral partner recruit: Debevoise & Plimpton counsel Nelson Goh.

Wade, who is well-liked in arbitration circles, announced his departure from Stephenson Harwood in an amicable post on LinkedIn last week, thanking his former partners for their support and friendship during ten years at the firm.

Active in all the major arbitral institutions, he will bring 25 years of practice to his new role heading RPC’s London arbitration team and it is expected he will eventually succeed practice chair Jonathan Wood. 

His sectoral experience fits the firm’s key practice areas and includes infrastructure; international sale of goods; upstream oil and gas and energy; and joint venture, partnership and shareholder disputes. He is also developing an arbitrator practice, which, like Wood's, will be run alongside his counsel work.

RPC said Wade’s hire reflected its strategy of boosting its disputes resolution capabilities in London and Asia. In 2020, it hired Singaporean disputes partners Swee Siang Boey and Yuankai Lin from Bird & Bird, but the firm suffered a setback this January when London head of civil fraud Andy McGregor was snapped up by Allen & Overy

“As the international arbitration market continues to grow at a record pace, Shai’s arrival could not have come at a better time,” said Wood.

At RPC, Wade will team up with London-based arbitration partners Tatiana Minaeva, who joined in 2019 from Jones Day, Charles Allen, and the vastly experienced Wood.

Wade is no stranger to the team; both he and Minaeva were leading lights in arranging Tel Aviv Arbitration Week, which took place in March, and were also prominent at last month’s London International Disputes Week.

Meanwhile, at Pallas Partners, which was launched amid a blaze of publicity by Harrison in February, an important landmark has been reached with the arrival of Goh, who becomes its seventh partner.

While arbitration is not Goh’s only skill – a dual-qualified London and Singaporean lawyer, he has litigation experience ranging from antitrust, climate change litigation, and public international law claims – it is a mainstay of his practice.

Work highlights in this area include acting for an Asian state-owned oil company in a joint-venture dispute concerning a high-profile energy project in Africa.
He has experience in energy, joint-venture and general commercial disputes, including those with an Asian nexus. He also maintains a strong academic profile, notably as a fellow at his alma mater, the National University of Singapore. 

Goh said he was attracted by the challenge Pallas presented as “a different kind of law firm” and highlighted its commitment to ESG and pro bono work. 

His pro bono work includes assisting the Clooney Foundation for Justice, and Chab Dai UK, an anti-human trafficking NGO.

Before legal practice, Goh served his national service in the Singapore Navy and was awarded the Sword of Honour on graduation as an officer cadet before later qualifying with leading Singaporean independent Rajah & Tann. 

The move reunites him with former colleagues at Pallas, having spent two-and-a-half years at Boies Schiller's London office before joining Debevoise in 2018. 

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