22 Nov 2021

Squire Patton Boggs boosts Africa arbitration practice with partner hire in London

Africa-focused disputes specialist Timi Balogun joins Squire after six years at Curtis Mallet Prevost Colt & Mosle

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Squire Patton Boggs has bolstered its Africa practice with the hire of projects and disputes partner Timi Balogun from Curtis Mallet Prevost Colt & Mosle in London. 

Dual-qualified in Nigeria and the UK, Balogun joins the US firm after six years at Curtis, the latter three as a partner. He joined the firm as a counsel in 2015 after a six-year stint as general counsel of The Infrastructure Bank, formerly the Urban Development Bank of Nigeria, in Nigeria's capital city Abuja.

As GC, he was responsible for handling major infrastructure projects in Nigeria and overseas and supervised development loans, project finance and fund management across a number of sectors including transportation, power and renewable energy, waste management, housing, municipal services and water supply.

The move reunites Balogun with former Curtis colleague and Africa-focused arbitration expert Galileo Pozzoli, who joined Squire last year alongside a four-lawyer team to spearhead the firm’s first Italian office launch in a bid to expand its reach in Europe and Africa. Pozzoli’s hire in turn came a year after Squire nabbed Africa-focused arbitration partner and former Curits lawyer Peter Stewart from Clyde & Co in 2019. 

Upon joining Squire, Balogun will work closely with Stewart and Pozzoli to deepen Squire’s projects work with African clients, the firm said. 

Stewart, who serves as co-coordinator of Squire’s Africa practice, called Balogun a “rare commodity” in the arbitration space, adding that his in-house background, dual qualification and extensive project finance expertise “make him a natural to take on a leadership role in our Africa practice and serve as a great asset for our clients”. 

The firm's Africa practice currently boasts more than 50 lawyers, including 20 partners, working across Squire's international offices in London, Paris, Washington DC, Berlin, Dubai, Moscow, Shanghai and Perth. The practice has a major focus on arbitration, with around half of its Africa practice members focusing on dispute resolution across more than 30 countries in Sub-Saharan and North Africa. 

Balogun brings a wealth of experience acting for African governments, state entities and national oil and gas companies in high-profile disputes to his new firm. His practice also covers the development and financing of infrastructure projects, including upstream oil and gas projects, government tenders and public-private partnerships and commercial transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

His recent work has included representing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in commercial arbitration proceedings regarding disputes over oil lifting entitlements and successfully defending a Nigerian state entity in enforcement proceedings brought in respect of a Nigerian arbitration award before the Technology and Construction Court in the UK. 

Stephen Anway, global co-leader of Squire’s international dispute resolution practice, said: “Timi’s experience in complex international dispute resolution, particularly representing states and state-owned entities, makes him a significant addition to our London team and to our market-leading practice globally.”

The hire marks the latest in Squire’s ambitious growth strategy for its international arbitration practice, which has seen several additions in global arbitration centres like Paris, Singapore, New York, Milan and Brussels in recent years, including the hire of Eversheds Sutherland’s former arbitration co-head Rodman Bundy, who joined the firm’s Singapore office in March from Harry Elias Partnership alongside counsel Alvin Yap.