Stewarts builds partnership with hires from Paul Hastings and Mishcon de Reya

Veteran litigator adds commercial disputes heft; new insurance policyholder team welcomes new partner
The Lloyd's building is Lloyd's of London headquarters. Located on the former site of East India House in Lime Street, in London's main financial district at night

The Lloyd's building in the City of London Victor Moussa; Shutterstock

Stewarts has boosted its commercial disputes and insurance policyholder teams with the hire of Paul Hastings’ former London head of complex litigation, Alex Leitch, and Mishcon de Reya managing associate Chloe Derrick. 

Leitch’s arrival will add a seasoned partner to its commercial litigation department ahead of the retirement next year of former department head Clive Zietman while Derrick, who is joining the firm as a partner, boosts the recently established insurance policyholder team.

Leitch is a veteran City disputes lawyer, having spent 20 years at SJ Berwin, including the first two years of its ill-fated tie up with King & Wood Mallesons, before stints at Covington & Burling, where he co-chaired its London disputes group, and Paul Hastings, which he joined two years ago.

The former barrister was one of the first solicitors to qualify as a solicitor-advocate and regularly undertakes advocacy before the High Court and other tribunals.

He has significant experience leading teams acting on regulatory disputes and ‘bet the company’ litigation in sectors including financial services, technology and life sciences. He also has experience advising on data privacy and policyholder disputes.  

His arrival at Stewarts coincides with a leadership change at the firm’s commercial litigation department, its largest team with 75 lawyers, which saw Lucy Ward and Mo Bhaskaran take over from the long-serving Clive Zietman in May ahead of his retirement next year.

Ward said: “We’re delighted to welcome Alex to Stewarts. His extensive experience acting in high-value complex disputes complements our existing practice and is aligned to the approach and direction of the commercial litigation team.”

Bhaskaran added: “Alex is a great addition to the practice, and his wealth of experience and market reputation will be invaluable to the continued success and growth of the group.”

Derrick, meanwhile, will work alongside Aaron Le Marquer, who joined Stewarts last year from boutique Fenchurch Law to set up the insurance policyholder department, which was recently successful in the ExCel ‘at the premises’ litigation

She previously acted for insurers in disputes as an associate in RPC’s professional negligence team, focusing on offshore entities, joining Mishcon de Reya’s insurance disputes team, led by Sonia Campbell, in March 2021, where she acted exclusively for individuals and corporate policyholders. 

She has more than 10 years of experience advising on insurance issues, including disputes arising from business interruption, property, directors and officers (D&O), warranty and indemnity (W&I), political risk, pharmaceutical, cyber and professional risks policy lines, including multi-jurisdictional disputes.

Le Marquer said: “Chloe is a stellar coverage lawyer and a valuable addition. Her broad experience advising on all forms of commercial coverage disputes and her deep expertise in professional indemnity claims provide additional strength in depth to our rapidly growing policyholder offering.”

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