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February 23, 2011 5:42 PM

Shearman Plucks Five Howrey Antitrust Partners in Brussels

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

A five-person team of antitrust partners from Howrey's Brussels office plans to join Shearman & Sterling in a move that bolsters Shearman's European and global antitrust practice.

The group includes the firm's former global antitrust cochair, Trevor Soames, who will be joined by partners Götz Drauz, Geert Goeteyn, Stephen Mavroghenis, and Miguel Rato. The five partners will be starting at Shearman's Brussels office at different points over the next two weeks, according to the firm. A team of associates is expected to follow.

Shearman's Brussels office concentrates on antitrust and competition work, and currently lists only five attorneys--including two partners--meaning that the arrival of the former Howrey partners alone doubles the office's size.

Kenneth Prince, leader of Shearman's global antitrust group, said in a statement: "Antitrust issues are of increasing concern to corporate and financial institutions worldwide, especially with increased cooperation between E.U. and U.S. enforcement agencies. With the addition of these market-leading antitrust partners, we envision a great opportunity to provide unsurpassed transatlantic and global client service and thought leadership."

The firm's European managing partner, Creighton Condon, added that the additions make the firm "better positioned to counsel clients across the continent."

Last month The American Lawyer reported that Soames was planning on leaving Howrey and had begun fielding offers from rival firms. In an e-mail Soames sent to his contacts at that time, he said: "I'm obviously sad to be moving on as I have had an enjoyable and successful time at Howrey, and will be sorry to leave the firm--most especially its superb transatlantic antitrust group with whom I have been privileged to work for the last eight years."

Soames is an English-law qualified barrister and solicitor-advocate who focuses on antitrust and regulatory law issues related to mergers, monopolization, state aid, and cartel investigations. He joined Howrey from Norton Rose in 2002 and his clients have included Microsoft and United Airlines. Drauz served as a deputy director-general with the European Commission--where he investigated competition issues in such areas as the electricity and gas sectors--before joining Howrey in 2006.

In a joint statement, the five partners said: "Shearman & Sterling's global reach and reputation gives us a top-class and stable platform to provide our clients with continued legal counsel and support on their most important international matters and to work with our new colleagues to develop, yet further, Shearman & Sterling's excellent antitrust practice and client base."

The departures--the latest in a series of lateral partner moves out of Howrey over the past six months--further diminish the firm's European presence. In October the firm's Brussels and Amsterdam offices were hit hard when 12 IP partners and 14 associates defected to start a new IP firm called Hoyng Monegier, based in Amsterdam. The office's antitrust practice already lost a major player last August, when partner Martina Maier left for the Brussels office of McDermott Will & Emery to head that firm's European antitrust and competition group.

Howrey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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