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May 25, 2011 6:45 PM

Sullivan & Cromwell Makes Rare London Lateral Hire

Posted by Chris Johnson

Sullivan & Cromwell has made a rare lateral hire in London, bringing in white-collar crime expert Louise Delahunty from U.K. firm Simmons & Simmons, reports Legal Week.

Delahunty, who joined Simmons from London white-collar boutique Peters & Peters in 2006 to help establish the firm's crime, fraud, and investigations group, is due to start at Sullivan on June 20, according to a firm statement annoucing the hire.

Delahunty said in a statement that Sullivan & Cromwell's "international platform and leading financial institutions practice make this an exceptional opportunity for me."

A spokesperson for Simmons, which recently held merger talks with Mayer Brown before they were called off last June, said via e-mail: "We's like to thank her for her significant contribution to the development of the firm's crime, fraud and investigations group and wish her well for her future endeavours."

Delahunty's move is the latest in a series of lateral hires as firms continue to bolster their London white-collar crime practices in advance of the implementation of the new U.K. Bribery Act, which finally comes into force in July. She gave evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee during debates on the new legislation in 2009, and recently advised corporate and individual clients on four Serious Fraud Office (SFO) cases, including the high-profile investigation into the United Nations' oil-for-food program.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and SJ Berwin both launched dedicated investigations practices last year in preparation for the act, while a number of firms have hired SFO prosecutors--a practice that until recently had been a rarity in the U.K., barring former SFO director Robert Wardle's move to DLA Piper in 2008.

Former SFO anti-corruption prosecutor Matthew Cowie joined the London office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom last June; White & Case brought in SFO assurance head Charlie Monteith as counsel in January; Covington & Burling hired Robert Amaee, who led the SFO's Anti-Corruption and Proceeds of Crime units, also as a counsel in January; and SFO fraud business group head Kathleen Harris joined Arnold & Porter as a partner in February. Outside of the SFO, Dechert raided DLA Piper in April for its joint global head of litigation Neil Gerrard and regional head of corporate crime and investigations Jonathan Pickworth.

The act, the first change to the U.K.'s antiquated bribery laws in more than a century, has also resulted in the formation of the first barristers set specializing in bribery work. Fulcrum Chambers was set up last year by several senior counsel including David Williams QC of Essex Court Chambers and former SFO assistant director Helen Garlick of 18 Red Lion Court.

The controversial and wideranging legislation, which was rushed through Parliament just weeks before the general election in May 2010, was originally scheduled to take effect last October. However, the implementation date was pushed back on two separate occasions to allow companies time to put in place what the Ministry of Justice describes as "adequate procedures" for preventing bribery.

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