City of London

Willkie Farr & Gallagher adds partner to its London office

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has added a partner to its London office with the hire of Slaughter and May associate Simon Osborn-King, as the US outfit continues to build out its corporate crime and investigations practice in the City.

Osborn-King, who has spent more than 10 years at Slaughters after joining as a trainee in 2007, has worked on a number of high-profile investigations during his time at the magic circle firm. These include Deutsche Bank’s interbank rate-rigging probe, which settled in 2015, as well as an unsuccessful attempt by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to prosecute Japanese camera maker Olympus, which was dropped the same year.

Willkie London litigation, compliance and enforcement and white-collar defence practice head Peter Burrell told Legal Week: “Investigations and compliance are one of the core practices of the firm globally. We have been expanding our London and Europe teams, and in the City we’ve seen real growth in the amount of work we’re doing.

“We’re acting for corporates, financial institutions and individuals across the space, in areas including contentious regulatory work and SFO investigations.”

Burrell joined Willkie in 2012 from legacy Herbert Smith to launch the London practice for the US firm, and since then it has grown from one partner and an associate in the City, to three partners, 10 associates and two paralegals.

The team is currently advising Barclays on fraud charges brought by the SFO last year relating to the bank’s capital raising arrangements with Qatari investors during the 2008 financial crisis.

Burrell added: “We’re in a unique position in London because we have a mixture of US- and UK-qualified lawyers and we’re seeing more demand from our English clients for assistance. Simon has a fantastic pedigree and background across financial services and regulatory work, including contentious matters for the SFO and civil litigation. He is the perfect fit as we continue growing our European offering.”

While at Herbert Smith, Burrell secured a formal corporate plea bargain for client Mabey and Johnson, the first UK company to be convicted for overseas bribery and corruption and violations of sanctions laws. His other clients have included Virgin, Severn Trent, Weir Group and Willis Limited.

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