Three months after being linked to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, noted antitrust lawyer Trevor Soames finally joined the litigation powerhouse Tuesday.
Soames, who left Shearman & Sterling in October to start his own Brussels-based boutique, practices European antitrust and regulatory law from the city, the de facto capital of the continent given its role as a hub for the European Union.
Quinn Emanuel’s courtship of Soames and several other lawyers at Shearman & Sterling—all of whom joined the firm in early 2011 prior to the collapse of Howrey—began in late summer. But a client conflict prevented him from making an immediate move to Quinn Emanuel, so Soames set up his own shop first.
Soames said Tuesday that the conflict has been resolved, leaving him free to join Quinn Emanuel in Brussels. He declined to comment about the conflict in question, but in late October, the Global Competition Review reported that it involved his representation of Credit Suisse AG in the European Commission’s investigation of the Swiss financial services giant’s alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).
“I was not going to go on any terms to any firm other than the most exceptional,” Soames said. He began working at Quinn Emanuel on Tuesday.
Since the U.K.’s surprise vote in June to leave the EU, Soames, who is British, has been pursuing citizenship in Belgium. Last week, he was admitted as a Belgian avocat to the Brussels bar, which is called the Barreau de Bruxelles.
“I want to preserve my brand, which is as a longstanding practitioner in Brussels,” Soames said. He added that as officials work out the terms of how the U.K. will leave the EU, “the British are going to become increasingly unpopular.”
Quinn Emanuel opened its Brussels office in 2014 and Soames said his goal is to help the high-powered Am Law 100 firm build a “substantial leading practice in Brussels.” Soames also said he plans to bring on more “top quality partners,” but he declined to name who he could be considering.
Soames, an avid photographer, previously served as co-chair of Howrey’s antitrust practice and managing partner of the defunct firm’s base in Brussels. He had previously been a partner at London-based Norton Rose (now known as Norton Rose Fulbright), having left that firm for Howrey in late 2001.
In September, as Shearman & Sterling prepared to adopt a plan to de-equitizing some partners, Soames and fellow Shearman & Sterling partners Miguel Rato and antitrust co-head Stephen Mavroghenis reportedly held talks with Quinn Emanuel. While Soames left the firm the following month, Mavroghenis and Rato remain listed on Shearman & Sterling’s website.
Shearman & Sterling has watched several notable partners depart in recent months. Last week private equity partner Mark Soundy and tax partner Sarah Priestley joined Goodwin Procter’s London office, while finance partner Arnaud Fromion and counsel Frederic Guilloux decamped for Goodwin Procter’s Paris office in October.
In September, Beau Buffier, an Australian serving as co-head of Shearman & Sterling’s antitrust group in New York, announced he would leave the firm to become chief of the antitrust bureau for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Quinn Emanuel’s hire of Soames—pictured right with name partner John Quinn—makes him the firm’s latest lateral addition in Europe. Quinn Emanuel, whose profits per partner of $4.42 million in 2015 trailed only Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in the Am Law 100 rankings, added Addleshaw Goddard head of civil fraud Mark Hastings as a partner in London last week.
In September, the firm recruited Macfarlanes financial services head David Berman as a partner in London, a month after Quinn Emanuel brought on Covington & Burling for Robert Amaee to launch a white-collar and corporate investigations practice in the same city.