A little more than a month after adding a four-partner project finance team from Chadbourne & Parke to open new offices in Dubai and Johannesburg, Covington & Burling has completed its acquisition of a team of associates and of counsel from the firm as Chadbourne prepares to combine with Norton Rose Fulbright.
Among those to have joined Covington in recent weeks are former Chadbourne international partners Ursula Owczarkowski and Julie Scotto in London; Derek Kirton and Haykel Hajjaji in Dubai; and Lido Fontana and Deon Govender in Johannesburg. All come to Covington as of counsel.
Haykel and Scotto were promoted a year ago this month at Chadbourne to international partner, a nonequity, salaried role for lawyers at the firm. Fontana opened Chadbourne’s Johannesburg office in early 2015 after coming aboard from leading South African firm Bowman Gilfillan, which changed its name last year to Bowmans. Govender joined Chadbourne in early 2016 after serving as head of execution for global finance at South Africa’s Absa Bank Ltd., a unit of London-based banking giant Barclays plc.
Owczarkowski (pictured right), who joined Chadbourne’s London office in mid-2015 from DLA Piper, will serve as vice chair of Covington’s international project finance practice. She did not return a request for comment about the $100 million gender bias suit facing her now former firm. Agnieszka Klich, a former Chadbourne partner who joined Covington’s London office a month ago, was one of 14 female partners at the firm who signed a letter late last year criticizing gender discrimination claims put forth by former Chadbourne partner Kerrie Campbell.
Chadbourne senior associate Li Zhang has joined Covington as of counsel in London, where in addition to Owczarkowski and Scotto, the Washington, D.C.-based Am Law 100 firm has also agreed to bring on associates Nedal Jounaidi, Richard Oliver and Karolina Reiter. Another former Chadbourne associate, Eda YaÅÿar, is expected to eventually join Covington in London.
Project finance partner Ben Donovan, part of the initial Chadbourne team to decamp for Covington a month ago, will split his time between London and Johannesburg. Covington’s new outpost in South Africa’s largest city has since added Chadbourne associates Kgabo Mashalane and Sharon Wing.
In Dubai, Chadbourne’s former local managing partner Donald “Jack” Greenwald has joined Covington as senior of counsel, although Chadbourne project finance partner Richard Keenan has not yet made his move to Covington. (Keenan came to Chadbourne in 2008 from the London office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.) Besides the additions of Kirton and Hajjaji, Covington has also recruited special counsel Julie Teperow and associate Marc Norman from Chadbourne in Dubai.
All told, the project finance group leaving Chadbourne for Covington will total roughly 20 lawyers.
Covington, whose growth over the past decade has come without doing a merger, has been busy on the lateral recruitment front this year. The firm picked up a pair of former U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board judges on both coasts in March and recently snagged special counsel William Isasi in Washington, D.C., from his role as assistant chief counsel for trade enforcement and compliance at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he worked for the past decade.
As for Chadbourne, the firm recently saw intellectual property litigation counsel Gregory Carbo leave its New York office—space that the firm took over several years ago from now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf—to join Alston & Bird as counsel. Alston & Bird hired Paul Tanck, chair of Chadbourne’s IP practice, as a partner in late April.
Chadbourne expects its proposed union with Norton Rose Fulbright to go live by mid-year. Norton Rose Fulbright, for its part, has other potential deals on the horizon. The global firm is reportedly in talks to combine with Australia’s Henry Davis York.
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