Seddon joins Ropes & Gray’s London office as the latter sees finance partner Matthew Cox depart for Baker & McKenzie, where he will join the global legal giant’s London office.
Ropes & Gray’s recruitment of Seddon, who joined Clifford Chance in 2008 as director of the Magic Circle firm’s business crime and regulatory enforcement group (she was promoted to partner in 2014), gives the firm a financial services specialist who advises clients on U.K. and cross-border regulatory and criminal investigations and prosecutions.
In 2016, Sedon was named as one of London-based sibling publication Legal Week’s litigation rising stars, with her key cases to date counseloing Barclays plc on an inquiry by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into alleged Libor manipulation, and representing individuals in relation to the SFO’s investigation into accounting issues at Tesco plc.
Seddon also advised Monaco-based oil services company Unaoil in 2016 on its SFO investgation into suspected offenses of bribery, corruption and money laundering.
“After working alongside Judith for years, I have witnessed her substantive expertise and ability to exceed client expectations,” said Ropes & Gray international risk co-head Amanda Raad, who like Seddon is based in London. “She is the perfect fit to help drive forward our growing global financial crime and international risk practice.”
Seddon’s hire comes after a number of partner walkouts last year from Ropes & Gray’s London office, which opened in late 2009. Ropes & Gray saw eight London-based partners depart during 2017, including funds partners Anand Damodaran, Michelle Moran and Monica Gogna to Kirkland & Ellis, K&L Gates and Dechert, respectively.
Following Seddon’s arrival and Cox’s departure, Ropes & Gray’s London base will consist of 28 partners, following the recent promotion of finance duo Anna Lawry and Alexander Robb. Legal Week reported in October that following the flurry of departures last year, Ropes & Gray made retention bonus offers to associates of up to $50,000 per person to prevent further exits.
According to former Ropes & Gray partners, roughly five associates in the London office were offered payments of about £20,000 ($27,590), while other former partners said several associates in the U.S. and Hong Kong were offered up to $50,000 to stay with the firm.
The counter-offers were made by Ropes & Gray after a number of associates whose partners had moved on to other firms were approached to follow them. In a statement issued Tuesday, Ropes & Gray thanked Cox for his contributions to the firm and wish him well at Baker McKenzie, which he is poised to join in February.
Cox was just the fifth partner to join Ropes & Gray in London in 2010, when the made the move to the Am Law 100 firm from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. During his time at Ropes & Gray, Cox advised private equity clients like Bain Capital LP and Hellman & Friedman LLC, as well as the Goldman Sachs European Special Situations Group.
Along with Cox, Baker McKenzie has also brought on Linklaters counsel Megan Schellinger as a capital markets partner in London. The firm’s local managing partner, Alex Chadwick, issued a statement touting Baker McKenzie’s new hires.
“We continue to strengthen and enhance our global transactional practices organically and through key lateral hires,” Chadwick said. “Megan and Matthew’s appointments mark the next phase of our growth strategy, as we seek to achieve greater critical mass and bench strength in our corporate, private equity, tax and banking and finance practices.”