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Osborne Clarke has recruited two competition lawyers in response to an increased demand for regulatory advice among its TMT clients.Neil Baylis joins the firm’s London office as partner from Ashurst Morris Crisp where he specialised in regulatory advice to the media sector.Baylis, an assistant at Ashursts, has worked on a number of mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures to the European commission, the most recent being the joint venture between Smith & Nephew and Beiersdorf, which completed in January.Fellow competition specialist Nabarro Nathanson associate Stephanie Rickard is also joining the firm at its Bristol base. She has particular experience advising businesses in the manufacturing, chemical and rail sectors.The hires have boosted the firm’s competition group to three partners and four other lawyers.Osborne Clarke competition head Claire Wagner says the hires are a direct response to the impact of the Competition Act 1998 which came into force last March.She said: “The amount of ‘pure’ competition work we’re handling has increased substantially, particularly in the TMT sector.”“Increasingly we are advising our clients’ on activities in emerging markets created by new technologies.”UK competition lawyers – operating against a backdrop of increased European merger activity and tighter EU regulation – are now perceived as increasingly valuable commodities.The move also underlines Osborne Clarke’s new-found commitment to building a broad service commercial practice in its City office, with the firm this month formally merging with London property firm McGuiness Finch.

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