Marshall Fishman
Marshall Fishman ()

Marking another prominent U.S. exit from a Magic Circle firm, Marshall Fishman, a leader of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s securities and commercial litigation practice in the U.S., has joined Goodwin Procter.

Fishman, a well-regarded litigator for banks who had been at Freshfields for nearly seven years, joined Goodwin Procter on Tuesday as head of its New York commercial and financial litigation practice.

Like other U.K. firms, Freshfields’ gains in New York have been offset by losses. It hired Aly El Hamamsy, a corporate partner from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, in November. However, New York corporate partner Doug Bacon left the firm in October for Kirkland & Ellis in Houston, while litigation partner Michael Lacovara left for Latham & Watkins in June.

The head count fluctuations reflect the continuing growth challenges of U.K. firms amid heavy competition from their U.S. counterparts.

Fishman, 61, called Freshfields a “first-class global law firm with first-rate lawyers” and said he left on good terms. He joined Freshfields in March 2010 from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel.

Fishman said he moved to Goodwin Procter for the opportunity to expand and lead its commercial and financial services litigation practice in New York.

“It’s a new position to the firm and that certainly was a big attraction,” Fishman said, noting Goodwin Procter’s New York commercial and financial litigation practice has about 10 partners and 25 to 30 associates.

He also said he was drawn to the firm’s 300 litigators in the United States. “It’s helpful to have that” base, he said.

It was only 22 months ago that Goodwin Procter laid off 21 lawyers and 17 staff in its litigation department, citing a decline in demand for litigation services. Other firms around the same time laid off litigators or cut back on hiring and promoting in litigation, as financial crisis disputes wound down.

Fishman said he also had a number of credit crisis lawsuits close in the last couple of years, including one in which he represented JPMorgan in suits brought by investors throughout the country arising out of the collapse of the two Bear Stearns hedge funds.

However, he said, “there definitely seems to be a new wave of additional litigation. It’s not as fulsome as everything that came out of the credit crisis, but there’s still litigation to be had.”

In particular, he cited class actions across the county tied to initial public offerings. Fishman himself is defending banks in class action benchmarking litigation in the Southern District of New York.

His clients include Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Canada in benchmarking and securities and commercial litigation, according to public records.

A spokeswoman for Freshfields, in response to a message seeking comment on its New York strategy and Fishman’s departure, said the firm “has made great strides in the U.S. market, and the U.S. remains a key area of focus and growth for the firm,” noting especially the hire of El Hamamsy in New York.

“We are thankful for Marshall Fishman’s contributions to the firm and wish him well in his future endeavors,” the spokeswoman said.

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