Shearman, Freshfields Lawyers Said to Start Arbitration Firm

A group of six lawyers from Shearman & Sterling LLP, Covington & Burling LLP, Jones Day LP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP plan to open a global arbitration firm, a person familiar with the matter said.

The lawyers from Washington, London and Paris will start an independent firm later this year, the first to be solely focused on global arbitration, said the person, who requested anonymity because of continuing exit negotiations with the law firms.

Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution where hearings are typically held behind closed doors to avoid the high cost and potential negative publicity of litigation.

Two lawyers have resigned from Freshfield’s London and Paris arbitration teams, the person said. Constantine Partasides is leaving from the London group while Georgios Petrochilos has resigned from the Paris office, the person said.

A third lawyer, Jan Paulsson, who headed the arbitration group at Freshfields for 20 years and resigned from the firm last year, will also join the new firm, the person said.

Lucy Reed, head of Freshfields’ international arbitration group, confirmed the departure of Partasides and Petrochilos in an e-mailed statement.

Sobota, Verhoosel

Luke Sobota, based in Jones Day’s Washington office, will join the new firm along with Gaetan Verhoosel from Covington & Burling’s international arbitration team in London, said the person.

Todd Wetmore, from Shearman & Sterling’s Paris office, will also join the new firm.

“I have enjoyed working with Todd and seeing him develop into a great arbitration specialist,” Emmanuel Gaillard, head of Shearman & Sterling’s international arbitration group, said in an e-mailed statement.

Timothy Hester, chair of Covington’s management committee, said Verhoosel was leaving the firm.

“We expect to continue to work closely with Gaetan on existing as well as new matters, and we see a bright future for this practice,” Hester said.

Officials at Jones Day didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mails requesting comment.

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