Willkie Farr recruits Herbert Smith partner for UK bribery law push

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has hired the head of Herbert Smith’s investigations and corporate crime unit Peter Burrell, to launch a UK anti-bribery practice in the City.

Burrell, who specialises in contentious regulatory work including conducting and managing internal investigations, is set to become the second partner in Willkie’s London office alongside US corporate and securities partner Jon Lyman.

Litigator Burrell has been a partner at Herbert Smith since 2000, during which time he has acted on a number of high profile investigations, including the prosecutions of water company Severn Trent and construction company Mabey & Johnson by the Serious Fraud Office for overseas corruption.

His hire comes as growing numbers of US firms ramp up their anti-corruption practices ahead of the new UK Bribery Act, which comes into effect in July and forces UK and international companies to comply with some of the toughest anti-corruption rules in the world.

Willkie Farr compliance and enforcement head, Martin Weinstein, said: “The UK Bribery Act is expected to have a significant impact on global anti-corruption compliance by multinational companies.

“Willkie already has one of the preeminent US based anti-corruption practices. With the addition of Peter in London, we will have market-leading expertise on both sides of the Atlantic.”

News of Burrell’s departure comes after Legal Week reported yesterday that Herbert Smith litigation partner Hardeep Nahal is leaving for US outfit McGuireWoods. Burrell’s start date is still to be confirmed.