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Top job at US law firm for Goldsmith

  Legal Careers News  -   POSTED: 2007/09/27 09:51

The former Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, QC, is joining a top American law firm today to lead its European litigation practice.

Lord Goldsmith, who retired from Government in June after six years – just before be was expected to be sacked – has landed a job with Debevoise & Plimpton.

He will take on a wide range of work involving litigation, investigations, arbitration and public interna-tonal law. Within months he will qualify as a solicitor, while remaining a barrister, and become a partner within the firm. Last year its partners each made annual earnings of $1.8 million (£890,000).

The move is a big coup for the firm, which in the past four years has ranked top of the American/inter-national law firms that have bases in London. Lord Goldsmith said: “I am delighted to be joining one of the world’s leading international law firms and to be heading up Debevoise’s high-quality global litigation practice from Europe.” He said that he had received several “very tempting offers”.

It is known that top commercial chambers, as well as a number of leading British law firms, tried to lure him to join. Top of those disappointed with his choice is likely to be his old chambers at Fountain Court.

Lord Goldsmith, who will be based in London, said that the global work of Debevoise, coupled with its public service work, had enticed him to the post. His post of European chair of litigation will involve him in all aspects of global litigation, including advocacy in British courts.

Lord Goldsmith resigned in June after six years as Attorney-General, where he had a mixed record. Widely praised for his work in boosting the Crown Prosecution Service, his reputation diminished over the legal advice that he gave on the war in Iraq; and subsequently over the dropping by the Serious Fraud Office of the investigation into BAE Systems.

His refusal to stand aside from any decision – ultimately made after he had left the post – over the “cash-for-honours” investigation prompted the current inquiry into whether the post of Attorney-General should be reformed or broken up.

Lord Goldsmith, 56, said that he had to obtain official clearance for taking up the post from the committtee on business appointments, chaired by Lord Mayhew of Twisden, and that he was told that it was “entirely proper” once three months had elapsed. He declined to comment on his earnings but added that they would not “be as much as they would have been at the Bar”.

Debevoise & Plimpton was named “America’s best law firm” in the yearly rankings for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, compiled by the magazine American Lawyer.


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