The potentially career-limiting consequences of Brexit for ambitious junior City lawyers are writ large in a job advertisement from a top global litigation boutique.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which claims to be the largest law firm in the world devoted solely to business litigation and arbitration, is seeking applications from experienced associates qualified at an EU bar to expand its Brussels practice.
‘We are looking for the best, most entrepreneurial and ambitious as we develop a major Brussels top-tier business,’ it says.
‘Perfect English’ is essential, the advertisement states – somewhat ironically in the light of the next rider, which is that ‘UK-only qualifieds [are] unlikely to be of interest unless [the] individual has a clear path to an EU27 qualification’.
The new business is being developed by highly experienced former Shearman & Sterling Brussels antitrust partner Trevor Soames, who joined Quinn as a partner earlier this month.
Barrister and solicitor-advocate Soames, who has been a Brussels resident for over 20 years, sets out his stall in no uncertain terms in his biography on Quinn’s website.
This reads: ‘To proclaim his commitment to the EU and continental Europe and to preserve his ability to work in Brussels post-Brexit, Trevor has applied for Belgian citizenship and has no plans to return to the UK post-Brexit. He was admitted to the Barreau de Bruxelles on 5 December 2016 as a Belgian Avocat. This will guarantee essential legal privilege and advocacy rights before the EU courts.’
Soames is also former co-chair of Howrey’s worldwide antitrust practice and founder of its Brussels office.
The Law Society is among the bodies calling for continued access for UK lawyers to practise law and base themselves in EU member states to be included in the Brexit negotiations. Chief executive Catherine Dixon said this will be one of her priorities after being appointed to London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Brexit advisory group.