02:37, August 02 155 0

2017-08-02 02:37:08
Linklaters taps FCA for new London hire

Linklaters is set to hire managing director at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Clare McMullen as counsel, The Lawyer has learned.

McMullen joined the FCA as an associate in 2008, before being made up as a legal technical specialist in 2010. She has been in her outgoing role as manager since 2013.

Prior to her career at the financial watchdog, McMullen was a barrister at Atkinson Bevan Chambers for six years, a criminal set that specialises in serious fraud, corruption, organised crime and drug trafficking.

The news of the hire appears to follow a pattern of law firms recruiting in-house lawyers from the FCA and the Serious Fraud Office to bolster their white-collar offerings.

Most recently in April this year, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer recruited the SFO’s joint-head of bribery and corruption Ben Morgan. Morgan joined the magic circle firm as a partner in its corporate crime and global investigations practice. He joined the SFO in 2013 after working at Norton Rose Fulbright.

Highlights during Morgan’s career include his involvement in the SFO’s first deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in 2015.

Prior to that, Hogan Lovells took on Claire Lipworth from the FCA in January as a financial services partner after a three-year career as the FCA’s chief criminal counsel.

She was promoted to the top role in 2014 following five years as a senior lawyer in the regulator’s enforcement and financial crime division. The move saw Lipworth return to private practice for the first time since 2009. She was a partner at Peters & Peters before departing for the FCA.

The corporate crime hiring spree has taken off in the past five years, with full-service commercial firms increasingly turning to lawyers with a criminal background to advise their corporate clients on issues of criminal liability.

Prosecutions for white-collar crimes reached a peak of 11,261 prosecutions in 2011, three years after the global financial crisis. The numbers dropped slightly after that but have been climbing again recently, and the number of ongoing investigations into suspected criminal activity is higher than ever.

There were 9,401 business crime prosecutions during 2016, up from 9,343 in the previous year. The increase includes a number of high-profile cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). In the past week, the body has announced investigations into British American Tobacco and Rio Tinto, for which Slaughter and May and Kirkland & Ellis will advise respectively. Its most high-profile cases involve Barclay’s former top executives and three former senior directors at Tesco, Carl Rogberg, Christopher Bush and John Scouler.

The investigations are taking part against a backdrop of an increasingly regulatory environment, spurred on by the introduction of the Bribery Act in 2010 and more recently the Criminal Finances Bill in April this year.

Linklaters declined to comment.