White Collar Heavyweight leaves US company for Rival

Dechert has added a top white collar partner to its London office.

Judith Seddon, who joins US law firm Ropes & Gray, has advised financial institutions, businesses and individuals on matters including fraud, money laundering and corruption.

Long considered a pre-eminent white collar lawyer in the UK, she also holds the title of being the only female barrister ranked in group one in Rooms United Kingdom both for financial crime: businesses and financial crime: individuals.

Seddon is leaving Ropes after four years, having joined as a partner in 2018. She was previously at Clifford Chance for ten years, becoming a partner in 2014, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Dechert’s white-collar, compliance and investigations practice has more than 100 attorneys, and Seddon becomes the fifth full-back to join London since the start of last year. That number includes two Kirkland & Ellis partners, Mark Thompson and Sam Whittaker, who joined within weeks of each other in May and June last year.

The firm’s former chief of staff and rainmaker, Neil Gerrard, retired from the firm in 2020 following a series of scandals, since replaced as head by two US-based partners.

Seddon’s hiring is the latest in a series of lateral moves between American businesses in London, amid an unusually busy hiring market more broadly.

Earlier this month, Dechert lost life scientist Robert Darwin at Sidley Austin, while Morgan, Lewis & Bockius added structured transactions partner Merryn Craske of Mayer Brown in February.

In a statement, Seddon said: “Dechert is a powerhouse of disputes on both sides of the Atlantic, and I welcome the opportunity to build on this foundation and further strengthen Dechert’s special place in the market. “

A Ropes & Gray spokesperson said: “We thank Judith for her contribution to the business and wish her all the best.”

Elizabeth J. Harless