Allen & Overy’s co-head of its global business and human rights practice, Suzanne Spears, has left the firm.
Spears joined A&O as a partner in October 2018 from London-based boutique firm Volterra Fietta, where she was head of its business and human rights practice. Prior to joining the firm in 2015 as a partner, she was previously a counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
A partner in the firm’s international arbitration group, Spears has particular experience with disputes involving Latin America and Africa, the energy and natural resource industries, human rights and the environment.
The practice she headed is made up of 16 lawyers, including 11 partners, three senior associates, one associate, and one counsel, according to the firm’s website. The other co-head of the group is Andrew Denny.
Highly rated in business and human rights law, Spears has held positions with international human rights and foreign relations organisations, including the United Nations, the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights and the Council on Foreign Relations.
One person familiar with the matter said she was planning to launch her own boutique but did not give more details. Spears was not available for comment.
Several litigation and arbitration partners have left large law firms to launch boutiques so far this year. In January, two senior Dentons partners left to form their own arbitration boutique in Paris. In February, a Hogan Lovells Paris litigation partner led a six-person team exit to set up his own outfit.
An A&O spokesperson commented: “Suzanne Spears has left Allen & Overy. We’d like to thank her for her contribution and wish her well for the future.”
A&O bolstered its London arbitration group earlier this year by hiring longtime Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner David Herlihy, who exited the U.S. firm after over 19 years according to his LinkedIn.
Last month, RPC and recently-launched Pallas Partners strengthened their international arbitration practices with hires.