Suzanne Spears, a former Allen & Overy partner, has launched Paxus LLP, a boutique business and human rights focused law firm based in London.
Former A&O partner launches global business and human rights-focused law firm in London
Today, Suzanne Spears, a former Allen & Overy partner, is launching Paxus LLP, a boutique business and human rights focused law firm based in London. The firm will practice in the areas of international law, international arbitration and transnational law and offer strategy, due diligence and dispute resolution services. Its clients will include multinational corporations, investors, international financial institutions and governments.
Commenting on this area of the legal market, Suzanne Spears said: “Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) matters are more widely discussed than ever, and human rights are at the core of many ESG issues. New human rights related transparency and due diligence regulatory requirements are coming into effect across the globe. International disputes and investigations involving human rights issues are multiplying rapidly, and greenwashing about human rights issues is becoming a serious concern. Addressing the corporate and personal risks associated with these issues requires a rigorous assessment of the legal and procedural issues at play, as well as a commercially-minded and credible multidisciplinary approach to the law.”
Spears has spent twenty years practicing in these areas with leading global law firms in London and New York, most recently as a partner in the Litigation, Arbitration and Investigations Group at Allen & Overy, where she co-headed the Global Business and Human Rights Practice and co-founded the ESG Group. In her long career in international arbitration, she has specialised in representing both investors and States in disputes arising under international investment treaties; and she has also served as lead lawyer in transnational tort litigations involving ESG issues. In addition to being a lawyer, Spears is a political and social scientist by background, and has held international law and policy positions with the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Organisation of American States.
Spears, who left Allen & Overy in June, will be joined at Paxus by three other former members of Allen & Overy’s international arbitration team in London, including Sebastián Mejía, a tri-qualified Spanish-Colombian lawyer; and Olga Owczarek and Finnuala Meaden-Torbitt, both English solicitors.
The ex-A&O team at Paxus is also joined by Dr Kuzi Charamba, who specialises in sustainability-related legal matters globally and especially in Africa; Aishwarya Nair, an international arbitration and sustainable development specialist with a background in India and the Middle East; Sebastián Abad-Jara, who focuses on international law and comparative constitutional law in Latin America; and Leonardo Camacho, who focuses on public policy and constitutional law in Asia. Every member of the team combines relevant professional experience with graduate qualifications in law, international affairs or public policy from leading universities in the UK, US or Canada, including Oxbridge and Ivy League.
Paxus aims to help clients solve problems and resolve disputes that arise globally in relation to business impacts on human rights and the environment. The team will provide strategic advice to businesses operating or investing in high-risk countries, legally privileged due diligence and investigations services, and representation in disputes subject to arbitration, transnational litigation or non-judicial processes, such as operational level grievance processes or international organisation complaints procedures. Paxus will conduct its own business in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).
Commenting on the launch of the new firm, Suzanne Spears said: “Paxus will provide a conflict-free international legal advice and representation service to clients who are committed to building a sustainable future and conducting business with respect for human rights. In addition to our avowed social purpose, where we really stand out is in our combination of international relations and international law background with commercial awareness and experience.”
Spears added: “Multinational corporations, as well as their investors and directors, are increasingly coming under public and regulatory scrutiny. It is imperative that they and their in-house counsel are alive to and take action to address the potential risks, legally, commercially and reputationally, that non-compliance with international standards of conduct can have on their businesses.”
Headquartered in London, Paxus LLP plans to pursue a strategy of organic growth, appointing additional lawyers as the firm continues to expand.