Global law firm Crowell & Moring has boosted its European-based international trade footprint after hiring a three-person team from DWF.

Vassilis Akritidis has been named as a partner, with Lorenzo Di Masi joining him as a senior associate in the Brussels office.

GTR understands that a third member of the team is joining as a trade associate as well, with all three additions starting October 1.

According to a statement issued by the firm, Akritidis and his team offer a broad trade practice, including experience in World Trade Organization (WTO) law and proceedings, customs, and unfair trade litigation.

Akritidis had been a managing partner and head of the WTO & international trade practice at DWF for nearly three years, prior to which he served as a partner specialising in EU and WTO law at two different firms –  McGuireWoods and Squire Sanders (now Squire Patton Boggs).

He has nearly three decades of experience in EU and WTO matters, and has mainly advised clients on trade defence investigations; customs matters; trade barriers and market access issues; trade sanctions and export controls; and EU anti-fraud investigations led by OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office.

Di Masi rejoins Crowell & Moring after spending the last two years as an associate at DWF, where he had been working closely with Akritidis on EU investigations, customs, and regulatory matters.

He previously served as a senior associate at Crowell & Moring, where he focused on international trade, EU regulatory and competition law for nearly five years.

Kristof Roox, co-managing partner of the Brussels office, says the new group will expand the international trade team’s ability to serve clients throughout Europe, Russia and Asia.

He notes: “This very experienced team is also able to tackle issues such as the impact of Brexit and trade wars between China and the US, putting us in a very strong position to advise our growing global client base.”

“Given the upcoming elections in the US and Brexit in Europe, there is an increased need for trade counsel,” adds Nicole Janigian Simonian, co-chair of Crowell & Moring’s international trade group.

The appointments follow DWF’s announcement in June that it would shut its offices in Brussels and Singapore and let go 60 employees, with the firm noting in a trading statement the following month that the decision was “part of a review of underperforming business units”.