Bernhardt had moved with a team to A&O in 2011 after five years at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He has over 15 years’ experience and is focused on corporate M&A and PE transactions.
Described by The Legal 500 as a practitioner with ‘deep business sense,’ Bernhardt’s client base included Deutsche Beteiligungs AG and capiton AG.
Milbank chairman Scott Edelman said: ‘His addition to the team is another strategic step in expanding our private equity and M&A capabilities in Germany and Europe. As we expect private equity to continue to be a particularly active area of M&A in the years ahead, he will play an important role in continuing to position the firm at the forefront of legal advisers to private equity houses with investment interests in Germany and all over Europe.’
The move is the second major play Milbank has made for A&O talent in recent weeks. In November, Milbank took on a three-partner team from A&O in New York, including the firm’s US senior partner Kevin O’Shea.
A&O’s growing private equity team had a solid year last year, topping Dealogic’s European PE table after advising on 31 deals across the 2015 calendar year. This was equal to 21% of the European buyout market last year, amounting to $23.95bn worth of deals including the biggest leveraged buyout deal of 2015.