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Another Ashurst exit as restructuring partner Roberts quits for Reed Smith

Ashurst has seen yet another partner exit with Reed Smith hiring restructuring partner Diane Roberts into its London office.

With experience representing market participants in the acquisition and disposition of debt products and other financial claims in complex leveraged debt restructurings, Roberts will bring her particular focus on cross-border insolvency issues in the UK, the United States and throughout Europe to Reed Smith’s global financial industry group.

Financial industry group global chair Tamara Box said: ‘We have built significant momentum growing our distressed debt and corporate trust practices, both in Europe and the United States, most recently with the addition of partners Andrew Callahan and Robert Scheininger in New York and Michelle Ross in Washington DC.’

Roberts (pictured) is the seventh high-profile partner to leave Ashurst this year. Equity capital markets partner Jonathan Parry and disputes specialist Mark Clarke both left the firm for White & Case while corporate partner Anthony Clare left for Stephenson Harwood. Financial institutions partner James Perry also departed in April for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

In the last fortnight, Latham & Watkins took two other heavy hitters including financial regulation head Rob Moulton and restructuring partner Simon Baskerville.

Going the other way Ashurst has brought in several partners this year including TMT duo Nick Elverston and Amanda Hale from Herbert Smith Freehills. Real estate partners Darren Rogers, Patrick Williams and Robert Andrews moved from King & Wood Mallesons to Ashurst, along with DLA Piper’s international arbitration head Matthew Saunders. RBS head of EMEA loan markets Dave Rome also joins the firm’s banking practice, moving into a newly-created position of strategic director of corporate lending.

In its second year of tumbling revenues following its merger with Blake Dawson in 2013, Ashurst’s turnover dipped by £28m, bringing the firm’s revenues down 10% to £505m while profits per equity partner fell by 19%, down to £603,000 from £747,000 during the 2015/16 financial year.

Following this Ashurst has made plans to extend the firm’s lockstep ladder to 75 points up on the firm’s current 65 to help retain talent at the firm. Under the current proposals, which are yet to be voted on, the bottom of the ladder will remain at its current 25.