Addleshaw Goddard has made a play for King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) partners, taking on the firm’s former managing partner William Boss, as well as property partner Simon Tager and commercial real estate partner Michael Scott. Addleshaws has also hired commercial real estate managing associate Luke Harvey who joins as a partner.
The combined fee earning potential of the group is almost £5m, with real estate heavyweight Boss (pictured) the operational partner for the Crown Estate in relation to its Regent Street Portfolio, which is currently undergoing review.
Meanwhile Tager also acts for the Crown Estate in relation to its Regent Street portfolio as well as acting for Marks & Spencer on key developments across the UK, such as the development of the M&S head office at Paddington Basin.
Scott acts for quoted property companies, institutional investors, developers, lenders and occupiers with recent transactions including advising British Land.
Addleshaws may also take some associates from KWM to support these hires.
Addleshaws head of real estate Leona Ahmed said: ‘This latest investment is very much a part of our significant commitment to the real estate sector and consistent with Addleshaw Goddard’s wider strategic goals. We have for some time been looking to augment our team and the skills and profile of these partners are massively complementary to the existing team, as well as bringing new opportunities for the combined group.’
Last week it was reported that KWM’s head of litigation Craig Pollack was in talks to move to US firm Covington & Burling. Pollack was one of the biggest billers at KWM’s City office and advises investment banks, hedge funds, public companies and high net worth individuals.
Should he sign the dotted line, he will join a spate of partners to depart KWM for Covington since last year, including Alex Leitch, Greg Lascelles, and Elaine Whiteford.
If he leaves he will be the latest in a long line of defects from KWM’s European business; heavyweight biller Michael Halford has recently joined Goodwin Procter and will be joined by funds partners Ajay Pathak, Ed Hall, Shawn D’Aguiar and Patrick Deasy.
Corporate finance partner Andrew Wingfield joined Proskauer Rose, while former managing partner Rob Day is also to move to Proskauer. The pair’s resignation, along with Halford’s exit and Jonathan Pittal also handing in his notice caused KWM to halt its recapitalisation plans in October.
Following the quartet’s resignations the European partnership looked to its Chinese and Australian counterparts for a rescue deal.
The tabled deal required around 60% of the European partnership to commit to a 12 month lock-in and a contribution of around £14m in capital. This meant around 70 of 120 partners had to agree. However, this was not successful, as only 21 partners agreed to the deal. The firm is now exploring its options, with a merger or pre-pack administration reported as two of these options. Since then, Dentons emerged as a suitor to take the the entire European partnership.
KWM declined to comment.