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Another defection from Macfarlanes as competition head moves to White & Case

In a rare move, White & Case has hired Macfarlanes competition and EU head Marc Israel after 15 years at the firm.

Formerly the leader of Macfarlanes cross-departmental competition litigation practice, Israel will join White & Case bringing his focus on M&A and private equity related non-contentious matters along with cartel, investigations and antitrust litigation.

While partner defections are rare from Macfarlanes, the loss is the second in recent months as the firm lost a partner in September to a US firm when financial services head David Berman agreed to join Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Described by The Legal 500 as the ‘experienced’ and ‘practical’ head of a ‘remarkable’ team, Israel’s list of deals includes advising BATS Global Markets on its acquisition of Chi-X to create the largest pan-European equities trading platform, Virgin Group in connection with BSkyB’s acquisition of 18% of ITV and DC Thomson on its acquisition of Friends Reunited from ITV.

White & Case EMEA head of competition Mark Powell expects Israel’s appointment will provide ‘synergies between our competition, disputes and our M&A/private equity teams in London and across EMEA.’ He added: ‘Marc’s practice is an excellent fit for the firm and our clients, and his addition will strengthen our London capability.’

White & Case has been aggressively bulking up its City practice with plans to have more than 500 lawyers in London in four years as part of its 2020 strategy.

In October the firm brought in Clifford Chance corporate partner Patrick Sarch in what will be a significant loss for the Magic Circle firm. In the same month it was announced BNY Mellon’s EMEA regulatory head James Greig was joining White & Case’s financial services team. The US firm also added to its global tax practice in September with the addition of London-based Michael Wistow as co-head of the firm’s tax practice in EMEA from Berwin Leighton Paisner.

The firm has been aggressive outside the City as well, as it was revealed in September the US firm had taken a ten-partner project finance team from Herbert Smith Freehills in Australia, launching two offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

For more on competition practices in the City see: ‘Less bark, more bite – competition to the fore as tougher enforcement arrives’