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A&O adds NY capability in London as Freshfields lures Linklaters Paris partner

A double Magic Circle hire today (17 September) has seen Allen & Overy (A&O) hiring financial services regulation counsel Knox McIlwain as a partner from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer bolstered its own regulatory offering, hiring Linklaters’ Paris FinReg partner Marc Perrone.

The hire of McIlwain reunites him with Bob Penn, A&O’s former financial regulatory services head, who re-joined the firm in June 2018 having defected for a two-year stint at Cleary. It also makes good on A&O’s plan to accelerate investment in its US-law capability following protracted and ultimately fruitless merger talks with Los Angeles firm O’Melveny & Myers. Senior partner, Wim Dejonghe, said that the hire demonstrates the firm’s commitment to growing its top-tier global regulatory practice and building on its US capabilities.

Located in London, McIlwain will also form an integral part of the US regulatory team and will focus on financial institution resilience and insolvency as well as working with the global derivatives practice.  Damian Carolan, head of A&O’s London financial services regulatory practice, commented: ‘A huge challenge our clients face is managing the regulatory change agenda across the US, EU and Asia-Pacific. There has been a deluge of reform covering all aspects of financial services, which remains at varying stages of implementation or revision. Knox’s arrival will bolster our transatlantic regulatory capability and improve our coverage of financial institutions’ global regulatory needs.’

Meanwhile Freshfields is in growth mode in Paris, with the hire of Perrone following swiftly after that of arbitration partner Christophe Seraglini from French boutique Betto Seraglini. Perrone, who has been at Linklaters for 14 years and made partner in 2012, advises financial institutions, investment funds and financial services and market infrastructure operators.

Seraglini acts for international companies on disputes in the technology, energy and construction sectors.

Hervé Pisani, managing partner of Freshfields’ Paris office, said: The arrival of Marc and Christophe is a testament to the appeal of the firm and demonstrates our willingness to support our clients on the strategic issues they face, as well as our ambition to consolidate our position in the French and international market with an integrated, global offering in line with the economic and regulatory changes underway.’