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Ashurst taps Mayer Brown’s City office in disputes drive as White & Case adds Macfarlanes rising deal star Jones

The City lateral market has kicked off after an uncharacteristic hiatus in recent weeks, seeing Ashurst recruit disputes partner Tom Duncan from Mayer Brown as Macfarlanes loses private equity rising star Emmie Jones to White & Case’s relentless hiring spree.

Macfarlanes-bred Jones, who featured in Legal Business’ analysis on the female City private equity players to watch in the mid-tier, was made up to partner in 2013. She has joined White & Case’s global M&A and private equity industry group as the firm sallies forth with its 2020 strategy, which includes going ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Magic Circle in London, led by erstwhile London executive partner Oliver Brettle.

Brettle, partner and member of the firm’s global executive committee, commented: ‘Our 2020 strategy includes a focus on profitable growth in London, in the global private equity industry and in mergers and acquisitions. The arrival of Emmie represents clear further progress in all three areas.’

John Reiss, head of White & Case’s global M&A practice, added: ‘The addition of Emmie sends a clear message to the market that we’re determined to continue growing our role advising the leading private equity firms and their portfolio companies on their most important, complex, cross-border matters.’

Jones has advised clients on the structuring, negotiation and execution of complex, cross-border private equity transactions across multiple sectors. She has totted up more than 150 deals, in both traditional private equity and advising portfolio companies, with a combined enterprise value of £10bn.

She has more than 13 years of experience advising private equity sponsors, corporates and management teams on acquisitions, disposals, management equity deals and distressed situations.

M&A partner John Cunningham said that Jones’ client relationships are an exciting fit with the firm’s client portfolio and the hire will play an important role in the ongoing institutionalisation and growth of the firm’s client base.

White & Case bolstered this same team as recently as March with the hire of former Jones Day partner Mike Weir. Jones is the seventh lateral in London so far this year, in addition to seven internal partner promotions in January.

City firm Ashurst, meanwhile, is upping its dispute resolution game in London with Tom Duncan, who has been a partner in Mayer Brown’s construction and engineering and international arbitration groups since 2012. He advises on all aspects of construction and engineering law with a focus on complex disputes. He has acted for clients in a number of different jurisdictions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia and has broad experience in arbitrations, adjudications and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
This is the seventh dispute resolution partner hire for the firm this year, having recently appointed partners David Wilkinson and Alison Hardy in London, Emmanuelle Cabrol and Hortense de Roux in Paris, Nicolas Nohlen in Frankfurt and Melanie McKean in Canberra.

Simon Bromwich, head of Ashurst’s global dispute resolution practice, said: ‘Both in the UK and across our offices we are continuing to see high levels of infrastructure and construction disputes. These cases typically involve our growing and highly rated international arbitration team. I am confident that [Tom] will help our global team to capitalise further on the major opportunities in the market.’

Duncan added: ‘The strength of Ashurst’s credentials and client base in the infrastructure and construction sectors, together with its significant international network, provide an ideal basis to help develop Ashurst’s excellent disputes practice in those sectors. I have been impressed by the quality of the firm’s infrastructure and construction disputes capability and I am looking forward to working with the team.’