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City O’Melveny exodus continues as Akin Gump hires private equity funds duo

The London woes of Allen & Overy’s prospective merger partner O’Melveny & Myers have continued with the loss of private equity funds lawyers John Daghlian and Mary Lavelle to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

The path from O’Melveny to Akin Gump has become a well-trodden one of late after private equity funds partners Daniel Quinn and Aleksander Bakic decamped in April for the Texas-bred firm’s investment management practice and transactional platform in London.

Funds veteran Daghlian and Lavelle, who was previously counsel at O’Melveny but will join Akin Gump as a partner, join the same practice.

Daghlian joined O’Melveny in 2004 from legacy SJ Berwin and was chair of O’Melveny’s investment funds practice, advising on international and domestic private equity-driven transactions.

Lavelle advises fund managers and institutional investors on investment fund and asset management matters, as well as secondary transactions.

While O’Melveny’s London office has been depleted by a merger proposal which has failed to gain significant traction despite discussions going on for more than a year, A&O’s City office has so far been left relatively unscathed.

Germany has seen the most notable losses for A&O with Duesseldorf corporate partner Murad Daghles defecting to White & Case in December 2018, while global head of employment and benefits Tobias Neufeld and dispute resolution head Daniel Busse left to set up their own boutiques a couple of months earlier.

James Roome (pictured), senior partner in Akin Gump’s London office, said of the hires: ‘John and Mary’s arrival—and that of Danny and Aleks recently—will add really outstanding capabilities and experience to our top-tier funds practice. Being UK-qualified, they genuinely complement the established US-qualified private equity funds team in London and the US.’

Prakash Mehta, co-head of its firmwide investment management practice, said: ‘John and Mary are, strategically, an exceptionally good fit for Akin Gump. Our London funds team will now number eight partners across the core areas of private equity funds and hedge funds—and there are numerous connection points between London and the US.’

The firm’s private equity funds team in London will include six partners: new arrivals John Daghlian, Daniel Quinn, Aleksander Bakic, Mary Lavelle and established Akin Gump partners Christopher Gorman-Evans and John Holton.