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Clifford Chance loses City finance partner to Vinson & Elkins

Vinson & Elkins (V&E) has hired London Clifford Chance (CC) finance partner John Dawson, as the US firm strengthens its push into the City.

With clients such as Bridgepoint, Electra and Vivacom, Dawson has experience of public and private acquisition financings, restructurings, unitranche, loan–to-own and acquisitions of loan portfolios. He joined CC as a trainee in 1999 and was made up to partner in 2010.

Dawson’s appointment brings the US firm’s UK partner headcount to 15. He joins a number of recent hires the US firm’s City office has made in the last eighteen months, as it bolsters its private equity capability.

In October 2016, V&E brought in Ashurst’s former Singapore head, private equity specialist Shaun Lascelles. Earlier in 2016, V&E hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer finance partner Ian Frost and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft deal-maker Paul Dunbar.

Dawson is one of several London partners to exit CC for a US firm over the past year. This May, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan turned to the Magic Circle firm for London-based tax investigations and disputes head Liesl Fichardt.

In October, CC corporate finance heavyweight Patrick Sarch, head of CC’s global banking sector team, left the firm for White & Case.

To compete with high-paying US rivals, CC last month voted through another round of changes to its remuneration structure, two years after last bringing more flexibility into its pay system.

The firm’s management can now raise select partners to 150 points or 130 points and a bonus. This hike is greater than the 115/130 points previously available for CC’s top earners.

The points ranged initially between 40 and 100 before 2015, with a discretionary gate at 70 points, aimed primarily at the Magic Circle firm’s European offices.

CC thanked Dawson for his contribution to the firm. V&E declined to comment.