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Dechert rebuilds City leadership with dealmaker Field as Black takes helm

Dechert has taken strides to fortify its depleted London management team, adding private equity partner Chris Field and naming Gus Black as its chair.

Funds specialist Black (pictured) is global co-chair of Dechert’s financial services group and has been a member of the London management committee since its inception in 2016. Corporate partner Field was hired into Dechert’s London office after 11 years at Kirkland & Ellis in October 2017 along with tax partner Jane Scobie. They followed a path trodden by finance partner John Markland who left Kirkland for Dechert the previous year.

The firm’s London leadership was dealt a blow when the committee was halved from four members to two at the start of this year. Former chair and capital markets head Camille Abousleiman stepped down to take a job as minister of labour for the government of Lebanon after international trade and government regulation co-chair Miriam Gonzalez resigned last October when her husband, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, took a job at Facebook in Silicon Valley. Abousleiman remains as of counsel at the firm.

Employment lawyer Jason Butwick, who acted as London managing partner from 2012 until 2016 when the committee was formed, is the third London leader.

The Philadelphia-bred firm is in expansion mode in London, making up three partners in its latest 16-strong promotion round , effective of 1 January 2019. It marked Dechert’s biggest UK investment for some time, having made up only one City partner last year and bypassing London altogether the year before.

Earlier this year, the firm invested in its European funds business with the hire of Marianna Tothova in London from Ashurst and Carol Widger from Maples and Calder as the managing partner of its Dublin office.

The City office has also seen a decent run of lateral hires in recent months, recruiting Sidley Austin’s London co-head of disputes Dorothy Cory-Wright to head up its commercial disputes practice last July. The previous month, former senior US federal prosecutor Roger Burlingame joined from Kobre & Kim and last September, Hogan Lovells lost its highly-rated private equity partner Robert Darwin to Dechert’s corporate and life sciences team.

The firm recently announced 2018 revenues of $1.02bn – an eight consecutive year of growth and now has around 1,000 lawyers across its 27 offices globally.

Black said: ‘London is a strategic priority and focus of investment for the firm and Chris’ appointment to the London management committee reflects this commitment. Chris is already helping to drive significant expansion of our private equity practice in London and he will play a key role as we continue to grow in London.’