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DLA loses three real estate partners to McDermott in wake of 50-lawyer exodus

McDermott Will & Emery is darkening DLA Piper’s door once more, with the hiring of another three partners, shortly after bringing in 20 partners from the firm’s US offices.

London-based DLA real estate partners Laurence Rogers, Neville Wright and Tom Calnan are leaving the firm to join McDermott. Rogers specialises in real estate finance, Wright in corporate tax for the finance and real estate sectors, and Calnan in commercial real estate. A DLA spokesperson confirmed the departures but said the firm had no further comment to make.

McDermott declined to comment on the departures.

Rogers and Wright were previously partners at legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) before joining DLA in 2014, with Rogers formerly DLA’s UK head of real estate. Calnan, meanwhile, had been at the firm for little more than a year after joining from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

The trio’s loss comes quickly after McDermott brought in a team of 50 lawyers from DLA in the US, in a string of major moves touted as adding $100m revenue to its top line. The Chicago-based McDermott hired a four-partner real estate finance team led by DLA’s New York-based global co-chair of finance, Jeffrey Steiner, in late March, representing the third DLA practice group leader to join McDermott in a short time.

McDermott’s latest raid at DLA compounds a turbulent end to 2017 for the firm, most obvious in the departure of its esteemed senior partner and global co-chair Juan Picón to Latham & Watkins in Spain last November. DLA veteran Andrew Darwin was named his successor in February, following the firm’s first contested senior partner race in a decade.

In April, DLA said its global turnover had bounced back from last year’s drop with double-digit percentage growth in net profit. The firm’s global revenue was up 7% to $2.63bn in 2017, and net profit lifted 10% to $709m. Profit per equity partner (PEP) rose to $1.76m from last year’s $1.66m.