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Another City loss for DLA Piper as private equity star quits for Paul Hastings

Paul Hastings has hired Anu Balasubramanian to lead its private equity team in London, a striking move that sees DLA Piper lose one of its brightest deal stars.

The loss of Balasubramanian will be a fresh blow for DLA after a turbulent few months that have seen a high-profile partner exodus in the City to McDermott Will & Emery (MWE).

Balasubramanian (pictured) joined DLA in 2013 from Kirkland & Ellis where she had worked since 2006, making partner the following year. She emerged as DLA’s hands-down star female deal lawyer in Alphas, Legal Business’ recent feature on standout women playmakers.

Her hire will be a boon for Paul Hastings’ City corporate and private equity practice, which is currently led by partners Ronan O’Sullivan and Garrett Hayes, fielding existing clients including Starwood Capital, HIG Capital, Vector Capital, SICP and Oaktree.

Paul Hastings chair Seth Zachary commented: ‘Anu is an acclaimed leader in the market with strong relationships with institutional and corporate clients across multiple sectors and geographies.

‘Our private equity practice has developed a strong presence globally and her arrival will position us to increase market share in Europe, which is a key strategic imperative for the firm’.

Balasubramanian has been a prolific operator for mid-market work, acting for sponsors including ABRY Partners, Accel-KKR, Oakley Capital and Aurium Capital, typically on deals ranging from £200-£600m.

Her hire closely follows that of cybersecurity partner Sarah Pearce from Cooley earlier this month.

Paul Hastings recently reported 25% revenue growth in the London office following a strong 2017 and major mandates including the restructuring of The Cooperative Bank and the €3.5bn acquisition by NJJ Telecom Europe of a majority of eir, the Irish telecommunications and broadband operator.

Meanwhile DLA has had a run of ill-fortune, last month fielding a fresh assault from MWE when it hired London-based real estate partners Laurence Rogers, Neville Wright and Tom Calnan.

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 departures cast a long shadow over DLA’s 2017 revenue rebound to $2.63bn, a 7% uptick on the previous year.

For more on the standout female deal stars in the City, read Alphas – the hunt for female deal stars (and why it’s hard to be a City woman)