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Ex-A&O banking chief Bowden exits for Proskauer as US firm snaps up City finance quartet

A&O Shearman banking heavyweight Philip Bowden, the former co-head of legacy A&O’s global banking practice, has left the newly merged firm to join Proskauer as part of a four-partner raid by the US firm.

Bowden, who unsuccessfully ran for senior partner at A&O Shearman ahead of the transatlantic tie-up, is departing alongside acquisition finance partner Megan Lawrence, who made partner at A&O in 2022.

The pair will move to Proskauer, where they will join the global banking and finance team alongside two partners joining from Cahill Gordon & Reindell’s London office –  Jake Keaveny and Warren Newton, both of who are also A&O alumni.

‘We thank Philip and Megan for the contributions they have made to the firm and wish them all the best for the future’, an A&O spokesperson said in a statement.

For Cahill, the departures come after two other recent London partner exits, with leveraged finance duo Jonathan Brownson and Joydeep Choudhuri exiting for Latham & Watkins.

Executive committee chairman Herb Washer said in a statement: ‘We’re committed to expanding our corporate practice in London and we are currently evaluating our options to ensure the right fit for our team and our corporate clients. We thank them for their service to the firm’s clients and we wish them well in their future endeavors.’

In the wake of the A&O Shearman merger, Bowden had been appointed as one of the firm’s five private capital sector leads. He had been at the firm since 1999, making partner in 2002. He went on to co-head both the firm’s global banking and finance practice and its global leveraged finance group and is a Legal 500 leading individual for acquisition finance

Bowden had run for senior partner in two consecutive elections, losing both – to incumbent Wim Dejonghe in 2020 and to interim managing partner Khalid Garousha in 2024. He is the only one of the three senior partner candidates at pre-merger A&O without a seat on either the executive committee or the board at A&O Shearman. Garousha is senior partner and co-chairs both the board and the executive committee with Adam Hakki, who took over as senior partner at Shearman & Sterling last March, and now serves as A&O Shearman’s US chair.

The third contender, David Lee is now global co-head of project, energy, natural resources and infrastructure as well as an ExCom member.

The departures see Cahill lose the last of a clutch of ex-A&O lawyers it brought over in 2020-21. Legal 500 high-yield leading individual Keaveny joined Cahill alongside Brownson in summer 2020, while Newton came over in January 2021, joining the firm as a partner after leaving A&O as a senior associate. The US firm’s website now lists no banking and finance partners in London.