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Ex-KWM real estate duo exits Ashurst for Fried Frank after one year

Real estate duo Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams has resigned from Ashurst to join Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s London office just over a year after joining the City firm from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

Rogers was made up to partner at legacy SJ Berwin in 2010, where he started as an associate 16 years ago. Ashurst announced he was set to join the real estate team as a partner in April last year together with Williams, who was promoted to partner in 2015 when KWM made up only two London lawyers as part of a 36-strong round.

The pair counts British Land as a longstanding client, alongside Invesco Real Estate, CBRE Global Investors and Battersea Power Station Development Company among others.

The hire is the first Fried Frank’s London office has made for over a year, with the US firm bringing in Mayer Brown co-head of restructuring Ashley Katz in February 2016.

Fried Frank’s corporate real estate co-head Fiona Kelly said Rogers and Williams ‘have a strong reputation, both within the UK and internationally, for providing preeminent counsel in this sector.’

She added that the duo’s broad experience in commercial real estate law and corporate law would add strength to the firm’s clients ‘in all facets of high value commercial real estate investment’.

An Ashurst spokesperson said the real estate group, which has 21 London based partners, will continue to focus on high end work: ‘We do not anticipate these departures as having any significant impact on the real estate practice and they are likely to increase our profitability.’

Earlier this June, Ashurst lost a four-partner team from its Paris arm to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which came just four months after it emerged a group of five Ashurst corporate partners in Paris to Freshfields, collectively responsible for a book of business worth £8m.

The firm’s London head of pensions Marcus Fink also departed to PwC earlier this year.

Conversely, in March Ashurst launched a European high-yield offering, bringing in Allen & Overy senior associate Tamer Bahgat, who was made up to partner at Ashurst, and Linklaters counsel Natalia Sokolova.

The firm has also hired Linklaters leveraged finance senior associate Pierre Roux and PwC tax director Emmanuelle Pontnau-Faure in Paris, who will both be made up to partner in the move.

In March, Fried Frank confirmed London managing partner and City veteran Graham White would leave private practice at the end of May. Asset management partner Mark Mifsud stepped into the role following his departure. and