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‘Exciting new addition’: Kirkland raids Freshfields yet again for restructuring partner Lacey

Kirkland & Ellis has returned to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to hire financial restructuring partner Sean Lacey.

Lacey was made up to partner at Freshfields six years ago and was co-leader of the firm’s alternative capital team within its global financial institutions group. He has advised clients such as Carlyle, Wind Hellas, BNP Paribas, ING, Natixis, UniCredit and Carphone Warehouse Group.

Chairman of Kirkland’s management executive committee, Jeffrey Hammes, said: ‘Sean has earned a reputation as one of the leading restructuring and finance lawyers in the London market. His extensive experience advising clients on complex transactions across a range of credit products will further enhance our European restructuring offering. He is an exciting new addition to our market-leading, global restructuring practice.’

In December it emerged Kirkland had taken on real estate finance partner Jonathan Birks from Freshfields, joining former colleague Michael Steele who joined Kirkland from the Magic Circle firm in 2015.

Kirkland also hired corporate partner Doug Bacon in October from Freshfields’ New York office. Bacon’s client list includes Novartis, Honeywell International, Blackstone, KKR, TPG, Apax Partners, MSD Capital and First Reserve Corp.

Going the other way, Kirkland lost capital markets partner Andrew Hagan to Freshfields, which is steadily building its debt markets team, in February 2016. The hire followed the recruit of high-yield heavyweight Ward McKimm who left Kirkland to co-head Freshfields European leveraged finance team in London in June 2015.

Last month Legal Business revealed six finance partners would leave Freshfields at the end of the financial year while it implements a restructure of its finance practice. Two others – one in New York and another in London – gave up equity partner status in April but it is understood they will remain with the firm in other roles. Finance has about 34 partners in London and more than 70 globally.

In addition, two partner exits from the London practice are expected for April 2018. Another finance partner in Asia, who has already left the firm, was also affected by the recalibration.