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Finance push: DLA Piper ramps up City offering with Latham hire

Fresh from hiring Slaughter and May’s ex-head of derivatives Mark Dwyer and Baker & McKenzie’s former head of structured capital markets Vincent Keaveny, DLA Piper has added Latham & Watkins partner Andy Kolacki to its London office as it pushes its finance credentials in the City.

Kolacki leaves Latham after over a decade at the US firm and joined the the partnership in 2009. He started his career at Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Kolacki specialises in US style financing used on cross-border loan packages, including US Term Loan B, a covenant-lite structure that is being increasing used in the European finance market due to the borrower-friendly terms that have not been readily available from the European banks.

DLA London head of debt finance David Miles said Kolacki’s arrival ‘will add bench strength to our team at a time when the markets are looking more and more to US style financing techniques’.

The appointment comes as part of a global finance push by DLA, with banking and financial services picked as one of the firm’s seven sector pillars earlier this year when DLA launched a condensed sector strategy. The firm appointed London-based Philip Butler as co-head of its global banking group in September last year in a move designed to place greater focus on the firm’s City operation.

There has long been a feeling inside the firm that DLA has underinvested in its London office, but the appointment of Simon Levine as Sir Knowles’ replacement as co-chief executive at the start of 2015 has seen a greater emphasis on profitability and a string of senior City hires.

Dwyer, whose practice covers derivatives, capital markets and leveraged financings, become one of just a handful of Slaughters partners to have moved to another major law firm when he joined DLA in December. Keaveny, Bakers’ former head of structured capital markets, was part of a successful four-partner lateral hire from Norton Rose in 2005 alongside Jonathan Walsh, Simon Porter, Bruce Somer almost a decade ago.

The firm has also taken Simmons & Simmons international commercial practice head as it builds up its commercial contracts practice. Mark Dewar, who had been at Simmons for 28 years, joins DLA’s London office with senior associate Michiko Jo.