Legal Business Blogs

Global London advances: US firms take key partners from A&O and CC


US firms continue their investment in the City, as two Magic Circle firms have today (28 October) lost partners to Dechert and Latham & Watkins.

Latham & Watkins has continued its significant push in the City taking M&A partner Edward Barnett from Allen & Overy (A&O), while Dechert has hired Clifford Chance litigator Stephen Surgeoner.

Barnett will bring his experience across a broad variety of cross-border M&A and corporate finance transactions, including public takeovers, takeover defence, joint ventures, divestments, refinancings and initial public offerings.

He recently led the team advising 888 Holdings on its offer for digital entertainment, and acted for Coca-Cola Iberian Partners on its merger to create the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler based on net revenues.

London-based partner and member of the firm’s executive committee Richard Trobman said the firm was ‘committed to establishing the world’s premier corporate practice with market-leading capability in the US, London and other major M&A centres.’

He added: ‘Ed’s arrival is further testament to these ambitions. He is a highly talented partner with a formidable reputation for big ticket M&A and his track record advising on high-profile cross-border transactions speaks volumes for his vast experience. His arrival in London represents an important milestone for our corporate practice.’

This is not the first time Latham has tapped A&O for hires this year. The US firm took one of London’s most high-profile banking lawyers, A&O’s Stephen Kensell. Latham also took A&O capital markets partner Oliver Seiler in Frankfurt.

Meanwhile, Clifford Chance (CC) has also seen an exit to a US firm with litigation partner Stephen Surgeoner heading to Dechert’s London office. Surgeoner, who specialises in insurance disputes and professional indemnity, had spent around 25 years at the Magic Circle firm, having made partner in 2002. He is ranked as a leading individual in insurance and reinsurance in The Legal 500.

Dechert has been bulking up its London practice in recent months. The firm hired DLA Piper financial services global co-hair Philip Butler and London debt finance head David Miles to its City office in August this year.