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‘Going gangbusters’: Freshfields’ woes continue as corporate partner Qureshi joins Fried Frank

A further exit from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s City bench has seen corporate and capital markets partner Ashar Qureshi join the London offices of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

The move sees the well-respected Qureshi leave the Magic Circle firm after four years as a partner in its global transactions practice.  The US securities veteran was seen as a significant string to the bow of Freshfields’ US-qualified offering when he joined in 2014.

At Fried Frank, Qureshi will head the EMEA global transactions team in a move designed to bolster the firm’s cross-border transactional capability. His focus will be on international corporate transactions, including capital markets, M&A and corporate finance.

Qureshi is well-versed in acting for financial institutions, corporates and governments on IPOs, equity and debt securities, including high-yield, as well as hedge fund and private equity transactions and structures, rights offerings restructurings and privatisations.

Mark Mifsud, managing partner of Fried Frank’s London office, told Legal Business: ‘Ashar is an extremely talented lawyer with ambidextrous skills spanning transactions and capital markets. His hire allows us to provide bandwidth and flexibility to the corporate practice, which is going gangbusters at the moment.

Mifsud added: ‘We consider ourselves best in breed for asset management advisory and want to achieve the same thing with capital markets and transactional. We have more irons in the fire – more hires are anticipated – so watch this space.’

Before Freshfields, Qureshi worked in several client-side roles, as a director at Hanson Asset Management, founding partner of NAYA Capital, and executive vice chairman and CEO of Renaissance Group and Renaissance Asset Managers, respectively.

He was also a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for more than a decade, with a total of 20 years under his belt at the Wall Street firm.

Freshfields has in recent months become no stranger to highly-regarded partner exits. Earlier this month, Freshfields-bred Reza Mohtashami QC quit after 19 years to pursue a career at litigation boutique Three Crowns.

Another high-profile departure for the City giant saw high-yield heavyweight Ward McKimm exit after three years to re-join his old firm, Shearman & Sterling, in July. The move came not seven months after buyout star David Higgins exited for Kirkland & Ellis, despite the Magic Circle firm overhauling its partnership model in a bid to keep its top performers.

The firm also in June lost veteran corporate partner Martin Nelson-Jones, who had been at the firm since 1991, to DLA Piper in London.

For its part, Fried Frank hired corporate real estate partners Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams from Ashurst last year and more recently in July, Sam Wilson from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for its asset management practice.