Legal Business Blogs

Goodwin Procter poised to take majority of KWM’s prized funds team

Four King & Wood Mallesons partners, the majority of the firm’s influential funds team, are in talks to join Goodwin Procter, following their former group head Michael Halford’s decision to join the US firm.

Legal Business understands major billers Ajay Pathak, Patrick Deasy, Ed Hall and Shawn D’Aguiar are set to sign with Goodwin. Part of the firm’s prized funds team, Pathak, Deasy and Hall were worth roughly £8m in billings.

Halford’s exit along with three other influential legacy SJ Berwin partners, Jonathan Pittal, Andrew Wingfield and Rob Day caused the firm to halt and ultimately fail in its plans to recapitalise the business, which is carrying more than £30m in debt.

Earlier this week Goodwin said Halford (pictured) was joining and that ‘certain other London-based KWM partners’ were also given offers. The offers are subject to a partnership vote which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

A KWM spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday (22 November) that a revised plan to recapitalise the business had failed. The rescue deal required around 60% of the European partnership to commit to a 12 month lock-in and a contribution of around £14m in capital. This meant around 70 of 120 partners had to agree. Salaried partners were also asked to contribute £60,000.

Halford specialises in private equity and investment fund structuring, his portfolio also includes real estate funds and infrastructure funds for institutional and private investors. Among the investment houses he counts as clients are Triton, Macquarie, Deutsche, Invesco and BNP Paribas.

KWM filed a lawsuit back in May against former partner Richard Lever and his new firm Goodwin on the basis of the firm hiring a six-partner private equity team from KWM in Paris. Lever left KWM in April 2015, closely followed by private equity partner Simon Fulbrook.

Read more on KWM in ‘Comment: The moment of truth arrives in the SJ Berwin saga’

For an in-depth assessment of KWM, subscribers can see our July cover feature ‘Branded’