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‘I like new challenges’: Bakers securitisation veteran exits for Ashurst

The rebuild at Ashurst following a complicated end to 2017 in which three key partners left in a fortnight has gained some traction with the hire of a senior City lateral from Baker McKenzie.

Bakers’ former global co-head of securitisation Jonathan Walsh will leave the firm today (31 May) after 13 years and take a place in Ashurst’s securitisation team from next Monday (4 June).

A City veteran, Walsh was previously head of international securities at legacy Norton Rose until 2005, and went on to co-lead Bakers’ securitisation operations until January, when he stepped down from the role now held by Philippe Steffens.

‘I like new challenges and Ashurst is a fantastic international firm with a great platform,’ Walsh told Legal Business, adding that the move gave him the opportunity to help build his new firm’s securities capability.

He also looked forward to being reunited with his former colleague and fellow securities lawyer Martin Kaiser, who joined Ashurst in Frankfurt from Bakers in August last year: ‘I consider him an excellent lawyer, a very good colleague and friend.’

‘Jonathan is the missing piece to complete our core securitisation team for Europe,’ Michael Logie, head of Ashurst’s global markets practice told Legal Business. He pointed to Kaiser in Germany and younger City partner Tom Picton, who joined from Clifford Chance last month. ‘We were looking for someone with a senior pedigree and a track record for building securitisation practices. Jonathan ticks all those boxes amazingly well.’

For Bakers, Walsh’s departure comes at a time when the firm is busy building up its City transactional capabilities, most recently with the appointment of former Clifford Chance partner Kathy Honeywood to its energy, mining and industrials practice. The firm appointed three partners in its structured capital markets and banking teams last month, including former White & Case partner Michael Doran.

Ashurst is beefing up its City ranks after being hit by three big losses in November last year, with corporate partners James Wood and Dominic Ross leaving for Sidley Austin and White & Case respectively, while disputes stalwart Ben Giaretta joined Mishcon de Reya.

But the firm began 2018 with some City appointments, including litigator Alison Hardy from Squire Patton Boggs.