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Kirkland makes surprise push into City IP with hire of A&O practice chief

Latham & Watkins’ City lateral hires outside its traditional transactional heartlands have been in the news for a while, but this time it is US rival Kirkland & Ellis tapping the Magic Circle for a surprising IP hire.

The firm announced today (14 May) that Allen & Overy’s (A&O) global head of IP Nicola Dagg has quit the firm to join the London office of the newly-crowned world’s largest grossing firm.

The well-regarded litigator will leave A&O after 12 years. Her practice focuses on patent litigation and breach of confidence disputes, particularly in technologically advanced matters.

Kirkland’s chairman Jeffrey Hammes said her experience ‘is quite complementary to our existing practice and will be particularly useful to our life sciences and technology clients as they defend their intellectual property around the world’.

Her hire comes within months of two headline laterals for Kirkland, which in March surged past Latham to become the world’s top-billing law firm.

In December last year the firm announced the hire of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer private equity star David Higgins in a landmark $10m deal, while in January this year it tapped Cravath for New York M&A playmaker Eric Schiele.

City laterals outside the transactional arena have been rarer for the US giant, although in 2015 it tapped Linklaters for UK competition chief Paula Riedel.