Legal Business Blogs

KWM co-head of funds in Paris exits for Willkie Farr

King & Wood Mallesons‘ co-head of investment funds in Paris, Nathalie Duguay, has joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher as asset management partner.

One of legacy SJ Berwins top ten billers last year, Duguay specialises in private equity investment funds and joined legacy SJ Berwin in 2001 as founding partner of the firm’s Paris office, after having been an M&A associate at Salans since 1998.

Earlier this week, Stephenson Harwood picked up three King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) private equity partners including former UK private equity co-head Jonathan Pittal, one of the four heavyweights that quit the firm in October.

Warren Allan and Gabriel Boghossian will join Pittal at the LB100 firm. The trio of partners are expected to take with them as many as six associates and two trainees.

KWM’s Paris office was raided by Goodwin Procter in March this 2015, when the firm opened its Paris office with a six-partner team from KWM, which represented the bulk of its private equity (PE) practice including office managing partner Maxence Bloch. KWM’s Richard Lever and Simon Fulbrook had also joined Goodwin in spring 2015. KWM has since filed a lawsuit against Lever and his new firm on the basis of hiring the PE team in Paris.

Meanwhile, Goodwin Procter has applied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for permission to bring in five trainees. The trainees will join investment funds partner and major biller Michael Halford. It was announced he would be joining the US firm in November

Yesterday (5 January) it emerged Baker & McKenzie will take on two partners from KWM including private equity partner Will Holder and employment partner Carl Richards. The pair arrive with a team of five associates including members of the private equity and employment teams. Fieldfisher has also hired technology partner James Walsh, whilst Debevoise & Plimpton announced it is taking on private equity lawyer Simon Witney as a consultant.

KWM is currently in the process of appointing administrators before 16 January. In December the firm confirmed its European arm had filed a Notice of Intention to Appoint Administrators with the court.

On Wednesday (4 January) it was revealed by Legal Business that KWM’s European arm had stopped paying 100 staff. Employees were notified of the decision on 3 January – the first day back for many after the Christmas break.

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’