DLA Piper will take on real estate partner William Naunton (pictured) and several members of his team including partners Cornelius Medvei, Bryan Pickup, Ed Page, George Burrha and Jeremy Brooks. Managing associate Omer Maroof will also join as a partner. They join alongside eight other lawyers and three trainees, and are expected to join DLA mid-January.
Naunton is a significant biller for KWM, having billed almost £4m for the firm in the last year. When he joined KWM alongside Clive Jones and former Eversheds partner Cornelius Medvei in late 2014, the team was seen as key to KWM’s aim to expand its structured, high-end real estate offering. On joining DLA, he will become co-head of the UK real estate group.
However, Jones will join Greenberg Traurig. Alongside Jones the US firm also hired private equity funds partners Steven Cowins and Marc Snell, M&A partners Michael Goldberg and David Fitzgerald and partner Matthew Priday along with their teams.
Cowins is one of KWM’s top billers, having joined SJ Berwin in 2005. He specialises in real estate funds and joint ventures and counts Crown Estate among his clients. Goldberg and Priday focus on commercial real estate investment and have British Land on their client roster.
These are the latest in a long line of defects from KWM’s European business; heavyweight biller Michael Halford has last month joined Goodwin Procter with the other funds partners Ajay Pathak, Ed Hall, Shawn D’Aguiar and Patrick Deasy.
Corporate finance partner Andrew Wingfield and former managing partner Rob Day joined Proskauer Rose. The pair’s resignation, along with Halford’s exit and Jonathan Pittal also handing in his notice caused KWM to halt its recapitalisation plans in October. The firm has since failed in its plans to restabilise the business, and is expected to enter administration in January 2017.
Former KWM managing partner William Boss was hired earlier this month by Addleshaw Goddard, alongside Simon Tager and Michael Scott. Meanwhile former senior partner Stephen Kon confirmed last week he would retire from the law.
Another firm in talks with a number of partners is Reed Smith, while KWM’s own Asian arm is trying to secure a European presence through an office spin-off. Although it had expressed interest in a merger deal, Dentons has since pulled out of discussions.
For more on King & Wood Mallesons, subscribers can read ‘Branded’ for an in-depth look at the firm.