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KWM head of litigation and major biller Pollack in talks to join Covington

King & Wood Mallesons‘ head of litigation Craig Pollack is in talks to move to US firm Covington & Burling.

Pollack (pictured) was one of the biggest billers at KWM’s City office and advises investment banks, hedge funds, public companies and high net worth individuals.

Major mandates include advising a major Russian telecoms provider in post-LCIA arbitration enforcement proceedings across various jurisdictions, and defending a star hedge fund manager in a Financial Conduct Authority investigation into regulatory breaches.

Should he sign the dotted line, he will join a spate of partners to depart KWM for Covington since last year, including Alex Leitch, Greg Lascelles, and Elaine Whiteford.

If he leaves he will be the latest in a long line of defects from KWM’s European business; heavyweight biller Michael Halford has recently joined Goodwin Procter and will be joined by funds partners Ajay Pathak, Ed Hall, Shawn D’Aguiar and Patrick Deasy.

Corporate finance partner Andrew Wingfield joined Proskauer Rose, while former managing partner Rob Day is also to move to Proskauer. 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. 

Following the quartet’s resignations the European partnership looked to its Chinese and Australian counterparts for a rescue deal.

The tabled 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. However, this was not successful, as only 21 partners agreed to the deal. The firm is now exploring its options, with a merger or pre-pack administration reported as two of these options.

Read more analysis in the comment piece: ‘Comment: The moment of truth arrives in the SJ Berwin saga’ or our cover feature: ‘Branded: Inside the troubled takeover of SJ Berwin’