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KWM loses second City partner this week as Fried Frank takes funds specialist

King & Wood Mallesons‘ (KWM) City office has suffered its second partner exit this week, with financial markets partner Gregg Beechey being the latest to quit the firm to join Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in London.

Beechey has been a partner at SJ Berwin, which merged with King & Wood Mallesons in 2013, since 2000 having spent the majority of his legal career at the UK firm, and under two years at the combined firm. Before SJ Berwin, Beechey was a compliance assistant at asset management company Schroders for two years. He specialises in financial markets, with a particular focus on regulatory issues for fund managers, and comes recommended by The Legal 500 for his work on advising on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) matters.

This latest hire for Fried Frank comes after the firm hired Kirkland & Ellis funds partners Mark Mifsud, Kate Downey and Alexandra Conroy in May, after recruiting Hogan Lovells partner Stuart Brinkworth to head its London finance offering.

For KWM, the exit comes after private equity partner Simon Fulbrook left to join Goodwin Procter earlier this week (1 July).

SJ Berwin’s renowned funds practice, particularly private equity, has suffered a number of key departures since the merger. Fulbrook joined former corporate co-head Richard Lever, who left the firm for Goodwin Procter in April to launch its City private equity practice. In May, Paul Hastings hired corporate partner Duncan Woollard to its London office. These followed the departures of a string of senior private equity heavyweights – including Steven Davis who quit to join Proskauer Rose in December 2014; Tim Wright who jumped to DLA Piper in May 2014; and Ed Harris who opted to join Hogan Lovells in October 2013 – all since the SJ Berwin/KWM combination two years ago.

However, KWM did move to rebuild its flagship group this week with the hire of Laura Brunnen from Fried Frank. The firm also recruited a team of Eversheds partners in April, as the firm boosted its capacity to capture hedge fund and investors in the UK’s booming real estate market.

A KWM spokesperson told Legal Business: ‘We can confirm that Gregg Beechey is leaving the firm, we thank him for his contribution and wish him every success for the future.’