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KWM suffers another corporate exit in the City as Woollard leaves for Paul Hastings

Duncan Woollard has become the latest private equity partner to leave King & Wood Mallesons, heading for Paul Hastings to spearhead its private funds practice in the City.

Private investment funds specialist Woollard, who will head Paul Hastings‘ London private funds practice, becomes the fifth big-name corporate partner to leave King & Wood Mallesons since its merger was announced with SJ Berwin in 2013.

Having been a core part of SJ Berwin’s much-lauded private equity team in the late 2000s, Woollard’s departure expands the hole left behind by private equity heavyweights Ed Harris, who left just before the official tie-up; Steven Davis, the firm’s former corporate chief who left for Proskauer Rose; Tim Wright, who left for DLA Piper; and most recently Richard Lever, who became co-head of the firm’s London corporate group after Davis stepped down before leaving for Goodwin Procter in April this year.

Woollard joins an expanding London office at Paul Hastings which now holds 25 partners and becoming the firm’s third lateral in the City this year, following the arrival of leveraged finance partner Luke McDougall from Ashurst and real estate specialist Mark Shepherd from DLA Piper earlier this year. He becomes one of a number of SJ Berwin alumni stationed in Paul Hastings’ London office, reuniting with real estate partners Shepherd and David Ryland.

Advising on a range of private equity and fund structuring matters, Woollard specialises in raising investment funds in the private equity sector as well as for venture capital, infrastructure, direct lending, real estate, mezzanine lending and distressed debt.

Recent work includes the €1.25bn Investindustrial V fund, the £500m Endless Fund IV, a series of single investment funds for Duke Street plus Terra Firma’s special situations fund and the associated £3.2bn acquisition of the Annington portfolio. Other clients include AllianceBernstein, Hutton Collins, MML Capital Partners, Babson Capital Europe and NorthEdge.

‘Duncan’s appointment allows us to further capitalize on the resurgence in the private equity fundraising market in Europe,’ said Lawrence Hass, global chair of the private investment funds practice at Paul Hastings. ‘Duncan will play a leading role for us in Europe by helping deliver a coherent high-end global investment funds offering to our clients around the world.’