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Linklaters finance partner Irvine heads to Kirkland in latest exit from Hong Kong office

For the third time this year and dealing a blow to Linklaters‘ Asian objectives, Kirkland & Ellis has recruited from the Magic Circle firm’s ranks and hired Hong Kong debt finance partner David Irvine.

Bolstering Kirkland’s Asia offering, Irvine quits after 14 years with the Magic Circle firm, having joined as an associate in 2001. He became a managing associate in 2005 and made partner in 2008, relocating to Hong Kong where he was a registered foreign lawyer.

He has experience in cross-border leveraged and acquisition finance and has worked on arrange of deals including the HK$9bn redevelopment of the Glaxay Macau resort complex and the HK$2.9bn leveraged buy-out of Hong Kong Broadband Network by CVC.

His exit comes after Linklaters lost finance and energy partner Thomas Ng in April and capital markets partner David Ludwick in March, who both joined rival firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Hong Kong, while Davis Polk & Wardwell also hired capital markets partner Jon Gray from the Hong Kong office.

This is the third time Kirkland & Ellis has turned to Linklaters in 2015, having already hired UK competition chief Paula Riedel in May, and real estate M&A head Matthew Elliott who joined Kirkland in February.

The departure is also the latest in a string of senior exits from Linklaters to US firms this year, with the firm’s global energy co-head Matthew Hagopian and partner Manzer Ijaz leaving for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in February while in June former German international board member Eva Reudelhuber departed for Gleiss Lutz.

Other firms that have made recent moves in Hong Kong include Paul Hastings that benefitted from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s office closures in Hong Kong and Shanghai with the hire of corporate duo Douglas Freeman and Victor Chen; while Mayer Brown’s Asia arm formed an association with the Hong Kong office of Chinese firm Jingtian & Gongcheng; and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton picked up Shearman & Sterling capital markets partner Shuang Zhao.