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Making it in Manhattan: A&O pulls off four-partner finance hire to boost US presence

Allen & Overy (A&O) has made a major addition to its US finance practice with the lateral hire of four partners in New York. The Magic Circle firm took three partners from White & Case, one from Proskauer Rose, as well as adding an associate from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy as partner.

The new team is led by finance partner Scott Zemser, who joins with Alan Rockwell and Judah Frogel from White & Case.

Rajani Gupta comes to A&O from Proskauer Rose, while associate Todd Koretzky joins from Milbank. Koretzky will be made up to partner on his arrival.

The new team’s clients include Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

A&O global co-head of banking Philip Bowden (pictured) said: ‘The addition of this highly experienced team of US lawyers, led by Scott Zemser who has over 25 years of US and international leveraged finance experience, greatly enhances our ability to support clients globally regardless of the type of law or place of origin of their financing transactions.’

The firm’s global leveraged finance practice now comprises 50 partners across the US, Europe and Asia.

A&O senior partner Wim Dejonghe said: ‘There are very few top-tier US or global firms that can field a combined US and European leveraged finance practice the way we can now. The addition of these high calibre partners in New York not only strengthens our global finance practice, but demonstrates our strategic commitment to significantly grow our US practice.’

In an interview last month on his election as senior partner, Dejonghe said the firm had set its sights on improving its US offering. ‘American law is gaining market share and we are building our practice to deal with that,’ he said.

While it has been building out its US finance offering, A&O recently lost one of London’s most high-profile banking lawyers to US firm Latham & Watkins. This week Legal Business revealed Stephen Kensell had joined the US firm, following a failed run for the Magic Circle firm’s senior partner role earlier this year.