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More lateral hires as Katten Muchin and K&L Gates boost international corporate practices

US firms Katten Muchin Rosenman and K&L Gates have strengthened their international corporate practices this month through lateral hires from rival Global 100 firms.

Hogan Lovells’ private equity partner Philip Watkins has quit the firm to join US firm’s Katten Muchin’s London office.

He joined Katten Muchin Rosenman at the beginning of the year, along with two associates who will join the Chicago-headquartered firm’s London base next month. Watkins joined legacy firm Hogan & Hartson’s City corporate practice in November 2008.

Watkins practises corporate and commercial law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, takeover offers, strategic investments, joint ventures, and public and private securities offerings, and has experience of advising corporations and private equity investors both in the UK and internationally.

His exit follows Hogan Lovells’ push to expand its City corporate team after it hired King Wood & Mallesons SJ Berwin corporate heavyweight Ed Harris in October last year.

Katten maintained a relatively low key presence in the City between 2005 and 2011, before embarking on a lateral hiring spree that saw the firm take on five new partners in six months during 2012. It has continued to focus on building up its three core groups in London – real estate, financial services and private equity and Watkins’ arrival follows that of Sidley Austin financial services partner Barry Breen at the end of last year.

Elsewhere within corporate, K&L Gates has hired O’Melveny & Myers’ partner Siew Kam Boon to work out of its Singapore and Shanghai offices. She will focus on cross-border M&A and private equity transactions across Asia and has experience of representing private equity and venture capital funds, special situations groups, sovereign wealth funds, and corporate clients.

K&L Gates’ Asia managing partner David Tang said: ‘She brings deep knowledge of the markets and business networks in South East Asia and China, wide experience in leading and executing deals in the region, and great energy and enthusiasm, all of which complements and enhances our regional practice.’

K&L Gates combined with Australian national firm Middletons and added its Seoul office in early 2013.