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Paul Hastings adds another City heavyweight as Ashurst is hit again

Paul Hastings has continued to strengthen its burgeoning City practice with yet another high-profile lateral hire, this time taking respected finance partner Nigel Ward from a beleaguered Ashurst.

Ward is a heavyweight UK banking lawyer, cited as a leading individual in The Legal 500 for acquisition finance with experience in recapitalisation, restructurings and IPO crossover financing.

His departure is the latest blow for Ashust, with three further partner exits announced today. Paul Hastings alone has repeatedly targeted Ashurst in the past 18 months for lateral hires. The US firm took on US managing partner Eugene Ferrer and global co-head of securities and derivatives Scott Faga, along with three counsel and four associates last July.

The firm also hired Ashurst banking partner Luke McDougall in June 2015. Earlier this month, Paul Hastings again turned to Ashurst for another three finance partners, taking on Michael Smith, Diala Minott and Cameron Saylor.

Paul Hastings London chair Ronan O’Sullivan said: ‘Nigel is one of the most respected lawyers in the London market and his arrival adds significantly to our strength on both sides of the Atlantic.’

For Paul Hastings in London, this is the latest in a string of high-profile lateral hires that began more than a year ago and includes Paul Severs and Duncan Woollard from King & Wood Mallesons, as well as restructuring veteran David Ereira from Linklaters. Those hires came during a record year for the Global 100 firm, in which it bucked the slowdown in the US legal market by posting record profits, as turnover grew 6% to $1.06bn.

Commenting on Ward’s departure, an Ashurst spokesperson said: ‘We have one of the most long-standing leveraged and acquisition finance teams in the City and our rising stars add to our acknowledged bench strength.’