Legal Business Blogs

Paul Hastings turns to Linklaters for hire of second City corporate heavyweight in a week

An expansive Paul Hastings has made its second headline lateral in London in a week, this time at the expense of Linklaters.

M&A heavyweight Roger Barron is leaving the Magic Circle firm after more than 17 years as a partner, where he has acted on a number of key mandates.

These include advising National Grid on its £13.8bn sale of a 61% stake in its gas distribution business to a group of investors, as well as the £1.1bn acquisition and later £2.5bn disposal of National Grid Wireless.

He also notably advised on the £21bn proposed merger between London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse, which was later blocked by EU regulators.

Barron’s long list of clients also include Lendlease, Siemens, E.ON and BT.

‘The London legal market is in a dynamic state and I believe that Paul Hastings is particularly well placed to offer clients a truly transatlantic service,’ Barron said.

Paul Hastings chair Seth Zachary added: ‘This significant appointment underlines our focus and commitment to accelerate the growth of our M&A practice in London, and enhance our offering to the firm’s global clients.’

Traditionally underrated in the City compared to other aggressive US firms, Paul Hastings’ hire follows another key lateral just last week, bringing over DLA Piper deal star Anu Balasubramanian to lead its London private equity team.

Paul Hastings’ London office chair Ronan O’Sullivan told Legal Business that after investing heavily in its finance business over the years the firm wanted to ‘enhance our transactional engine room with talent of the highest order. Anu and Roger are both at the top of their game and are quite complementary in what they do’.

Hiring partners in mainstream M&A has traditionally been difficult for US firms, with client relationships trickier to bring over compared to the private equity space. But O’Sullivan said: ‘A lot of the clients Roger works for are active globally and part of our mission is to service clients in every geography with equal quality. Roger realised that in many ways US firms, and particularly ours, have the capacity to offer something that might not have been so obvious in his current firm. It’s really the clients driving this.’

With Balasubramanian and Barron joining over the summer, Paul Hastings will have a 15-strong transactional team, and O’Sullivan said the firm was looking to grow further.

It had also previously tapped Linklaters in 2015 for finance heavyweight David Ereira.

The firm’s City practice posted an eye-catching 25% revenue rise in 2017, adding to pressure on the UK elite.