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Revolving Doors: Akin Gump does the double, Kirkland boosts funds and Sidley recruits crime veteran as US firms power lateral market

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld led the way in the City lateral market last week after hiring two funds partners from O’Melveny & Myers’ City arm, while Kirkland & Ellis and Sidley Austin also made senior hires.

Daniel Quinn and Aleksander Bakic start their new roles at Akin Gump today (1 April), after the duo decamped from Allen & Overy’s prospective merger partner O’Melveny. Both focus on private equity transactions, and will work in the firm’s investment management practice and transactional platform in London. The Texas-bred Akin Gump, meanwhile, also announced the hire of Allen Shyu in Beijing, who joins from Stephenson Harwood.

Commented Sebastian Rice, managing partner of London and Hong Kong for Akin Gump: ‘We hired them because they fit so well with what we do, it’s the age old cliché of building on our existing strengths at the firm.’

He added: ‘It was an opportunity that arose, they were both looking for a platform they felt they didn’t have at O’Melveny. If there are future options in this area that will strengthen then we will be looking at it, but we’ve never had a specific target for growth.’

Akin Gump was not the only major American outfit to make a move against a US counterpart last week, with Kirkland also inflicting a rare partner loss on Proskauer Rose after hiring funds partner Andrew Shore. The move deepens the blow inflicted on Proskauer after Kirkland recruited a 20-strong transactions team in Los Angeles last week, including partners Michael Woronoff, Monica Shilling and Chris Wu.

The London-based Shore had been at Proskauer since 2017 and counts Montagu Private Equity, HGCapital and G Sqaure on his client list. Shore joins a team led by partners Chris Braunack and Richard Watkins, and his arrival marks the latest in a spree of City additions for Kirkland, the most notable of which was the hire of Freshfields private equity playmaker Adrian Maguire in January. Elsewhere, Sidley Austin hired regulatory and criminal investigations partner Sara George from Stephenson Harwood.

While US firms were growth mode, upwardly-mobile City player Fladgate also strengthened its London bench with the hire of corporate partner Anthony Shatz from RPC. The move brings to an end a six-year spell at RPC for Shatz. Fladgate, for its part, has been aggressively expanded of late having made 36 partner hires since 2015.

‘We’re really pleased with Anthony’s arrival,’ Fladgate chairman Richard Reuben told Legal Business. ‘It fits with our strategy to expand our corporate practice, including funds and private equity. It was a combination of knowing what we wanted and knowing he was available. He ticks all the boxes.’ In one of the larger acquisitions for the 160-lawyer London firm, client conflict issues saw a CMS real estate team migrate to Fladgate in November of last year.