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Revolving doors: A&O enters La La Land with group hire as DLA Piper lures former Freshfields finance chief

Allen & Overy  has launched a West Coast US practice, acquiring Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s project finance and renewables team in the US.

As a result, the team co-led by partners Dan Sinaiko and John Marciano will establish a new presence in Los Angeles for A&O. The team also comprises partners Greg Lavigne, Matthew Nesburn, Andrea Wang Lucan and Sam Kamyans, as well as ‘a large group of associates and counsel.’

In a bold statement of intent, Kent Rowey, a partner in the firm’s energy and infrastructure practice, said: ‘With this acquisition, A&O cements its status as the leading US and global renewables practice with the right expertise to help clients pursue the global energy transition’, while the newly-ensconced Marciano described the move as ‘the most significant law firm combination in the US renewables legal sector.’

The opening can be seen as an effort to make up for A&O’s high-profile failure to secure a transatlantic merger with West Coast royalty O’Melveny & Myers in 2019 .

Elsewhere, DLA Piper has identified a respected successor to Martin Bartlam for its head of international finance, projects and restructuring role, hiring seasoned Freshfields partner David Trott. Trott has been a partner at the Magic Circle outfit since 1997 and led its global finance team between 2012 and 2016, predominantly covering real estate finance, acquisition finance and corporate treasury matters.

Bartlam will work alongside Trott ‘to ensure a smooth leadership transition’, according to DLA. Olaf Schmidt, managing director of practice groups, said: ‘As the firm evolves, David’s fresh perspectives, exceptional leadership experience and deep market knowledge perfectly complement our strategy for the finance, projects and restructuring group.’

Meanwhile, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has appointed former Boies Schiller Flexner and Herbert Smith Freehills disputes partner Dominic Roughton. The experienced Roughton has a dual practice focusing on both international litigation and arbitration, particularly in the energy and mining sectors.

Quinn founder John Quinn commented: ‘His hire adds considerable weight to our fast-expanding London office which is in significant growth mode after a stunning 2020.’ The firm unveiled a striking 27% uptick in London turnover earlier this year.

Taylor Wessing has been in expansive form in the past week, hiring a real estate team from Greenberg Traurig as well as a trio of partners from Stephenson Harwood in London.

The real estate team is led by partner Michael Goldberg, who specialises in corporate finance, M&A, and capital markets work in the sector. He joins alongside a team of three associates.

The firm has also enhanced its life sciences and healthcare practice with the appointment of partners Andrew Edge, Karima Hudson and Andrew McLean from Stephenson Harwood. All three are corporate specialists, with Edge and Hudson possessing significant M&A experience in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has maintained its uncharacteristically lively start to 2021  with the hire of Geoffrey Bailhache, former managing director and general counsel of private equity firm Blackstone’s EMEA business, as a partner in London.

Prior to his in-house role, Bailhache spent several years in private practice at both Weil, Gotshal & Manges and SJ Berwin, advising on a range of private equity and corporate matters. Bailhache said: ‘Having worked alongside Simpson Thacher’s lawyers on transactions for many years, I am excited to join this talented group for the next chapter of my career.’

This week Simpson Thacher also hired former Kirkland & Ellis private funds partner James Board in its London office. Described as a ‘rising star in the private funds industry’ by Simpson Thacher’s head of private funds, Michael Wolitzer, Board primarily advises clients on the creation and operation of credit funds.

Latham & Watkins has made a significant restructuring hire in London through the appointment of Bruce Bell, previously a partner for over 20 years at Linklaters. Bell primarily advises companies, sponsors and financial institutions on complex financing, restructuring, and insolvency matters.

Stephen Kensell, managing partner of Latham’s London office, said: ‘Bruce is an exceptional practitioner with a stellar market reputation, and his expertise and product knowledge make him an excellent strategic fit for Latham’s practice in both London and globally.’

After floating in 2019 , asset management consultancy and alternative business structure MJ Hudson has landed a key hire in the form of ex-Skadden partner Stephen Sims. Sims joins MJ Hudson’s legal offering to be a partner in its funds practice.

Described as a ‘leading light’ by Andrew Mills, co-managing partner of MJ Hudson’s legal arm, he added that the ability to attract Sims to the firm ‘is testament to the unique environment at MJ Hudson.’

In Europe, Dentons has reinforced its banking and finance team in Warsaw by hiring Mark Segall as a partner from CMS, where he was head of the central and eastern Europe banking practice. Segall has more than 20 years’ experience in advising on a range of financial products including acquisition and leveraged finance, structured commodity finance and project finance.

Meanwhile K&L Gates has boosted its energy, infrastructure and resources practice by hiring former Squire Patton Boggs partner Ben Holland in its London office. Holland is an energy disputes partner with experience of international arbitration.

Holland said his arrival ‘connects me and my clients with first-class lawyers across the key energy and resources jurisdictions, at a time when many global energy markets are in a state of unbalance and change, and where global lawyer teams are needed to help them move forwards.’

Finally, Clyde & Co has made a significant insurance hire in Australia with the appointment of Jacques Jacobs as a partner in its Sydney office. Jacobs, who joins from Norton Rose Fulbright, specialises in assisting both domestic and international insurers on complex disputes and overage issues.