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Revolving doors: Ashurst makes senior high yield hire from Shearman as WilmerHale sees double departure to G100 rivals

Amid another hefty round of parner recruitment, Ashurst has made a senior hire in London, bringing in Jacques McChesney as a partner from Shearman & Sterling to boost its high yield practice. Prior to Shearman, McChesney was a partner at Latham & Watkins.

McChesney advises clients on restructurings, debt tender/consent solicitations and private placements in multiple jurisdictions across Europe. ‘Jacques is an exceptional practitioner with a great breadth of experience,’ said Anna-Marie Slot, Ashurst’s global head of high yield. ‘Our practice continues to focus on advising on first-of-a-kind and complex deals for clients to capitalise on the high yield opportunities across EMEA. Adding Jacques’ significant expertise and established reputation is an important next step in further building our offering.’

Akin Gump has hired an international trade partner from US rival WilmerHale, with Naboth van den Broek making the switch. Previously co-chair of WilmerHale’s international group, van den Broek will operate out of Akin Gump’s London, Washington DC, and Geneva offices, advising companies and governments on international dispute settlement, policy and regulatory issues.

Van den Broek announced: ‘Akin Gump’s team is the premier international trade group in the world, and I am looking forward to being part of it. We are at a crossroads in terms of the challenges that companies and governments face today. I am looking forward to leveraging the firm’s global platform to help clients as they face these issues and try to navigate them. I can’t wait to get started.’

In another loss for WilmerHale, Willkie Farr & Gallagher has launched an international arbitration practice in London through the appointment of barrister Duncan Speller as a partner. Speller is a vastly experienced arbitration counsel who has represented clients in over 100 institutional and ad hoc arbitrations in jurisdictions spanning Europe, the US and Asia. He has a particular background in disputes concerning aviation, oil and gas, insurance and reinsurance, telecommunications, private equity, banking and competition law issues.

Speller said: ‘I have seen Willkie’s London office take increasing market share over the past couple of years and believe its client base, dynamic growth and ambitions for the future are an excellent fit. I have been inspired by the resoundingly positive response to the move and look forward to launching a world-class international arbitration team in London.’

Gary Born, chair of the international arbitration practice at WilmerHale, commented: ‘We are delighted by, and fully supportive of, Duncan’s new enterprise. We wish him and his new colleagues all the best and are confident that they will be a good fit.’

Hogan Lovells has bolstered its antitrust and competition practice with the hire of ex-Allen & Overy partner Michel Struys in Brussels. Joining from boutique firm Van Bael & Bellis, Struys possesses high-profile litigation experience before the EU courts while also advising on all aspects of EU competition law. He also has valuable experience gained from serving six years in the Court of Justice of the European Union as a law clerk.

US firm Haynes and Boone has made a significant addition to its London office, appointing former Bird & Bird energy specialist Conrad Purcell as a partner. He assists a range of clients on the financing and development of major infrastructure projects in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Jeff Nichols, co-chair of Haynes and Boone’s energy practice, said: ‘Conrad has handled virtually all aspects of infrastructure projects, from the planning stages to completion, in many markets across the world. His experience allows him to deftly guide clients so that they reach their strategic objectives in an efficient and commercially viable manner.’

Bevan Brittan has undergone a major expansion in the last week, hiring three new partners as well as three senior associates to drastically improve its bench strength. Construction partners Helen Andrews and Sarah Wilson join from Fieldfisher and Knights respectively, while former Eversheds Sutherland higher education corporate specialist and principal associate Rachel Soundy also joins as a partner.

Andrews and Wilson will be based in Bevan Brittan’s Birmingham office while Soundy will be based in Leeds. Duncan Weir, the firm’s managing partner, said: ‘The arrival of Helen, Sarah and Rachel, in Birmingham and Leeds, means we have now recruited six partners in 2021, with more to follow. It is especially pleasing to see all three join emerging markets of construction and higher education, supporting our ambitious business strategy as we look to build on our eighth consecutive year of revenue growth.’

Walker Morris has expanded its banking capabilities through the appointment of Philip Scott as a partner and its new head of banking. Joining from Pinsent Masons where he led the Yorkshire banking team, Scott has been ranked as a ‘leading individual’ by The Legal 500 in the Yorkshire and The Humber banking and finance category .

Having acted for a wide range of banks, debt funds, equity houses and corporate borrowers, Scott is recognised as a specialist in corporate and property financing work for national clearing banks and local corporates. He said of his move: ‘Along with its unique position as a one-site firm located in Leeds, Walker Morris’ entrepreneurial philosophy, breadth of expertise and commercial flair give it a distinctive edge and I am looking forward to taking on a leading role within the team.’

Elsewhere, Mishcon de Reya is striking out further into Asia via an association with Hong Kong law firm Karas. It is the third major bolt-on to be announced since the firm’s partnership ratified plans earlier this month to float, with a disputes financing solution in partnership with Harbour Litigation Funding called MDR Solutions already revealed. Last week, Mishcon also announced a combination with legal and consultancy business Taylor Vinters.

The Hong Kong tie-up will create a disputes and investigations practice focusing on complex, high-value matters such as those arising from corporate collapses, professional negligence and commercial fraud. Karas will bring to the table a team of 20 locally qualified lawyers, as well as experience in financing disputes on a global basis.

The new practice will be led by disputes specialist Jason Karas, who founded Lipman Karas in Kong Kong in 2009. Mishcon executive chairperson Kevin Gold commented: ‘In our conversations with Jason, it is clear that our shared values and ambitions for growth in Asia as well as the synergy with our existing dispute resolution, investigations and insolvency practices in London and Singapore makes for an exciting partnership.’

White & Case has taken an experienced partner from Latham & Watkins in Seoul, hiring project development and finance partner Sungjin Kang. Kang has spent 20 years assisting Korean and international developers, sponsors and other clients on a variety of project-related transactions.

Andrew Clark, White & Case’s regional section head for Asia-Pacific, explained the thinking behind Kang’s hire: ‘Sungjin is a well-known project development and finance specialist and a native Korean speaker, with strong ties to the Korean corporate and finance market.’

Withers has expanded its Los Angeles office, bringing in real estate partner Loretta Thompson from US firm Greenspoon & Marder. Focusing on both commercial and residential real estate, one of Thompson’s most notable mandates saw her advise on the sale of the Playboy Mansion for a record-setting $100m.

Finally, in Colombia, Kennedys has hired disputes partner Maurico Carvajal-Garcia from local firm Carvajal Valek Abogados. Carvajal-Garcia is a specialist in disputes arising from the insurance, reinsurance, marine, shipping and transport sectors.