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Revolving doors: City laterals bounce back with Milbank, Weightmans and Lewis Silkin

City lateral recruitment regained momentum following a slow Christmas holiday break, with Milbank, Weightmans, and Lewis Silkin all making hires in London.

Milbank hired M&A partner Lisa O’Neill from McDermott Will & Emery in London. O’Neill has experience in corporate and energy transactions with clients including FTSE 250 companies, international and independent oil & gas companies, financial institutions, global investment firms and private equity funds.

Global head of corporate group Norbert Rieger commented: ‘The addition of Lisa underscores our commitment to growing our global M&A practice at the highest levels in the market. She is well respected and knowledgeable in a range of industries, and her depth of experience advising corporates on sophisticated M&A transactions will be invaluable to our clients.’

Also in the City, Weightmans doubled up with the hires of healthcare partner Kiran Sekhon and criminal regulatory partner Lili Oliver.

Sekhon joins the firm as a healthcare partner from Capsticks and has over 17 years’ experience in medical defence litigation. Oliver, meanwhile, joins from Clyde & Co where she was head of corporate risk in the safety, health and environmental department.

Partner and head of Weightmans’ London office Tim Lang told Legal Business: ‘Lili and Kiran are true leaders in their fields and great additions to our fast-growing London offering. [We have] almost 20 new partners across the firm this year alone, and we are looking forward to continuing this momentum into next year.’

Elsewhere, Lewis Silkin hired planning partner Sara Hanrahan to its real estate practice group as head of the planning team from Blake Morgan, where she was also head of planning.

Hanrahan has experience in advising clients in the public and private sector on contentious and non-contentious planning matters and has advised private developers, infrastructure and utilities firms, retails and leisure operators and high net worth investors.

Managing partner Giles Crown told Legal Business: ‘We were looking to deepen our offering and fill in gaps in certain key areas and one aspect of that was a fairly long standing search to replace planning expertise. There are a number of aspects of what we were looking for that Sara very ably fulfills.’

The team focuses on four core areas, corporate occupiers, retail including luxury and leisure, development work and investor work including family and high net worth individuals.

Hanrahan told Legal Business: ‘I do have experience in the four areas of real estate that the firm is looking to develop. I think therefore the synergy with the experience I have and the vision that the firm has for the next few years goes together very well.’

In Birmingham, Hogan Lovells office head Michael Gallimore left the firm to join boutique planning law firm Town Legal as partner.

Gallimore joined Hogan Lovells as partner in 1988 and was head of planning between 1998 and 2016 before becoming head of the firm’s Birmingham office in 2017.

Gallimore told Legal Business: ‘I had come to the end of my period heading up the office in Birmingham, so it was a natural point for me to consider what I wanted to do going forward and the opportunity arose to join Town Legal. I was very keen to get back into client facing work and I knew a number of partners from Town Legal.

‘The big advantage of the firm is that it’s absolutely focused on planning work and therefore the level of investment that they’re able to make, the strong commitment and the depth of experience that they’ve got in the planning field was a real attraction. They’re not diverted by other practice areas.’

In December, Hogan Lovells also lost its planning team head Claire Dutch to Ashurst.

Finally, Dentons added partner Robert Weber from White & Case to its corporate practice in Germany.

Weber has more than 20 years’ experience in stock corporation law and related capital markets law. Managing partner of the German office Andreas Ziegenhagen said: ‘The fact that we are investing both in classic fields of advice such as stock corporation law, and in future-oriented, technology-supported legal advice reflects the dynamic development of our German practice.’