There was no love lost between firms in the lateral market last week, with DAC Beachcroft, Withers and Reed Smith being the primary movers in the City while Morgan Lewis led a trio of firms looking further afield to the Middle East and Asia Pacific to expand their international benches.
In the most significant City move of the week, DAC Beachcroft secured the hire of Chris Wall to head up its banking team. A rare partner departure for Kirkland in London, Wall will now be situated in London and Bristol for DAC Beachcroft, heading its banking team as well as leading members from its real estate finance and corporate practices.John Williams, head of business advisory at DAC Beachcroft, commented: ‘Chris’s recruitment as head of banking represents a major statement from the firm and its business advisory and real estate teams. His broad-based finance credentials and blue-chip CV meant his signature was much sought after. We think we have hired an exceptional candidate and now have a great opportunity to really develop our banking and finance practice.’
Meanwhile Withers also made a move in London, recruiting reputation and privacy partner Jo Sanders from City competitor Harbottle & Lewis. Sanders has acted for an array of business individuals in the press and broadcast sectors, as well as advising numerous victims involved in the phone hacking scandal.
Finishing off the moves in the City, Reed Smith hired Elle Todd from CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, where she had led the firm’s digital and data offering as partner. Todd specialises in data protection and technology deals and had previously set up the media, data and technology practice in Asia for CMS.
DLA Piper meanwhile made a move on the continent, hiring M&A partner José María Gil-Robles in Madrid from Spanish leader Garrigues. Gil-Robles regularly advices on hedge funds and on the sale and purchase of credit portfolios, and will now bolster DLA’s Spanish corporate practice.
Further afield Morgan Lewis made two bold international plays, adding an investment management, tax and corporate team in Washington and opening shop in Abu Dhabi, benefiting from a slew of exits from Squire Patton Boggs. In the US the firm hired three partners, with Squire Patton Boggs’ former sovereign and institutional investors practice head Courtney Nowell leading the team. Meanwhile tax partner Gregg Buksbaum and tax partner Kathryn Hambrick also joined.
In the Middle East the firm lured four partners from Squire Patton Boggs to open its Abu Dhabi base, with partner Bill Nash set to head the new office. Funds partner Alishia Sullivan and corporate partners Mark Gilligan and Jay Gladis joined Nash in decamping to the firm.
Ashurst was among the firms to make moves in the Asia Pacific, hiring Frédéric Draps as a partner in its projects practice, based in Jakarta, where he will work with association firm Oentoeng Suria & Partners. Draps joins from Allen & Overy’s Jakarta associated office Ginting & Reksodiputro, where he advised on a number of development and financing projects across the renewable energy, oil and gas sectors.
White & Case meanwhile made a move in Hong Kong, hiring private equity partner Daniel Yeh from American counterparts Ropes & Gray, where he had been for over three and a half years. Yeh will now lead the firm’s private equity practice in the Asia Pacific, having advised global and Asia-based sponsors, financial investors and their portfolio companies.
Chris Kelly, head of M&A in the Asia Pacific for White & Case, welcomed the hire: ‘The strong growth trajectory for private equity deal activity in Asia-Pacific is set to continue, and the arrival of our new partners is another milestone in the ongoing expansion of our capabilities in the region.’