Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: Departures from Clifford Chance and Linklaters as US firms continue to snap up talent in London

Paul Weiss continued to cut a swathe through the London market this week with a double partner hire from Clifford Chance. The US firm brought over Legal 500 private equity leading individual Christopher Sullivan, who led the UK private equity practice at CC, and acquisition finance partner Taner Hassan, who joins as head of European leveraged finance.

The hires are the latest in a flurry of London recruitment for Paul Weiss, which is targeting some of the top corporate and finance practices in London to build out its nascent English law offering following earlier recruits from Kirkland & Ellis and Linklaters.

Meanwhile, Reed Smith has hired Linklaters capital markets partner Mark Drury into its financial industry group. Drury, a specialist in structured finance with experience advising on matters relating to fintech and crypto, told Legal Business that he has joined to help grow the firm’s collateralised loan obligations offering (CLO) in Europe.

Despite a tough year for global markets, Drury is optimistic about future prospects: ‘The CLO market has seen a decline in new issuances this year as a result of macroeconomic headwinds, but there is a sense in the market that activity will pick up next year,’ he explains. ‘There is a lot of dry powder in the system and the global economy is showing positive signs due to interest rates beginning to stabilise.’

Drury spent nearly 20 years at Linklaters after training there in 2004, making partner in 2016. His departure marks another in a recent run of losses for the magic circle firm, which also saw antitrust foreign investment head Nicole Kar leave for Paul Weiss earlier this month and tax partner James Morgan leave for Kirkland & Ellis in November.

Elsewhere, funds partner Katie McMenamin has left Travers Smith for Simpson Thacher. McMenamin made partner at Travers in 2020, and her exit follows that of fellow funds partners Ed Ford and Sacha Gofton-Salmond, who also moved to Simpson Thacher in February. She has experience advising both borrowers and lenders on a variety of strategies and products including subscription and hybrid financing and secondary transactions.

In a notable hire for its white-collar practice, White & Case has recruited Macfarlanes corporate crime and investigations practice head Neill Blundell. A Legal 500 Hall of Famer, Blundell’s practice sees him advise both individuals and large corporates on a range of white-collar matters spanning from compliance to investigations.

The hire comes three years after the practice’s high-profile former head Jonathan Pickworth left for Paul Hastings with fellow white collar partner Joanna Dimmock. Blundell will now work alongside Jonah Anderson and Anneka Randhawa, who have co-led the team since Pickworth’s departure.

Bird & Bird has expanded its IP practice with the hire of life sciences and healthcare partner Nicole Jadeja. Jadeja, who was co-head of life sciences at Fieldfisher before leaving for Pinsent Masons in 2019, has experience in strategic IP advice and patent litigation, including for biotech companies working in gene and cell therapy.

Elsewhere, Morgan Lewis continued to grow in Germany, bringing in Bird & Bird private equity duo Hans ‘Peter’ Leube and Marianne Nawroth into its Frankfurt office. Leube previously headed Bird & Bird’s international PE group and German corporate practice, and both he and Nawroth focus on transactions in the telecoms and tech sectors.

Morgan Lewis opened in Munich in March with the hire of 20 lawyers from Shearman & Sterling, and the firm sets its two most recent hires in the context of an increasing focus on the German market, with firm chair Jami McKeon saying in a statement: ‘The opening of our Munich office earlier this year was an exciting step in our commitment to Germany, and with this move we continue our momentum to serve our clients in this significant and important legal and business market in Europe.’

Finally, King & Spalding expanded its Abu Dhabi corporate, finance and investments (CFI) practice group with its hire of Simon Fraser, who is recognised in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for oil, gas and natural resources in the UAE, and Matt Hartsuyker. Both lawyers join from Ashurst, where Hartsuyker was a senior associate and Fraser headed the firm’s Middle East corporate practice.