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Revolving doors: DLA, Kirkland and Pinsents bring in partners as firms gear up for the crucial post-summer period

With August drawing to a close, London’s simmering lateral hire market is already heating up again with DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Kirkland & Ellis and Debevoise & Plimpton among the firms bringing in new partners.

At DLA Piper, the firm’s finance team made its first hires since Maurice Allen’s appointment in March as a consultant, appointing ex-Kirkland & Ellis and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Philip Crump in London and Kirkland partner Doug Murning.

The appointment of the high-profile veteran Allen was touted as part of a bid to push DLA’s City finance practice up the food chain. Crump’s practice covers traditional sponsor and lender side leveraged finance as well as special situations and private deals for alternative credit providers. Murning, who will initially split his time between London and Hong Kong, is focused on leveraged finance and restructuring.

DLA’s international head of finance and projects Martin Bartlam said: ‘Phil is extremely knowledgeable and highly thought of in the leverage finance market. Doug is a well-reputed finance lawyer who provides immense energy, enabling us to further service the growing markets in Europe and Asia.’

Kirkland, meanwhile, was characteristically active in the transfer market through August, hiring Ropes & Gray investment funds specialist Anand Damodaran. The appointment adds to a striking recent run of recruitment between the two US leaders, unquestionably two of the most successful and ambitious US firms bred outside of New York over the last decade. Damodaran is the sixth partner Kirkland has taken from Ropes in the last two weeks following the hire of a five-partner investigations and government enforcement team from Ropes’ offices in the US, UK and Asia. The team compromised Chicago managing partner and global anti-corruption co-chair Asheesh Goel and Zachary Brez. Chicago anti-corruption partner Kim Nemirow, London-based Marcus Thompson and Cori Lable in Hong Kong made up the remainder of the group.

Pinsents also made a double City hire, boosting its corporate finance practice with Julian Stanier and Gareth Jones from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), a duo specialising in advising investment banks, corporate brokers and other intermediaries. Recent work includes acting for BCA Marketplace (formerly Haversham) on its £1.2bn reverse takeover and Sanne Group on its IPO.

Elsewhere, Debevoise has hired Legal 500-ranked insurance transactional and regulatory lawyer Clare Swirski from Clifford Chance in London. The New York-bred law firm has long been established as one of the US’s most prominent industry specialists in the insurance sector.

Debevoise presiding partner Michael Blair said Swirski would be advising some of the firm’s largest institutional clients. He added: ‘Our insurance practice is centred on strong teams in key financial centres, which we have reinforced in recent times with promotions in Hong Kong and London. The arrival of Clare is the latest step in that strategy, bringing as she does a wealth of experience and a deserved reputation as one of the sharpest lawyers in the market.’

Further afield, Dentons has made another hire from Baker McKenzie in its recently-launched Amsterdam branch, bringing in corporate partner Kuif Klein Wassink. The firm had only just recruited a four-lawyer team to launch its tax practice in the city. Dentons, which operates as Dentons Boekel in the Netherlands, also hired two partners from Clifford Chance’s energy team – David Griston in Amsterdam and Petr Zákoucký in Prague.

A clearer test of the appetite for top level European recruitment will emerge in September, but indications so far are that major firms are shrugging off concerns over the City and the UK economy to keep spending.