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Revolving Doors: Gibson Dunn loses another London corporate partner as Shearman hires former Freshfields senior hand

The recent City corporate merry-go-round at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has continued in the past week, with leading partner Nigel Stacey moving to Baker Botts in London. Meanwhile, Shearman & Sterling has hired former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Simon Marchant.

Stacey – one of the major names remaining at Gibson Dunn’s London office – has more than 20 years’ experience in mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance, acting for major corporate clients on a wide range of public and private transactions and advisory matters across numerous sectors, including TMT and life sciences. He has acted on some of the UK’s most high-profile transactions, and on deals with an aggregate value in excess of $600bn. 

‘We continue to attract premier talent to the firm and Nigel’s appointment further demonstrates our commitment to invest in the expansion of our London office, a critical element to the firm’s growth strategy,’ said John Martin, managing partner of Baker Botts. ‘Nigel is an outstanding lawyer with a market-leading corporate finance and public M&A practice, and he will add tremendous bench strength to our cross-border client capabilities.’  

However, Gibson Dunn made a lateral hire of its own from the Magic Circle in the US, recruiting Clifford Chance’s former US head of private funds, Roger Singer, in New York. 

Singer, who spent 24 years at CC before joining Gibson Dunn this month, regularly advises sponsors of private equity, real estate, natural resources, infrastructure and debt funds, as well as funds of funds, with a focus on real estate funds. His clients range from first time fund sponsors to the asset management divisions of major financial services firms. 

Shearman & Sterling has also indirectly tapped the Magic Circle for a senior name, although this time it is not technically a lateral hire: veteran corporate partner Simon Marchant will join as a senior advisor. Now a strategy and management consultant, Marchant was at Freshfields for more than 30 years and was managing partner for corporate in London, as well as a contender for the senior partner post.

Based in London, he will advise Shearman globally on firm and client strategy, lateral recruitment as well as team and profile building. He brings decades of executive management and board level experience within the legal industry in addition to advisory practice knowledge and management consulting expertise.

‘Simon’s reputation and experience as strategic advisor will be invaluable to us,’ said senior partner David Beveridge.  ‘His unique perspective, energy and passion will aid us in the continued execution of our long-term strategy, which includes growing revenues and maintaining our position as a global elite firm.’

Ward McKimm, European regional Mmnaging partner, added: ‘He brings unparalleled experience spanning leadership, advisory practice and management consultancy that will be a real asset to the firm. His dynamic approach will be crucial as we continue to pursue our strategic growth ambitions in Europe and beyond.’

Meanwhile in Italy, Dentons has hired white-collar crime partner Pasquale Annicchiarico, who joins after 15 years of private practice with his own boutique criminal law firm, Studio Legale Annicchiarico, which operated out of Milan and his hometown of Taranto.  

Annicchiarico has significant experience in the public administration sector. He has represented the Municipality of Taranto in over 40 important criminal trials and has assisted the top management of major public and private companies in the region. His clients include the Riva Group, which he has been representing since 2014 in several trials for environmental crimes, including the notorious Ilva case.  

He said: ‘Joining Dentons represents an important opportunity for me. Top tier clients increasingly prefer full-service law firms, which offer advantages related to time efficiency, knowledge sharing, and the immediate multidisciplinary evaluation of a case.’ 

In the UK, there have been more hires from some of the larger international players with roots in Leeds, following some movement at the start of the month. This time, long-established independent Leeds firm Walker Morris has hired pensions partner Liz Graham from Squire Patton Boggs, where she was head of its Leeds pensions team. 

Prior to SPB Graham headed up the team at North West firm LB100 Brabners, and has worked at a number of City and national firms. She recently guided a trustee client through the pensions law implications of an international takeover of the scheme’s sponsoring employer, advised on the pooling of local government pension scheme investments and acted for the trustee of a complex multi-employer scheme in the charity sector.  

Listed London disputes-focused firm Rosenblatt has made a double lateral hire, taking on competition partner Robert Bell from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and corporate finance/private equity specialist Jeremy Landau from Taylor Wessing.  

Bell has 30 years’ experience in competition law and had been a partner at Bryan Cave in London since 2013 since joining from Speechly Bircham, where he was also a partner. Landau had been a partner at Taylor Wessing since 2016 where he was a lateral hire from K&L Gates and specialises in TMT-related corporate transactions. 

Meanwhile, Addleshaw Goddard has looked in-house to bolster its energy practice, hiring Dragon Oil’s general counsel Paul Jones as a partner in its infrastructure, projects and energy (IPE) team.  

Jones, who is returning to London from Dubai, has extensive experience across the full energy-value chain, with a particular emphasis on advising clients on upstream oil and gas, LNG, energy transition projects to low carbon, and transactions across Africa and the Middle East.  

Prior to moving to the Middle East in 2016 – where he transitioned from a client secondment while at Bracewell to working for Dragon Oil as GC – he worked extensively across African markets in law firms in both Ghana and Tanzania, advising clients on transactions in over 20 countries across the continent. 

His hire follows on from the lateral hires of partners Suzanne Moir, from DWF and his former Bracewell colleague, Martin Stewart-Smith earlier this year, and according to the firm marks the tenth lateral hire into its IPE team in the past 18 months, as part of a strategic plan to grow its energy capability.  

Elsewhere in-house, Balfour Beatty has appointed a new GC and company secretary. Tracey Wood joins Costain Group, where she was also GC and company secretary. She joined Costain in 2006 and has been responsible for legal, company secretariat, HR and internal audit & risk.  Prior to Costain, she was a partner at legacy SPB firm, Hammonds, and has nearly 30 years’ experience in commercial and construction law.