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Revolving Doors: King & Spalding adds London funds partner as White & Case launches Australia debt finance practice

There is a financial focus to this week’s round up, with investment funds, debt finance and financial services regulation among the targeted areas both in the City and internationally.

King & Spalding stood out among the City elite, as it recruited partner Stephen Sims into its London private funds and alternative capital team. Joining from management consultant MJ Hudson, Sims previously led the European investment management team at Skadden and advises on fund formation as it relates to private equity, real assets, infrastructure and energy funds, in addition to fund-related M&A transactions.

Speaking to Legal Business, Sims said: ‘I’ve known King & Spalding for many years. I worked on a significant transaction against them, almost a decade ago. Why join King & Spalding now? It’s an exciting place, the firm is growing across the different areas of the private capital lifecycle. People used to focus on private equity or hedge funds or other sectors, now we think about private capital which is really all the sources of people who are making private investments.’

Sims is the latest in a string of arrivals into King & Spalding’s European corporate, finance and investments group. Amit Kataria and Paul Barron arrived in London in October, while the Paris and Frankfurt offices have also seen significant additions in recent months.

Sims added: ‘When you look at the firm, it is attracting some bright young talents and has got the ability to give the full lifecycle advice to a fund manager, such as investment management, secondaries and disputes, as well as exits. I wanted to work with a firm that is able to deliver all of that across all the major jurisdictions.’

Reed Smith has also been active, hiring Romin Dabir as a partner in London. Having taken a brief career break earlier in the year, Dabir was most recently a partner in the financial services regulatory team at Kirkland & Ellis, after previously working at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Macfarlanes.

Reed Smith financial industry co-chair Panos Katsambas said: ‘We are delighted to welcome a lawyer of Romin’s calibre to the firm. He is a hugely talented practitioner with extensive experience in advising on a wide range of financial regulatory matters and is well known in the market. In fact, several of our clients are already very familiar with him.’

Meanwhile, DMH Stallard has recruited former Natwest in-house lawyer Michael Lynch into its City restructuring and insolvency team. Lynch brings expertise in insolvency litigation, having acted for parties in complex and often multijurisdictional disputes.

On the continent, Eversheds Sutherland has brought funds lawyer Claudia Hoffmann into its Luxembourg office. Formerly a counsel at Luxembourg independent firm Arendt & Medernach, Hoffman focuses on advising investment managers, sponsors and investors on the restructuring of alternative investment funds.

In Sydney, White & Case launched its Australian debt finance practice by hiring partners David Kirkland and Mark Wesseldine. Kirkland, who arrived from Gilbert + Tobin, has expertise in cross-border leveraged finance transactions. Wesseldine has returned to Australia after a stint in London at Allen & Overy and, most recently, King & Spalding, where he represented credit funds, financial institutions, and investors on multi-tranche and unitranche capital investments.

Finally, DWF has entered the Canadian market by acquiring Vancouver-headquartered independent firm Whitelaw Twining for £27.7m. Whitelaw, which focused on insurance, commercial litigation and personal injury and posted revenues of £20m in 2021, adds to DWF’s profile in North America, as well as its global focus on insurance.

DWF CEO Sir Nigel Knowles said: ‘We are delighted to be enhancing our offering in the Canadian legal market. Whitelaw Twining is one of the country’s top legal businesses and represents a high-quality opportunity for our clients. It also allows us to expand our claims and adjusting presence in Canada and wider Connected Services and Mindcrest capabilities in North America.’