Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: Lateral market continues apace as private equity and regulatory dominate in the City

Leading the moves this week, Goodwin has hired McDermott partner Arvin Abraham for its private equity practice in London. He brings with him experience advising on transactions for private equity sponsors, venture capital funds and strategic investors, mainly in the fintech, healthcare and life sciences sectors.

Speaking to Legal Business about why he decided to move, Abraham said: ‘Partly due to several overlapping client relationships and synergies. But, equally so for the firm’s collaborative culture and demonstrated strengths in each of my areas of focus. I can’t think of a firm that better combines expertise in private equity and venture capital transactions and sector specialism in fintech, healthcare and so much more.’

Discussing the market trends over the coming months, he continued: ‘The fintech sector continues to face significant headwinds, particularly with late-stage venture funding becoming harder to come by. While buyout activity remains muted overall, we are seeing an increase in distressed acquisitions, including both acquisitions of struggling rivals by healthier competitors and opportunistic purchases of distressed businesses in or near zone of insolvency by private equity sponsors.’

Also in the private equity space, DLA Piper has snapped up private equity tax specialist David Quantrill. He joins from advisory firm Trellech Advisers, and has previously worked at Deloitte, PwC and FTI Consulting. He has experience on high value transactions for leading US, European and Asia-Pacific buy-out firms, sovereign wealth funds and direct investors.

However, DLA Piper also lost partner Patrick Rappo after five years at the firm. He is set to join Reed Smith this week in its global regulatory investigation and enforcement practice in London.

Elsewhere in the City, Pinsent Masons has hired data and information law partner Jaya Handa for its technology, science and industry sector in London. She returns to the firm where she began her career, before moving in-house to insurer Liberty Specialty Markets in 2016.

Speaking about her move, Handa said: ‘I returned to Pinsent Masons due to its market leading work, client driven focus, reputation of innovation, diverse culture, strong values and its positioning as a broader professional services business with law at the core.’

Eversheds Sutherland has expanded its leveraged finance capability with the hire of Ben Davis from Proskauer Rose. He will head up the leveraged finance private credit funds practice in London. Davis has previously worked at Reed Smith, Travers Smith and Allen & Overy.

Davis said of his move: ‘I was really attracted by both the entrepreneurial and dynamic management culture and the firm’s really credible European finance capabilities, which create an excellent opportunity to develop a leading mid-market pan-European private credit practice.’

Discussing the market trends in the leveraged finance space over the coming months, he continued: ‘We expect private equity-backed M&A activity to rebound later this year or early next year and that will provide some interesting investment opportunities for credit funds, but at the same time all credit funds are keeping a close eye on their portfolios at the moment – both in terms of lending to existing borrowers to support accretive M&A for performing businesses and also in managing any stressed situations.’

Over in New York, Dechert lost private equity partners Edward Lemanowicz and Derek Winokur to Milbank. Lemanowicz will join the firm’s global tax group and Winokur will join its global corporate group.

Also in the US, Dentons has snapped up a trio of long-time partners from Perkins Coie. Partners Adams Docks, Jordan McCarthy and Lindsay Jewell who have all spent over a decade at their former firm have joined Dentons’ global hotels and leisure practice. Docks and McCarthy will be based in Chicago, while Jewell will be based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Baker Botts has welcomed energy regulatory partner Shailesh Sahay to its litigation department in Washington DC. He joins from international firm Foley Hoag where he spent just over two years, including seven months as a partner.

Finally, Watson Farley & Williams hired partner Boon Tat Yeo for its disputes practice area in Singapore. He joins from Quahe Woo & Palmer where he was a director and brings with him more than 18 years of experience advising across infrastructure, construction, engineering disputes and arbitrations. He is dual qualified in both Singapore and England & Wales.