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Revolving doors: Magic Circle loses partners in Europe and Asia while Bakers hires in Africa

Last week saw both Clifford Chance (CC) and Allen & Overy (A&O) lose partners in Europe while, in Hong Kong, Linklaters lost a capital markets partner to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. In South Africa, Baker & McKenzie made a significant hire, bringing in DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s head of projects and infrastructure.

Following a string of prominent departures, including Oliver Felsenstein to Latham & Watkins and Arndt Stengel to Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, CC lost another partner in Germany last week. This time CMS Hasche Sigle picked up corporate partner Wolfgang Richter, a specialist on stock corporation law and capital markets. Richter’s past experience has seen him work extensively with Volkswagen including on recent capital increases and note offerings.

He will join CMS on 1 May after having been with CC since 1989 and where he was made up to partner in 1993. His hire comes as CMS Hasche Sigle increasingly targets high-quality transactions and attempts to consolidate its position in the German market.

In neighbouring France A&O also lost a corporate partner with M&A specialist Marcus Billam joining Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier. Billam was made partner at CC in 2000 before moving to A&O along with a 5-lawyer team in 2010. He has worked closely with Vivendi, most recently on its sale of subsidiary GVT for €7.5bn. He joins with Jean-Baptiste de Martigny, counsel at A&O, but who will be promoted to partner in January 2016.

Meanwhile, Linklaters’ David Ludwick left the firm in Hong Kong to join fellow Magic Circle firm Freshfields‘ partnership. Ludwick is joining the capital markets team with experience in equity securities offerings including IPOs, private placements, rights issues and block trades, as well as debt transactions including high yield and investment grade debt offerings.

Commenting on the appointment, Freshfields senior partner Will Lawes said: ‘David’s arrival, alongside other recent hires in New York, reinforces our ability to help clients on their capital markets transactions in any of the world’s major listing jurisdictions.’

Robert Ashworth, managing partner of the firm’s Asia practice, added that Ludwick, who had been a partner at Linklaters since 2005, possessed a scarce combination of technical skills and geographic knowledge in the Asian market. He commented: ‘David has advised on a prolific number of deals for clients in recent years, dealing with both debt and equity. As companies and institutions look for more flexibility in how they raise and use capital, they are increasingly looking for advisors that have the breadth of expertise that David offers.’

Freshfields also boosted its regional offering with Steve Wonsuk Kang, who joined as counsel and head of the South Korea practice from Paul Hastings.

Outside of Asia and the Magic Circle, Bakers appointed Kieran Whyte as a partner in its projects and energy practice. Whyte joins from DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr where he was the national head of projects and infrastructure. He has over 25 years’ experience and led the firm’s team on Phase 1 of South Africa’s successful Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme

In London, DLA Piper turned to a US firm to bolster its finance and projects offering with the appointment of Denise Hamer from Richards, Kibbe & Orbe. She specialises in finance and debt restructuring, including financial restructuring, portfolio and asset management, and distressed debt acquisition and sale, with a particular focus on central and eastern Europe.