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Revolving Doors: OC, Paul Hastings and Reed Smith bulk out their City offerings as HSF loses legacy Freehills partner in Singapore

Last week, Osborne Clarke, Reed Smith and Paul Hastings all expanded their City practices, while Clayton Utz hired Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) Singapore real estate head.

OC expanded its private equity practice with Russell Van Praagh joining as a corporate partner from McDermott Will & Emery as the firm looks to improve on the 32 private equity transactions it carried out in 2013, with a total deal value of £1.2bn.

Van Praagh joined the US firm from ailing Dewey & LeBoeuf in April 2012, alongside partner Mark Davis. He focuses on private equity, venture capital and investment work for institutions, family offices and private individuals.

Meanwhile, US firms Reed Smith and Paul Hastings both made laterals in London. White & Case’s technology lawyer Ashley Winton quit to join Paul Hastings’ City corporate practice as the firm pushes to expand its London technology and privacy practice. Winton advises on technology, IP and antitrust with particular emphasis on European regulatory issues and will officially join the firm on 3 November.

Reed Smith expanded its tax, benefits and wealth planning group with partner Simon Gough, DLA Piper’s former head of UK Tax. He focuses on structured and asset finance transactions as well as contentious tax matters.

Caspar Fox, head of Reed Smith’s European tax practice, said: ‘Simon is a renowned figure in the tax market. His welcome arrival will bolster our European offering, providing immediate benefits to our clients across our key sectors of media, financial services and shipping. His expertise will dovetail neatly with our current practice and provide valuable additional resource to our team.’

And while Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) ramped up in Asia with a double Ashurst hire (reported last week), the firm also lost real estate head, funds-focused corporate partner Simon Taskunas.

Taskunas rejoins Clayton Utz in its Perth office, after he left and relocated to join legacy firm Freehills in Singapore in 2006. Alongside Taskunas, property partner Danielle Mildren is also joining the firm from Minter Ellison, where she was a senior member of the firm’s property team. 

Taskunas specialises in multidisciplinary real estate sector work for clients based in Asia Pacific including institutional fund managers. He has experience in advising on structuring and investments, M&A, joint ventures, leasing, finance and property developments. Mildren’s new role starts from this month, while Taskunas will join the firm in January 2015.