Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: Paul Hastings adds two as McDermott boosts energy expertise

US firms have dominated transactional recruitment this week while UK-headquartered peers have focused on bolstering their disputes capabilities.

Paul Hastings continues its auspicious London growth trajectory, which saw its City revenue surge 41% in 2021/22, with a dual partner hire. The firm announced the addition of Jason Brooks to its structured credit team this week following the arrival of private equity partner Tom Cartwright last week.Brooks, who joins from CMS, adds to a team that handled 116 collateralised loan obligation transactions in 2021, which the firm claims amount to a 50% share of the European market. Seth Zachary, chairman of Paul Hastings, said: ‘Our clients require innovative thinking and timely advice in the wake of today’s uncertain markets – and they require seasoned specialists to help them maintain growth sustainably. With his depth of experience across highly complex financial structures, Jason is a strong addition to our UK and global structured credit and securitisation practice.’

Arriving from Morgan Lewis, Cartwright adds experience acting for private equity sponsors, sovereign wealth funds, and family offices on private equity investments and M&A transactions. These hires follow the 2021 additions of leveraged finance partner Adrian Chiodo from Latham & Watkins (Latham), funds partner Ted Craig who joined from Dentons and securities and capital markets expert Max Kirchner from Proskauer Rose.

Meanwhile, McDermott Will & Emery has added project development expert Shah Jahan Khandokar to its energy and infrastructure practice. Khandokar joins from Hogan Lovells and brings expertise covering a range of energy subsectors including conventional power, renewables, hydrogen, oil and gas, LNG and trading; he recently acted for a consortium led by BP and SOCAR on the $40bn Shah Deniz 2 gas project in Azerbaijan.

Predicting an upcoming increase in contentious financial services work in the City, Stephenson Harwood has bolstered its disputes practice with the addition of Dan Smith from Latham. Said co-head of the commercial litigation practice group, Edward Davis: ‘It has been a fairly benign economic environment in recent years and so the litigation market has been relatively quiet, certainly compared to say 10 years ago, but we see that changing and we see financial services investigations as well as funds and private equity disputes growing as well.’

Smith’s experience includes acting for banks, private equity houses and in investment banking, insolvencies, and bribery and corruption disputes. ‘He has an excellent reputation and has been involved in some really high-profile, cross-border and complex cases, particularly with a focus on financial services. This complements not only our existing strength in litigation but also one of our areas of focus for growth which is financial services, funds and private capital litigation,’ added Davis.

Staying on the contentious theme, ONTIER has strengthened its commercial litigation team with the addition of Amy Harvey from Peters & Peters. Harvey, who acted for the Republic of Mozambique in $2bn Commercial Court proceedings against Credit Suisse, also frequently represents high-net-worth individuals in cross-border disputes. Her arrival follows that of Aoife Keane from Seddons in April.

Finally, across the Atlantic, Dechert has hired tax partner Kevin Zaragoza in New York from Covington. He will complement the firm’s transactional private equity practice with his extensive experience advising sponsors and their portfolio companies on domestic and cross-border tax aspects of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and collaborations. His arrival marks the firm’s third lateral hire to its US private equity team this year, following that of Charlotte-based David Cosgrove from Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Nicole Macarchuk, who joined in San Francisco from Angel Island Capital in April.