Legal Business Blogs

Revolving doors: Paul Weiss makes another key London hire as firms bolster disputes and finance teams

In a continuation of Paul Weiss’ impressive recruitment efforts in London, Nicole Kar has joined the US firm as a partner, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Recognised in The Legal 500 Hall of Fame for her expertise in competition law, Kar has dedicated more than twenty years of her career to Linklaters, joining the firm in 2001 and most recently heading up its antitrust and foreign investment practice.

Specialising in EC and UK merger control and antitrust regulation, Kar has overseen over 40 merger control investigations worldwide. She serves as a key adviser to a diverse roster of financial institutions, retailers, mining groups, and healthcare operators on a range of global investigations.

Her departure will be keenly felt at Linklaters, which has worked to rebuild its competition offering since Simon Pritchard left for Latham & Watkins in March, including with the October hire of Bruce Kilpatrick, a fellow Legal 500 EU and Competition Hall of Famer and formerly head of competition and regulatory at Addleshaw Goddard.

Kar was not the only London partner to leave the magic circle firm this week: leveraged finance partner Noel Hughes also departed, joining Skadden’s capital markets group. Specialising in high yield bond financings and leveraged buyouts, Hughes has experience across the natural resources and energy sectors, infrastructure, and telecommunications sectors. He is dual-qualified in New York and English law.

Meanwhile, Irish law firm Matheson has bolstered its private capital offering with the hire of corporate partner Rory Mullarkey into its London office. This marks a return to the law for Mullarkey, who was most recently a partner at Kirkland & Ellis before leaving the firm in January 2022 after fifteen years. He was a long-term relationship partner for both Bain Capital and Apax Partners while at Kirkland.

Standout deals for Mullarkey include advising Inmarsat and its controlling consortium of private equity investors on its 2021 $7.3bn combination with Viasat, as well as advising Bain Capital on the acquisition of ITP Aero from Rolls Royce for €1.7 bn the same year.

Speaking to Legal Business, Mullarkey commented: ‘I spent probably the last four or five months talking to people in the Irish market trying to get a sense of who does what. I must have spoken to close to 100 people and the move was a result of triangulating all those conversations to find the best opportunity for a private capital platform.’

On his plans at the firm, he said: ‘The idea is to try and pull together the teams and think about how we offer legal services to private capital providers doing work in the Irish market or through the Irish market. When thinking about private capital, both the key strands like private equity, but also the bits like private debt, which has obviously become more and more important since the global financial crash, the idea is to get everyone thinking about what private capital clients want to get out of law firms. Matheson has a strong position already, and part of the opportunity is to grow what the business has already been growing and to also grow its private funds business.’

Elsewhere, Quinn Emanuel has appointed Gemma Anderson as a partner in its disputes practice. Moving from Morrison & Foerster, Anderson’s practice focuses on contentious insolvency, privacy and data protection, and technology and contractual disputes.

Standout cases for Anderson include acting for Fujitsu Services in the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry as well as representing SoftBank regarding Credit Suisse’s US$440m claim relating to Greensill Capital’s collapse.

‘After fourteen great years at Morrison & Foerster, I was ready for a new challenge. Quinn Emanuel is a go-to firm for litigators given its stellar reputation and the high-profile cases it handles. I’d watched the growth of the firm in London with interest.  Having worked with Richard East and his team as co-counsel on a case for SoftBank, the quality of the lawyers and the camaraderie of the team was evident and confirmed to me that it would be a great fit,’ Anderson told Legal Business.

‘Quinn Emanuel is a highly entrepreneurial and collegiate firm and I think the combination of the strong brand and the reduced conflict model is very appealing to clients. I plan to embrace that and work together with Quinn colleagues to cultivate relationships, win significant mandates, and contribute to the continued growth of the London office,’ she added.

Meanwhile, Ropes & Gray has appointed Benoit Lavigne to its finance practice. Lavigne moves from King & Spalding and was previously a partner at Ropes & Gray between 2013 and 2018. He will rejoin the firm in early January.

His clients include private credit providers, other lenders, and borrowers. Lavigne has experience advising on general corporate lending, asset-based lending, acquisition finance, restructuring and workouts.

Discussing his return to Ropes & Gray with Legal Business, Lavigne said: ‘Firstly, the platform is better because it is stronger on the corporate side. Secondly, in terms of the private credit side of my practice, King & Spalding has a clear strategy, but it is a strategy which is focused on performing credit. Ropes & Gray is more all rounded as a platform.’

Giving his predictions for 2024 he said: ‘Borrowers are more likely to run more dual track processes in 2023 as the syndicated markets open up.’

In international moves, Allen & Overy has hired Tiffany Toh, strengthening its funds and asset management capabilities at its Singapore office. Toh moves from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and she is set to join A&O in January 2024.

Toh has experience advising private fund sponsors and institutional investors on matters including fundraising and fund formation, co-investments, spin outs, internal arrangements, GP and LP-led secondaries transactions and regulatory compliance. She is qualified in both Singapore law and New York law.

Meanwhile, Seyfarth Shaw has added two former Stroock & Stroock & Lavan partners to its securities and financial litigation practices. Litigators E. Scott Morvillo and Ellen Murphy moved from the dissolving firm to Seyfarth’s New York office.