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Revolving doors: Sidley makes triple acquisition among spate of senior City hires

It was a significant week of expansion for Sidley as it made a trio of eye-catching partner hires in London. Private equity partners Dan Graham and Paul Dunbar and finance partner Emilie Stewart have all joined from Vinson & Elkins, marking a serious investment in the City.

Graham focuses on advising private equity funds on wide range of transactions while Dunbar’s practice spans private equity M&A, real estate private equity, distressed asset transactions and non-performing loan acquisitions. Meanwhile, Stewart concentrates on cross-border financing deals, also with a focus on real estate private equity.

Thomas Thesing, managing partner of Sidley’s London office, confidently announced that the three partners ‘will have an immediate impact on our strong and growing private equity practice’ and added: ‘Their commitment to client service has been clearly demonstrated by the longstanding relationships they have built with industry-leading private equity firms, many of whom are also Sidley clients.’

Meanwhile, former Clifford Chance disputes partner John Curran has joined specialist insurance firm Indemnity Legal. Solicitor-advocate Curran departs Fenchurch Law having spent 20 years at CC earlier in his career, bringing to Indemnity Legal considerable experience in acting for policyholders in complex, high-value disputes with insurers.

Alongside this marquee hire, newly-founded Indemnity Legal will be opening a new office in the heart of London’s insurance district.  Curran said: ‘It’s important, now more than ever, that if you have a claim against an insurance company, you have someone in your corner who can match their expertise. I spent 25 years of my career acting for insurers and now, I want to use that experience to make sure that genuine insurance claims are paid. Everyone at Indemnity Legal has this same goal.’

Greenberg Traurig has also opted for a senior appointment in London, hiring Latham & Watkins’ former European head of restructuring and special situations, John Houghton. Houghton will act as the new chair of Greenberg’s  London restructuring and bankruptcy practice, bringing with him over 20 years’ experience on complex cross-border restructurings, insolvencies and corporate rescues.

‘We have been patiently building a world-class restructuring and bankruptcy practice, across the US and around the world’, said Richard Rosenbaum, Greenberg’s executive chairman. ‘While markets and deals remain very strong, every instinct tells us that we are not far from a time when our restructuring, bankruptcy and disputes lawyers will be busier than ever. Experience tells us that the time to build for the next cycle is before it gets here, and that hiring top-quality, seasoned talent, and collaborating as a unified global team, are the keys to being ready when it comes.’

Pinsent Masons has sought out a local specialist in Scotland for its latest partner hire, appointing oil and gas expert Bruce McLeod in Aberdeen. Joining from Burness Paull after a 17-year stint, McLeod has an extensive track-record advising on energy infrastructure and M&A negotiations, and has been central to a number of innovative deals, particularly in the UK and Egypt. He also brings strong industry experience, garnered from a commercial management role with BP.

Melanie Grimmitt, head of energy at Pinsent Masons, described McLeod as ‘an extremely well regarded and hands-on lawyer in the oil and gas space’ and cited his work on ‘very complex transactions that complement our portfolio well’.

Further afield, Clyde & Co has bolstered its insurance presence in Australia, re-hiring partner David Kerwin from domestic firm Barry.Nilsson. An experienced litigator, Kerwin also brings expertise in complex insurance matters involving property risks, financial lines, professional indemnity, policy coverage and defence health or life insurance lines.

Kerwin brings with him an experienced team, including two special counsel, one senior associate and two associates. Lucinda Lyons, head of insurance in Australia for Clyde & Co, said: ‘David is a strong addition to our team in Brisbane and is well known to us, having spent his formative years here.’