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Revolving doors: Specialists and US firms build up in the City

Last week saw specialist and US firms strengthen their presence in the City and Europe as Kingsley Napley strengthened its disputes offering, Lee & Thompson hired a head of sports, Greenberg Traurig Maher brought in a corporate partner to its London office and McDermott Will & Emery hired a team of private equity lawyers in Paris.

Litigation specialist Kingsley Napley hired Will Christopher as a partner in its Dispute Resolution practice from Pinsent Masons. He specialises in civil fraud, asset recovery and investigations having led the business crime and commercial fraud group at McGrigors before its merger with Pinsents. Prior to that, he worked at Reid Minty and PCB Litigation focusing on fraud related litigation.

Meanwhile, Greenberg Traurig Maher expanded its City corporate team with the hire of corporate partner Joel Wheeler.

Wheeler joins Greenberg as an equity partner from Crowell & Moring where he has been a partner since 2009, with a focus on corporate and commercial matters, including M&A, private equity, debt and equity capital market offerings and corporate restructurings. He has experience on cross-border deals including in the US, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Kurdistan, China and Cambodia. Prior to Crowell, Wheeler worked at US firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

Greenberg chief executive officer Richard Rosenbaum said: ‘As the London office continues to target high profile, complex, cross-border deals, Joel’s extensive cross-border expertise across the US and Europe in particular, allows him to bring tremendous global experience and insight to this role. While Greenberg Traurig enjoys an outstanding transactional track record, we are increasingly looking to enhance and broaden the offering that our corporate and finance groups provide.’

The addition take Greenberg’s partner headcount in the City to 20 and almost 50 fee-earners but Wheeler’s exit will serve a blow to Crowell’s already small team in London, leaving just one full-time partner and London head Adrian Jones to hold the fort alongside three associates, and two other partners who both split their time between the London and Washington DC offices.

Another US firm also expanded its European offering as McDermott boosted its Paris office with a team of private equity specialists. The new arrivals consist of three partners, Henri Pieyre de Mandiargues, Carole Degonse and Grégoire Andrieux, who all join from Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle.

David Goldman, partner and head of McDermott’s corporate advisory practice said: ‘Our aim is to be recognized as one of the leading firms in the Paris legal market, and the arrival of this group adds tremendous expertise to the Firm’s transactional practice’

Back in the City, Oli Shipton joined Lee & Thompson as partner, having previously been Group General Counsel at Round World Entertainment (RWE). Shipton joins the corporate & commercial group and will also become a head of the firm’s sport group.

At RWE his role involved advising across the group’s varied business interests including 1966 Entertainment, which managed the commercial rights of the England Men’s National Football Team; 10Ten Talent which represent Pelé, Jack Wilshere, and Glenn Hoddle; and Iconic Images. Alongside his new role Oli will continue as principal counsel for the RWE businesses. His experience focuses on commercial contracts within the sporting and creative fields.