Legal Business Blogs

Revolving Doors: White & Case and Proskauer make antitrust plays as Paul Hastings raids A&O in New York

Leading several high-profile moves this week, White & Case has hired antitrust partner Michael Engel from Kirkland & Ellis in London. Engel, who is dual-qualified in the UK and Germany, had been a partner at Kirkland since January 2021 and, before that, was at Sullivan & Cromwell for a decade.

Engel advises on the full scope of EU, German and UK-governed competition issues.

Speaking to Legal Business about his new firm White & Case, Engel said: ‘The firm is well placed to advise clients as they respond to toughening competition scrutiny and enforcement, such as competition authorities finding new ways to take jurisdiction over transactions falling below traditional notification thresholds and looking at new theories of harm when assessing transactions for substantive concerns.’

Elsewhere in the City, Proskauer Rose has welcomed its sixth lateral partner this year with the hire of Mary Wilks into its M&A practice from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she has spent almost 20 years. She will bring particular expertise in antitrust and competition law.

Wilks explained her decision to join Proskauer to Legal Business: ‘It’s a great combination, with Proskauer’s full service global platform and industry experience. It will allow the firm to continue delivering exceptional results for clients – especially as competition and other regulations are shifting and becoming more complex to navigate.’

Speaking of the market trends over the next 12 months, Wilks continued: ’It is a time of significant change and evolution in competition in foreign investment law.’

She pointed to the latest revisions to the Horizontal and Vertical Block Exemption Regulations, the EU’s new foreign subsidies regime and the UK’s Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, published this week.

‘With all this change, you need to factor in whatever regulations are going to apply to deal planning and execution, so that you can optimise your timing and outcomes,’ Wilks said.

Also in M&A, Fladgate has hired partner Tessa Trevelyan Thomas in London from BDB Pitmans. She will bring experience working on a range of domestic and cross-border transactions, including public takeovers, private equity investments and disposals, joint ventures and reorganisations.

Meanwhile, Cadwalader has expanded its global finance practice in London with the recruit of Smridhi Gulati to co-lead its leveraged finance and private credit group. Gulati joins from Dechert in New York where she was a partner, following a ten-year run at DLA Piper.

Speaking to Legal Business, Gulati noted: ‘The firm already has a wide bench of private credit clients and is completely committed to the growth of its leverage finance and private credit practice globally.’

On trends over the coming months, Gulati added: ‘As pressure continues on the banks and the capital markets, I expect that private credit will continue to expand its share of the leveraged loan market and keep pushing into the space that was previously only open to the capital markets.’

Simmons & Simmons has welcomed CMS partner Jonathan Thorpe for its insurance practice group in London. Thorpe brings with him several years of experience as head of claims and legal counsel for managing agencies for the world’s largest insurance market, Lloyd’s of London.

Elsewhere, Paul Hastings has been busy with recruitment in the US. The firm hired John Budetti as a partner and global chair of the investment funds and private capital practice in New York. He leaves behind a 17-year long career at Kirkland and Ellis, where he has represented private fund sponsors organising funds ranging in size from $75m to $5bn.

Paul Hastings has also set back Allen & Overy’s US ambitions this week, through acquiring the Magic Circle firm’s structured credit team. New-York based partners Nick Robinson and Tracey Feng – who have both spent around four years at A&O – will lead the team, which also includes several associates.

Also in the US, DLA Piper has hired Robert da Silva Ashley as a partner in its finance group and the firm’s regional co-leader. He joined from McDermott Will & Emery where he spent two years as a partner, after spending the majority of his career as a partner at Jones Day. Da Silva Ashley will split his time between the firm’s New York and Miami offices.

Elsewhere across the globe, Rebecca Kelly has rejoined Clyde & Co as a partner in its global regulatory and investigations practice in Dubai. She initially left the firm in 2014 to join Morgan Lewis as Dubai managing partner and to lead its Middle East regulatory and disputes team.

Finally, DWF has also bolstered its insurance team in the Middle East through the hire of Victoria Clucas and Bill Evans from Kennedys. The duo will serve as insurance partners in the firm’s Dubai office.