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Skadden goes organic with three City promotions as investment intensifies in London

Skadden has made up its largest haul of new partners in London since 2008, a further showing of support for the City office after an uncharacteristically expansive stint in the lateral recruitment market of late.

The move sees the famously conservative Wall Street giant promote three new partners as part of a 17-strong global round, matching a commitment to organic growth in London last seen 13 years ago.

Private equity lawyer Steven Hannah, M&A lawyer Ani Kusheva and investment management lawyer Greg Norman have made the cut in what Pranav Trivedi (pictured), head of Skadden’s City practice, described as a ‘testament to the strength of Skadden’s London office and the exceptional level of talent within our ranks’.

The investment stands out as a particular coup, considering the firm has only made up four new partners in London across the previous five global promotions rounds, most recently white collar crime partner Andrew Good last year and M&A partner Denis Klimentchenko in 2019.

Indeed, few observers could fail to notice Skadden’s repudiation in recent months of suggestions that is was being too cautious in the London lateral market, most recently last September with the addition of Freshfields, Bruckhaus Deringer’s prized M&A veteran Bruce Embley.

That move capped off a 2020 of dynamism for Skadden, following as it did the hire of restructuring partner Peter Newman from Milbank in February, building on the announced recruitment of Allen & Overy corporate duo George Knighton and Simon Toms. Those A&O moves in particular made waves as Skadden’s first substantial play in London since the recruitment of high-profile dealmaker Richard Youle from White & Case in 2017 and have been viewed as a serious statement of intent on the ambitions of Skadden’s City corporate practice.

While detractors may well question the longevity of the firm’s redoubled investment in London, this promotion round is all to the good in shaking up a market perception that is headed toward being out-of-date. Nevertheless, Skadden’s thoughtful approach to adding to its partnership fits with its prized culture, borne out by the relative scarcity with which it loses partners to rivals. In the age of disruptors, it is heartening to see Skadden closing the gap with its more daring rivals in London.