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Slaughters makes surprise pensions play with first ever London lateral hire

Slaughter and May announced today (17 February) that it has hired Herbert Smith Freehills‘ head of pensions Dan Schaffer, in the second ever lateral hire in the firm’s history.

Schaffer will join Slaughters’ pensions and employment group which currently comprises four partners and over 25 lawyers.

Schaffer was at HSF for seven years, and prior to that he spent 12 years as a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Schaffer is also the former chairman of the Association of Pension Lawyers’ International Committee. Some of his recent instructions include advising Coats on its settlement of Pensions Regulator investigations, E.ON on its spin-off of Uniper Group and on its UK schemes, Railways Pension Trustee Company on the management of the £25bn scheme, and EPL on co-ordinating the £30 billion Electricity Supply Pension Scheme.

Slaughters senior partner Steve Cooke said: ‘Dan has an exceptional market reputation and experience in relation to both advisory and transactional work. This, combined with our established leading position in the pensions field, will enhance our service to our existing corporate and trustee clients and further grow our standing and reputation.’

HSF confirmed Schaffer ‘has decided to retire from the partnership’ and that the firm ‘wishes him well and thanks him for his contribution’. This news comes as it was revealed last week that a group of HSF partner are suing eight former partners who quit to join White & Case.

Seen as the most conservative City firm, Slaughters first broke its lateral hire deadlock in January 2014 in Hong Kong with the hire of Morrison & Foerster’s (MoFo) co-head of China capital markets John Moore. Departures from Slaughters are also rare, the last partner it lost was Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya last August to Latham’s aggressive hiring push.