Legal Business Blogs

Stephenson Harwood picks up three partner PE team from KWM

Stephenson Harwood has picked up three King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) private equity partners including former UK private equity co-head Jonathan Pittal, one of the four heavyweights that quit the firm in October.

Warren Allan and Gabriel Boghossian will join Pittal at the LB100 firm. Together the trio have acted for clients such as Bowmark Capital, Lloyds Banking Group, Unicredit Bank AG, Risk Capital Partners, Core Capital, SL Capital Partners, Pantheon Ventures, Lexington Capital Partners, Temasek, Goldman Sachs Vintage Fund, Oak Hill Capital Partners and Unigestion SA. The trio of partners are expected to take with them as many as six associates and two trainees.

Stephenson Harwood chief executive Sharon White said: ‘This move reflects our strategy to continue to grow and strengthen our firm. The calibre and experience of Jonathan, Warren and Gabriel demonstrates our ability to attract the very best lawyers, while further developing our corporate offering.’

Pittal (pictured) was one of four sudden resignations which triggered a partnership meeting held on 27 October and the halt of the firm’s recapitalisation plan. Private equity partner and major biller Michael Halford, former managing partner Rob Day and corporate finance partner Andrew Wingfield also announced their exits. Three of them were among the 20 highest-billing partners at the firm.

Meanwhile, Goodwin Procter has applied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for permission to bring in five trainees. The trainees will join investment funds partner and major biller Michael Halford. It was announced he would be joining the US firm in November

Yesterday (5 January) it emerged Baker & McKenzie will take on two partners from KWM including private equity partner Will Holder and employment partner Carl Richards. The pair arrive with a team of five associates including members of the private equity and employment teams. Fieldfisher has also hired technology partner James Walsh, whilst Debevoise & Plimpton announced it is taking on private equity lawyer Simon Witney as a consultant.

In Germany, Frankfurt-based corporate partner Michiel Huizinga is expected to move to Allen & Overy while DLA Piper has taken on the firm’s former head of real estate for Germany Lars Reubekeul and real estate partner Florian Biesalski.

KWM is currently in the process of appointing administrators before 16 January. In December the firm confirmed its European arm had filed a Notice of Intention to Appoint Administrators with the court.

On Wednesday (4 January) it was revealed by Legal Business that KWM’s European arm had stopped paying 100 staff. Employees were notified of the decision on 3 January – the first day back for many after the Christmas break.