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Structured finance heavyweight Severs departs BLP for Paul Hastings

Berwin Leighton Paisner‘s (BLP) head of structured debt and capital markets, Paul Severs, is leaving the firm to join Paul Hastings as part of the US firm’s latest City push.

One of BLP’s most high-profile partners, Severs has over 30 years’ experience in structured finance and securitisation, having built a reputation during his time as a partner at Clifford Chance.

He joined the firm a decade ago from bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Company (FGIC), where he spent two years.

The Legal 500 recommends the ‘very impressive’ Severs for structured debt and capital markets, and securitisation.

Severs’ departure is a blow for BLP, which has suffered some high-profile finance exits over the past three years, with global head of structured finance Tamara Box exiting for Reed Smith in 2011, experienced partner Trevor Wood leaving for Mayer Brown in 2013, structured finance partner Lucy Oddy moving to Latham in early 2014 and real estate finance duo Andrew Flemming and Jo Solomon resigning to join Hogan Lovells shortly after.

The firm also recently lost corporate chief David Collins, who resigned from the firm after losing out to employment head Lisa Mayhew in the race for managing partner in May.

Severs’ arrival at Paul Hastings comes as part of a renewed push in the City from the US firm, with Duncan Woollard arriving from King & Wood Mallesons in May to spearhead its private equity play in London and Ashurst banking partner Luke McDougall joining in April to expand its leveraged finance team in the City.

Fresh from crossing the $1bn revenue barrier in 2014, Paul Hastings has ramped up its recruitment of lateral partners across the network. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s former head of Asia, Douglas Freeman, joined with corporate colleague Victor Chen in Hong Kong; a nine-lawyer finance team from Ashurst led by US managing partner Eugene Ferrer arrived in the US; and heavyweight white-collar partner Robert Luskin led a five-lawyer team over to its Washington DC office from Squire Patton Boggs.

Paul Hastings global chair of corporate Elizabeth Noe said: ‘The last five years has seen the rise of alternative financing platforms and a demand for multiple, diversified types of financing. Paul’s extensive experience in this space will materially enhance our ability to service that demand and will lend further impetus to our leading-edge finance offering in London.’