It has long been renowned as the top restructuring shop in the US but Weil, Gotshal & Manges was a late entrant to Europe’s work-out scene. As such the New York-bred law firm has taken a headline-grabbing step to take its City practice ‘to the next stage of growth’ with the hire of Goldman Sachs heavyweight Andrew Wilkinson, who is to join the firm at the end of April.
The hire was confirmed to Legal Business this morning (7 April) by Weil’s London managing partner Mike Francies; Wilkinson was voted in by the Weil partnership on Friday (4 April).
He will join from Goldman Sachs, which he joined as a managing director in 2007.
Before his move into banking Wilkinson was one of the City’s most prominent insolvency lawyers, having led the restructuring group at Clifford Chance and pioneered a ground-breaking and highly lucrative bondholder-focused practice at the London branch of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft between 1997 to 2007.
His appointment to Weil marks a decisive move by the firm to boost its status as a prominent bankruptcy legal adviser. Other hires by the firm to its restructuring practice in recent years includes Jones Day’s restructuring head Adam Plainer in 2011. Weil helped put its City restructuring practice on the map with a lead advisory role on the UK administration of MF Global, an instruction that helped the firm to be named Restructuring Team of the Year at the 2014 Legal Business Awards.
Other mandates the firm has handled in Europe include ongoing restructuring work for Lehman Brothers, Pfleiderer’s cross-border financial restructuring and the €2bn debt restructuring of PagesJaunes-owner Mediannuaire.
The hire demonstrates that Weil is still primed for growth in its City arm, which in 2013 achieved 4% revenue growth to £75.8m, despite a series of layoffs primarily in its US practice last year.
The investment comes as a number of firms are targeting the busy restructuring market, as many European companies look to take advantage of low interest rates to refinance debt burdens.
Francies commented: ‘Andrew’s arrival will enable us to continue to build on the excellent work of Adam Plainer and his team in London. His skills as both a lawyer and a banker will be instrumental to the further development of our elite restructuring practice.’
For more on the leading US firms’ assault on the City, see Global London – Sweeping the board