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‘We’ve got 40 finance lawyers left’ – Weil’s City banking head Stephen Lucas joins Kirkland

One of the best-known names in the leverage buyout market, Stephen Lucas is set to join Kirkland & Ellis from Weil Gotshal & Manges, where he heads the Wall Street firm’s City banking practice.

Lucas handed in his resignation this week and leaves Weil Gotshal just three years after he joined in June 2011 from Linklaters, where he was a banking partner, prior to which he was a partner at Magic Circle rival Clifford Chance.

He will be replaced as banking head at Weil by former Hogan Lovells partner Mark Donald.

Lucas leaves Weil Gotshal’s banking team with six partners – two of which are structured finance specialists and four leveraged finance partners – and a team of around 35 associates.

The top 20 Global 100 firm’s City practice has seen some key departures over the last year, including private equity partner Mark Soundy and City tax head Sarah Priestley, who exited to Shearman & Sterling.

However, Weil Gotshal’s London managing partner Mike Francies told Legal Business: ‘We have got 40 finance lawyers left and they will continue to provide clients with a top quality service. We are very confident of Mark’s abilities of leading the group.’

Lucas will join Kirkland’s debt finance practice group with 10 years’ experience of advising sponsors, financial institutions, and funds and has previously represented Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Barclays Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and HgCapital.

Last year he advised UBS, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Barclays, on the financing for The Carlyle Group’s acquisition of Chesapeake’s paperboard packaging business, and in October 2012 represented Advent International in its leveraged buyout of KMD from Swedish financial investor EQT Partners AB and ATP Private Equity Partners.

‘Stephen is widely recognised as among the top finance lawyers in London. He is a brilliant, hard-working lawyer and strategic thinker, and a significant addition to our already strong and very active European debt finance group,’ said Jeffrey Hammes, chairman of Kirkland’s global management executive committee.