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Willkie hires Bain euro GC as Wall St player strives to establish itself in City buyout sector

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has made a prominent recruit to its London arm with the appointment of Bain Capital Credit’s European general counsel Mark Fine as a partner.

Prior to his role at Bain, which holds $30.1bn in assets under management, Fine was a partner in the debt finance team at Kirkland & Ellis. He specialises in debt transactions for borrowers and lenders covering a wide range of acquisition finance, distressed investments and restructurings. He also cut his teeth as an associate at Norton Rose.

Chairman Thomas Cerabino commented: ‘The addition of Mark in London reflects the firm’s ongoing commitment to the European private lending sector and the continuing growth of its representation of key private equity and direct lending firms.’

However, the appointment follows the departure of Willkie leveraged finance partner James Crooks to Sidley Austin last week (26 April) when it was announced that Crooks will re-join six former Kirkland partners at Sidley. Sidley made a splash with the high stakes recruitment of the Kirkland team earlier this year, signalling its move beyond its structured finance core into more mainstream deal work in London.

Despite being a late entrant to English law corporate work, Willkie Farr has made efforts to build its City offering in recent years, including the establishment of a buyout practice with the hire of private equity duo Matthew Dean and Claire McDaid from Kirkland in 2014. The New York-based law firm had previously largely focused on handling English law corporate work through a referral relationship with Anglo-Scots corporate boutique Dickson Minto.

Kirkland partner Ashley Young, who relocated to London from Hong Kong in 2014, has been seconded to fill the role left by Fine at Bain. Young is a longstanding adviser to Bain and previously advised it and GIC on a multimillion dollar investment in QuEST Global Services.