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07 May 2021

Allen & Overy hires two senior leveraged finance partners from Linklaters in London

Arrival of Annette Kurdian and Robert Burt helps restock team after raids from US rivals

By John Malpas

Allen & Overy (A&O) has hired a pair of senior leveraged finance partners from Magic Circle rival Linklaters.

The lateral hires – which remain rare between Magic Circle firms – help restock A&O’s market-leading team after raids from US rivals over the past year.

Moving across are Annette Kurdian and Robert Burt, who both have 20 years of experience at Linklaters behind them having made partner within a year of each other, in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Their arrival follows A&O’s loss in London of senior leveraged finance partner Sanjeev Dhuna in April to Shearman & Sherman and the departure of a trio of partners to Cahill Gordon & Reindel last year: former leveraged finance head Jonathan Brownson, Joydeep Choudhuri and Jake Keaveny.

Kurdian joined Linklaters as a managing associate in 2001 from King & Wood Mallesons’ legacy Australian arm Mallesons Stephen Jaques. According to A&O, she has ‘carved out a successful practice in a number of areas: the crossover between leveraged and infrastructure finance, private credit transactions, as well as fund finance and mainstream leveraged financing advice’.

Burt focuses on leveraged and acquisition finance, acting principally for banks on sponsor-backed acquisition finance.

Denise Gibson, A&O’s co-head of global leveraged finance, said: “Annette’s arrival will enhance our penetration into the growing leveraged and infrastructure finance cross-over space as well as building on our strong track record in the private credit arena. Robert’s depth of experience and standing in the market bolsters our integrated loan and high yield offering for sponsor backed LBOs, as we continue to deliver a leading one stop solution for leveraged finance advice.”

The pair’s arrival follows on from A&O’s hire of White & Case partner Jake Mincemoyer in New York in February to head up its US leveraged finance team. The firm also made up two leveraged finance partners this year’s partnership round: Adam Zecharia in London and Thomas Roy in Paris.

Its leveraged finance practice boasts more than 250 lawyers across the US, EMEA and Asia Pacific.

Debtwire ranked A&O first in a range of leveraged finance-related categories for Western Europe last year, including as counsel for lead banks and borrowers in buyouts.

Linklaters, meanwhile, secured two partners from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in continental Europe. Private equity specialist Florent Mazeron signed up in Paris and employment specialist René Döring climbed on board in Frankfurt.

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