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24 March 2021

Freshfields hires Bay Area M&A 'rising star' to expand its Silicon Valley office

Joseph Halloum joins as a partner from Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco

By Ben Edwards

Redwood City gateway arch displays city's slogan Climate Best By Government Test - Redwood City, California, USA

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired Bay Area M&A lawyer Joseph Halloum from Kirkland & Ellis to bolster its Silicon Valley business.

Halloum joins as a partner in the firm’s new Bay Area office, bringing with him around 10 years of M&A experience advising public companies and private equity sponsors. Notable high-profile deals he has worked on include Walt Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, Dell’s acquisition of Quest and the sale of NDS to Cisco Systems.

Sarah Solum, Freshfields’ head of US capital markets and managing partner of its Silicon Valley office, said: “[Halloum] brings tremendous energy and talent to our team and joins us at the perfect time, as we expand to meet the needs of our clients.”

Halloum spent roughly five years as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco, having joined from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, where he was an associate in its corporate practice. He has been variously described as a ‘rising star’ and a ‘trailblazer’ in the US legal press for his M&A advisory work.

John Fisher, Freshfields’ head of US technology and life sciences M&A and co-founder of the firm’s Silicon Valley office, said: “Joseph has worked on some of the most complex and market-defining M&A transactions in the technology sector. He will be a terrific resource for our clients.”

Halloum’s practice will complement the areas of work Freshfields’ Silicon Valley team are focused on, such as taking companies public through de-SPACs, IPOs and direct listings, as well as litigation work and advising on matters such as corporate governance, compensation and benefits.

Freshfields launched its Silicon Valley office in July last year, the first magic circle to enter the US West Coast market since Clifford Chance exited the region in 2007. Last month Freshfields signalled its commitment to its new California business after signing a 10-year office lease in Redwood City. The firm is expected to move from its current home in Menlo Park early next year.

This week Chicago firm Jenner & Block announced plans to open a San Francisco office, its second in California. Earlier this month, Allen & Overy opened in Los Angeles, after hiring a highly-rated six-partner US project finance and renewables team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and Debevoise & Plimpton said it would launch in San Francisco in the second half of the year.

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