Linklaters has named competition lawyer Thomas McGrath as its new US global practice head, replacing Tom Shropshire who is leaving the firm after more than two decades to become general counsel at drinks giant Diageo.
McGrath begins his four-year term immediately, and will be responsible for spearheading the magic circle firm’s US growth and to help enhance its global cross-border capabilities. He also becomes a member of the firm’s executive committee.
Gideon Moore, Linklaters’ managing partner, said: “I know [McGrath] will do a great job ensuring we continue to build and retain a best-in-class global US practice.”
McGrath joined Linklaters in 2005 as a partner in New York from Shearman & Sterling, later becoming head of its US antitrust and foreign investment group and most recently co-head of its global healthcare group. McGrath’s practice specialises in advising US and international clients on competition aspects of cross-border merger clearances, as well as defending clients in criminal price-fixing investigations and private antitrust litigation.
Notable transactions he has worked on include Linde’s $90bn merger with Praxair, as well as advising Takeda on its $62bn offer for Shire, the largest ever outbound M&A deal by a Japanese company. McGrath will maintain his current client work in addition to his new role.
McGrath said it was an ‘exciting time’ for the firm’s US practice, adding: “I look forward to expanding upon the successes of my predecessor and contributing to the continued success of the firm.”
Shropshire’s departure to an in-house role is a relatively unusual move for a magic circle law firm partner, who had also been tipped as a front-runner to replace Charlie Jacobs as the firm’s next senior partner.
Shropshire will take over from veteran Diageo GC Siobhán Moriarty, who is retiring after almost 25 years at the firm – the last eight of which as GC.
Meanwhile, Linklaters is expected to hold an election in May to replace Jacobs in the senior partner role, according to Legal Business, with corporate head Aedamar Comiskey among the favourites for the job. Jacobs is leaving Linklaters to join JPMorgan as co-head of UK investment banking.
McGrath takes the firm’s top US strategic role as two of its rivals make major plays on the West Cost. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer opened a Silicon Valley office last July and Allen & Overy launched in Lost Angeles last month.