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28 May 2020

Morrison & Foerster lands second New York M&A partner from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Homegrown partner Omar Pringle follows veteran Mitchell Presser out of UK magic circle firm

Omar Pringle

Omar Pringle: 'Morrison & Foerster is a well-known global pioneer in the areas of technology, life sciences, and sustainability'

Morrison & Foerster has hired New York corporate partner Omar Pringle from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in its second raid on the UK magic circle firm in a little over a month.

Pringle will be reunited with his former boss at Freshfields, Mitchell Presser, who moved across to MoFo in mid-April to co-chair the firm’s global corporate department.

Pringle, who was made up to partner at Freshfields in 2017, has joined MoFo’s M&A, private equity investments and buyouts practices.

His specialist sectors include technology, life sciences, agriculture and aerospace. Last year, he was on the Freshfields teams that advised AB InBev on the sale of its Australian unit to Asahi for $11bn and First Reserve on its £275m purchase of Weir Group’s flow control division.

MoFo said his arrival underlined its ongoing commitment to growing in New York, having hired three partners in 2020 and a further eight last year.

The firm’s 400-strong corporate group advised on deals with a total value of around $117bn in 2019 helping the firm to break the $2m profit per equity partner benchmark for the first time.

Co-chair of M&A Jackie Liu said Pringle was a “terrific lawyer” who would “strengthen the firm’s premier technology and life sciences practices in particular, where we anticipate sustained client demand for transactional advice over the coming years” .

Pringle added: “Morrison & Foerster is a well-known global pioneer in the areas of technology, life sciences, and sustainability, many of the same areas that I have focused my practice on over the last decade and the industries that are poised for significant growth in the future.” 

Freshfields' loss of an emerging talent after the departure of veteran lawyer Presser, who was US head of M&A and global transactions, further underlines the challenges faced by the UK’s magic circle firms as they seek to build US practices that mirror the capabilities and market standing of the rest of their network.

However, last October the firm, which was placed second in Mergermarket’s Q1 rankings, secured leading M&A adviser Ethan Klingsberg from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton along with two other M&A partners and a litigation partner.

The high-profile hires were seen as a coup for the UK firm, which made up four US partners in its April promotions round, although none of them were corporate specialists.

Earlier this month, Kirkland & Ellis hired M&A partner Edward Lee from Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz in a rare loss for the Wall Street leader.

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