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21 August 2020

Paul Hastings, DLA Piper and EY Law gear up for autumn deals with late summer hires

London lateral moves show market is heating up following pandemic lull

By Ben Rigby


London’s lateral hiring activity has continued to gather pace as Paul Hastings, DLA Piper and EY Law all make late summer moves to bolster their finance and corporate teams.

Paul Hastings has strengthened its banking practice with the appointment of Shearman & Sterling’s EMEA head of finance Peter Hayes.

Hayes, who specialises in cross-border acquisitions and leveraged finance, including restructuring work, is the latest Shearman & Sterling arrival to join the ranks—the firm hired fellow restructuring partner Mei Lian in May, as well as making related hires in that area in Europe and the United States.

Seth Zachary, chairman of Paul Hastings, said: “Peter has been on our radar for some time given his reputation in the market,” adding that Hayes was seen as “a strong addition that will help further accelerate our growth in London.”

Other firms to bolster their leveraged finance arms include Cahill Gordon, which hired two partners from Allen & Overy recently, while Herbert Smith Freehills has also been active in that field.

On the corporate side, DLA Piper has added yet another corporate hire with the arrival of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Jonathan Earle. Earle, who spent more than five years at the US firm, was previously a long serving partner at Ashurst, where he had spent the majority of his career to date.

Earle’s addition follows earlier hires to the corporate team, namely Pietro Carbone from McDermott Will & Emery, who specialises in private equity, and two former Magic Circle partners, Tracey Renshaw from Clifford Chance and Freshfields’ alumnus Martin Nelson-Jones.

Bob Bishop, global co-chair of DLA Piper's corporate group, said the hire further demonstrated DLA’s commitment to invest in the corporate team, saying that Earle’s client base and gambling sector market experience would “significantly enhance and broaden our already market-leading M&A practice.”

The hire comes off the back of a number of London law firms bolstering corporate resources this month, such as Herbert Smith Freehills, while US firms have also been active in the summer season.

However, DLA has not been entirely unaffected by departures itself, with the announcement that lead energy partner Dimitri Papaefstratiou has left the firm to join Big Four accountants EY, and set up a new energy law practice as part of that firm’s associated legal team.

Papaefstratiou, who has acted on a broad range of energy deals, headed up DLA’s energy team in London. He will reunite with former DLA colleague Charles Morrison, who joined EY in May, after the firm made a number of lower level hires in early summer. 

Morrison said: “Having worked with Dimitri, I know first-hand the depth and scope of his expertise. He has an exceptional track record in the sector and will add real value to our clients as they navigate the challenges posed by Covid-19 and climate change.”

EY also expanded its managed legal services business with the concurrent hire of Anup Kollanethu, who will now head up the UK managed legal services team. 

Kollanethu has two decades of experience in the legal and professional services sector, including roles at Aviva Investors, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and DWF, and will be a key lynchpin in integrating EY’s offering in this sector.

Philip Goodstone, EY’s head of law, said: “Technology, innovation and, of course, current market conditions are a catalyst for change for many of our general counsel clients. Anup has an excellent blend of skills and experience to bring to clients in order to help them navigate, adapt to and make the most of this change.”

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