Advent hires Ropes & Gray’s global private equity head as new GC

Amanda McGrady Morrison replaces James Westra, who is retiring at the end of this year

Private equity firm Advent International has appointed Amanda McGrady Morrison as its new general counsel and chief legal officer, replacing James Westra who is retiring at the end of this year.

Morrison joins from Ropes & Gray in Boston where she was head of the firm’s global private equity transactions group. She brings with her more than two decades of experience advising private equity firms and companies on a range of deals and corporate and strategic matters. She was also co-chair of Ropes & Gray’s Women’s Forum and a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.

David Mussafer, chairman and managing partner at Advent, said: “Amanda is a talented lawyer and leader who has been a trusted advisor to our firm for many years. Her guidance, expertise and experience will be invaluable to Advent’s continued growth and innovation.”

Westra is stepping down after 11 years at Advent where he served as managing partner and chief legal officer. Westra joined from Weil Gotshal & Manges, where he was co-head of its private equity practice group, a member of its management committee and managing partner of its Boston office. Like Morrison, he regularly advised Advent while in private practice. He was also previously a partner at legacy firm Hutchins Wheeler Dittmar (which merged with Nixon Peabody in 2002).

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Mussafer added: “Jim’s positive contributions to Advent over the last 11 years are too many to list. He has been an important force in Advent’s success and is well recognised within the firm and out for his partnership, leadership and mentorship. His influence has been felt at the firm far beyond his legal counsel and we are grateful that he will work closely with Amanda in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.”

Morrison’s move is the latest in-house hire in the broader US investment management industry in recent months. In August, US alternative credit provider CIFC Asset Management promoted Asha Richards to GC, replacing the outgoing Julian Weldon. It also hired Lily Wicker from South Point Capital Management as chief compliance officer – a role that was also previously held by Weldon.

And in July, private equity firm KKR hired Kathryn King Sudol as its new CLO, joining from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett where she was global co-head of M&A. She replaced David Sorkin, who stepped down this month to become an advisory partner.

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