06 Dec 2021

Crowell & Moring adds derivatives quartet from McGuireWoods in London

Hires build on US firm's acquisition of Wall Street financial services boutique Kibbe & Orbe earlier this year

(l-r) Charles Wakiwaka, Lauren Blaber, Alvino van Schalkwyk and Jennifer Kafcas Image courtesy of Crowell & Moring

Crowell & Moring has hired a four-lawyer derivatives team including two partners from McGuireWoods in London.

The group is led by Jennifer Kafcas, who headed the derivatives and structured finance team at McGuireWoods in London, and includes Charles Wakiwaka, who only joined the New York firm as a partner in the summer from Clifford Chance, where he was an associate.

The team is completed by Alvino van Schalkwyk and Lauren Blaber, who are joining their new firm as counsel.

Their arrival builds on Crowell’s acquisition of Wall Street financial services boutique Kibbe & Orbe back in March. That deal added two partners and four associates in London and reflected what the firm described as a strategic focus on expanding its financial services capability.

The new arrivals advise investment banks and private equity funds on structured finance and derivatives transactions in the US, the UK and European markets.

They focus on a range of derivative products underpinning leveraged finance, securitisation and infrastructure deals and projects as well as deal-contingent trades, holding company and fund-level hedging strategies, credit derivatives, strategic equity transactions and bespoke collateral arrangements.

Kafcas joined McGuireWoods’ debt finance practice in 2017 from O’Melveny & Myers. Schalkwyk, Blaber and Wakiwaka were all hired under her watch.

Crowell’s London managing partner Robert Weekes said: “The team’s excellent derivatives and structured finance experience is an important addition for our firm and, in particular, the London office, and complements the work that our colleagues who joined us from Kibbe & Orbe are doing in both New York and London.”

Crowell’s London office has 15 partners and 20 other lawyers out of a total of 45 staff. The financial servies sector team has ten partners.

The Kibbe deal handed Crowell 13 partners and 24 lawyers in total, who joined the New York, London and Washington offices, including London office managing partner Andrew Martin.

In June, Crowell announced a merger with Chicago-based tech and IP firm Brinks Gilson & Lione, enabling it to expand its footprint into the Midwest region with an additional 61 Brinks lawyers including 27 partners.

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