25 Nov 2021

Dechert private equity partner pulls out of White & Case team move

London lawyer was previously lined up to join New York firm as part of a three-partner team

Mark Evans

Dechert has succeeded in persuading a London private equity partner to stay at the firm rather than move to White & Case with two colleagues.
 
Having last month announced the hire of Mark Evans from its US rival as part of a three-partner team, White & Case confirmed today that he had in fact decided to stay at Dechert.
 
While Evans’ former colleagues, fellow partner Ross Allardice and senior associate Tony Brown, are now safely installed at White & Case – Brown as a newly minted partner – Evans remains at Dechert.
 
Up to this point, the careers of Allardice, Evans and Brown have been closely linked, all three lawyers having previously worked at White & Case, where Allardice was a partner from 2013 to 2016.
 
When Allardice moved to Dechert in November 2016, Evans and Brown moved across as associates a few months later, with Evans making partner earlier this year.
 
The tussle between White & Case and Dechert over Evans reflects the value being placed by firms on their lawyers amid a booming deal market that has sparked an associate salary war on both sides of the Atlantic.

While partners are frequently persuaded to stay at their firms after handing in their notice, however, it is rare for such changes of heart to become public.
 
Nick Robbins, founder and director of legal recruiters Nicholas Scott, said a US firm had recently told him “they don’t buy a new chair for the partner joining until they actually walk through the front door as they currently have so many partners being bought back, right up to the last day”. 
 
He added: “I can understand why Dechert would have tried everything possible to keep at least one of the PE partner team moving to White & Case in the current market, particularly where securing another name is incredibly difficult.”
 
The arrival of Allardice and Brown at White & Case helps to restock its London private equity bench after veteran practice head Ian Bagshaw left to pursue opportunities outside of law in June. 

Earlier this month, White & Case increased salaries for its London newly qualified associates by 8% from £130,000 to £140,000 as it became the latest US firm to set fresh terms in the ongoing associate salary war making its way across the London legal market. 

Dechert declined to comment on Evans's decision to stay at the firm.

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