20 May 2022

Freshfields adds another Cravath dealmaker in New York as it pushes US growth

Jenny Hochenberg follows Damian Zoubek’s arrival at the Magic Circle firm last September

Headshot of Jenny Hochenberg

Jenny Hochenberg Image courtesy of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired M&A lawyer Jenny Hochenberg from Cravath Swaine & Moore – the second M&A lawyer to quit the Wall Street firm this month.

Hochenberg joins Freshfields as a partner in the firm’s corporate and M&A practice in New York where she will reunite with another Cravath departure – Damian Zoubek – who arrived at the Magic Circle firm last September

In addition to M&A work, Hochenberg’s practice focuses on shareholder activism, takeover defence and corporate governance. Her dealmaking experience spans healthcare, life sciences, tech and industrials, having worked on transactions such as Afterpay’s $29bn sale to Square (now known as Block), Time Warner’s $109bn sale to AT&T and a number of acquisitions for Johnson & Johnson.

Zoubek, who co-heads Freshfields' US corporate and M&A practice, said: “Jenny is one of the smartest and most capable corporate lawyers I’ve ever seen, and I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to join Freshfields. She is creative, dedicated and relentless in service of her clients, and is one of the true rising stars in the M&A community in the United States.”

Hochenberg had been at Cravath since 2009, making partner in 2017.

Sarah Solum, Freshfields’ US managing partner, said: “Jenny is an amazing addition to our corporate and M&A team. Not only does she have an outstanding track record in her service to clients, but she also embodies the strong leadership skills that define who we are as a firm.”

Earlier this month, Cravath also lost M&A partner Allison Wein to Kirkland & Ellis. The run of departures from the New York-based firm – which also included of counsel Nicole Foster, who left for Freshfields in January to co-head its employee benefits practice – comes despite Cravath abandoning its pure lockstep structure for partner pay in favour of a modified lockstep that compensates based on performance rather than just seniority.

Cravath slid down the M&A advisor league tables in the first quarter, falling to 22nd from 7th during the same period in 2021, working on roughly $33bn of deals, Refinitiv data show. Freshfields slipped three spots to 13th in the first quarter, working on almost $52bn of deals.

Freshfields has been picking off talent from US competitors over the past few years as it seeks to build up its presence stateside. The firm's US push began in earnest in 2019 when it hired rainmaker Ethan Klingsberg from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York along with two other M&A partners and a litigation partner. 

Then, in July 2020, it shifted its attention to the West Coast’s burgeoning technology sector with the launch of a Silicon Valley office. It hired five partners from four US rivals: Davis Polk, Latham, Sidley Austin and Wilson Sonsini.

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