Freshfields bolsters London leveraged finance and restructuring teams with double partner hire

Carol Van der Vorst and Lisa Stevens join from Ropes & Gray and Kirkland & Ellis respectively

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired two London partners this week across its restructuring and leveraged finance teams.

The new arrivals are leveraged finance specialist Carol Van der Vorst and restructuring lawyer Lisa Stevens, who are joining from Ropes & Gray and Kirkland & Ellis respectively. Van der Vorst’s practice focuses on advising financial sponsors on cross-border debt financing transactions, while Stevens’s practice focuses on bespoke and complex special situations debt transactions.

Andrew Hutchings, Freshfields’ London transactions head, said: “[Van der Vorst’s] addition reflects the demand we are seeing from financial sponsors for complex financing solutions and further demonstrates the firm’s commitment to growth in this area. Carol is well respected for her strong technical and commercial skills and she aligns well to our culture and values.”

Van der Vorst spent almost four years at Ropes & Gray, having previously spent seven years working in the debt underwriting team at Goldman Sachs in London where she was a managing director. She started her career in private practice at Clifford Chance, though she also did two three-month internship stints at Freshfields while she was a student.

Stevens, meantime, spent just under three years as a partner at Kirkland, having joined from Latham & Watkins and worked at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher before that. She started her career as a trainee at Mayer Brown in London.

Richard Tett, Freshfields’ London restructuring head, said: “With her wealth of experience and connections in the private credit/special situations space, [Stevens] will add further strength to our special situations business – for both lenders and borrowers.”

Last month, Freshfields revealed profit per equity partner (PEP) had exceeded more than £2m in the 2021/22 financial year – an 8% rise that maintains the firm’s lead over its Magic Circle rivals on PEP. The firm pointed to its investment in US expansion for its strong performance over the past year, which saw revenue climb 7% to £1.7bn.

In May, the firm hired M&A lawyer Jenny Hochenberg in New York from Cravath Swaine & Moor, reuniting with fellow Cravath alumni Damian Zoubek who joined the Magic Circle firm’s US business last September.

Last year Freshfields lost two private equity partners to Kirkland & Ellis in London - Vincent Bergin and Keir MacLennan.

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