Gibson Dunn unveils hire of Linklaters’ former leveraged finance co-head in London

David Irvine joins US firm to co-lead global finance practice

David Irvine Image courtesy of Gibson Dunn

Gibson Dunn has unveiled the hiring of former Linklaters partner David Irvine in London to co-chair its global finance practice.  

Irvine has joined the top 15 US firm after three years at Linklaters, where he co-led the leveraged finance practice. News of his departure for Gibson emerged last month and has now been officially announced by the US firm. 

Irvine has advised the likes of Hillhouse Capital Management, Carlyle and Baring Private Equity Asia in major cross-border leveraged and acquisition financing transactions and also advises on recaps, minority back leverage, special situations financings, margin loans, fund-level financings and restructurings.

Irvine will co-chair Gibson Dunn’s 85-lawyer global finance group alongside New York-based partner Doug Horowitz, who said Irvine was “recognised as one of the best in the market” for private equity sponsors and debt financing sources.

“He has worked on significant UK, European, Asian and cross-border acquisition financing transactions – at Gibson Dunn, he will apply his considerable talents, working closely with our private equity, infrastructure and restructuring teams.”

Irvine rejoined Linklaters in London in late 2020 after a stint at Kirkland & Ellis in Hong Kong, having first been a partner at the UK firm from 2008 to 2015. 

He is the latest partner to exit Linklaters in London for a major US rival. Paul Weiss has hired four partners from the firm in recent months as it ramps up its City bench at pace, including M&A lawyers Matthew Hearn, Dan Schuster-Woldan and Will Aitken-Davies and Linklaters’ former head of antitrust Nicole Kar. 

Meantime, leveraged finance partner Noel Hughes left the firm for Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom late last year, while over the past 18 months Linklaters has also seen partners picked off by Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.  

According to a report in The Lawyer, Linklaters – which overhauled its lockstep two years ago to retain top performers – is proposing to give management full control of individual partner pay on an annual basis and withhold retained profit distributions if they leave for a “deemed competitor”.  

In January, however, the firm made a major play in New York with the hire of a six-strong M&A team from Shearman & Sterling including former global co-managing partner George Casey. 

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