Kirkland adds third London partner in a week from Magic Circle rivals

Global giant continues infrastructure drive with hire of 'rising star' investment funds partner from Allen & Overy

Kirkland & Ellis has added ‘rising star’ Paul Sampson to its investment funds group in London from Allen & Overy (A&O), marking the third instance in the past week the Chicago giant has added top talent from a Magic Circle firm. 

Sampson brings extensive experience advising investment fund sponsors on fund formation and operational matters with a particular focus on infrastructure, energy, transportation and real estate funds. He also advises on a variety of more bespoke arrangements including funds-of-one, separately managed accounts, joint ventures and co-investment programs. 

Sampson has joined Kirkland having spent nearly 15 years at A&O, where he trained and qualified, and made partner in 2020. During his time at the firm he also had stints on secondment as legal counsel at Deutsche Bank and UBS. 

“Paul is a rising star in the European funds world and we are excited to add him to the team,” said Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee. “We have the largest investment funds practice in the world and it’s a testament to the strength of the platform that we continue to attract top talent across the alternative capital space.”

Sampson’s departure from A&O follows just a week after it emerged that the firm’s infrastructure co-head, Sara Pickersgill, was leaving after 20 years to join Kirkland in London, where she is expected to lead the firm’s expansion in the European energy and infrastructure sector. 

Also last week the firm added infrastructure finance partner James Boswell to its debt finance practice in London from Clifford Chance. 

While the UK's top firms have long become used to raids by more profitable US rivals, Kirkland's mini hiring spree once again underlines its pulling power.  

Kirkland’s market-leading European investment funds practice has more than 25 partners working across its core areas of private equity, credit, real assets and liquidity solutions. Recent work for the team has included advising Inflexion Private Equity on the formation of a buyout fund earlier this year that held its final closing at its £2.5bn hard cap. Late last year the team also advised London-based Pollen Street Capital on the raising of more £1bn in capital. 

Another recent arrival at Kirkland’s investment funds team in London was Catherine Gokah, who joined in August from UK firm Ashurst, where she was a partner. 

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