13 Jul 2021

Kirkland & Ellis lands Paul Weiss M&A partner in New York

‘Rising star’ Rachael Coffey will join the firm’s corporate practice group

Rachael Coffey Image courtesy of Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis has hired ‘rising star’ M&A partner Rachael Coffey from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison to expand its corporate practice group in New York.  

Coffey’s practice focuses on advising companies and private equity sponsors on a range of M&A-related matters, as well as defence strategy against activist shareholders and other corporate issues. Earlier this summer she co-led a team at Paul Weiss who advised on Inspire Brands' $11.3bn acquisition of donut-maker Dunkin’ Brands Group. 

Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee, said: “Rachael is a rising star in M&A, and her talents will be an asset to our top-tier strategic M&A and private equity platform. Her broad range of transactional experience will be invaluable to our clients across the firm.”

Coffey was promoted to partner at Paul Weiss at the start of 2020.

Eric Schiele, a corporate partner and member of Kirkland’s executive committee, said: “Rachael is an outstanding lawyer – a pragmatic, creative, business-oriented professional that gets deals done for her clients. She’s one of the leading young M&A attorneys, and we are excited for her to join our team in New York.”

Chicago-based Kirkland has been building its New York offering of M&A heavyhitters in recent years, with partner Jonathan Davis having joined from Cravath Swaine & Moore in 2016 and Schiele from the same firm two years later. Then last May the firm underlined its ability to pick off top talent from the traditional Wall Street elite with the addition of M&A partner Edward Lee from Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.

Kirkland’s M&A advisory team have enjoyed a bumper start to the year amid a record six-month spell of M&A activity across the world. Kirkland was the busiest firm globally, advising on 420 deals in the opening six months of the year, 43 more than the second busiest firm DLA Piper, according to Mergermarket data. Those 420 deals were worth just shy of $317bn, ranking the firm seventh globally by deal value.

Coffey said: “What Kirkland has built in the public M&A space is very impressive. I look forward to joining Kirkland’s tremendously talented M&A team, which is known for its energy and creativity in leading high-profile and complex transactions.”

Kirkland boosted its New York M&A bench last year with the hire of partner Edward Lee from Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, in a move that underlined the global firm’s ability to pick off top talent from the traditional Wall Street elite.

Coffey’s move to Kirkland is one of several high profile New York lateral hires in recent weeks. Ashurst this month hired derivatives partner Julia Lu from Crowell & Moring, adding to the arrival of securities partner Lloyd Harmetz from Morrison & Foerster earlier in July. 

Last month Goodwin Procter also made a series of lateral hires, including a trio of tech partners in New York – Jonathan Chou and Peter Fusco from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and David Concannon from Latham & Watkins.

And last year, Kirkland underscored its ability to pick off top talent from the traditional Wall Street elite with the hire of M&A partner Edward Lee from Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, a rare example of a high-profile loss by the firm.

 

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