Kirkland secures London capital markets partner from Allen & Overy

Marwa Elborai jumps to Chicago giant having joined A&O in 2022 from merger partner Shearman

Marwa Elborai Image courtesy of Allen & Overy

Kirkland & Ellis has hired a capital markets partner in London from Allen & Overy (A&O), ahead of the latter’s upcoming merger with Shearman & Sterling.  

Marwa Elborai has joined 3,500-lawyer Kirkland – the largest law firm in the world by revenue – after just over a year at A&O, which she joined after 16 years at Shearman.  

“Marwa is one of the most well-known and leading high-yield lawyers in the European market,” said Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee. “We look forward to her joining our top tier London capital markets team.”

Elborai is US-qualified and focuses her practice on high-yield bonds, complex corporate financings and leveraged finance transactions. She advises corporate, private equity, credit fund and financial institution clients across multiple jurisdictions. With a focus on U.S. federal securities law, she also advises on general debt and equity capital markets transactions and debt restructurings.

Elborai joins as the eighth London partner in Kirkland’s capital markets group, which has one of the largest high yield practices in Europe. The team focuses on cross-border offerings of high-yield bonds and liability management and restructuring transactions involving high-yield bonds and has worked with clients including Bain Capital, Blackstone and TDR Capital.  

The firm also bolstered its capital markets ranks in the US last year with the hire of veteran Latham & Watkins partners Rachel Sheridan and Shagufa Hossain in Washington DC. The firm’s capital markets group has around 200 lawyers globally.  

An A&O spokesperson confirmed Elborai’s move, adding: “We would like to thank her for the contribution that she has made during her time at Allen & Overy and wish her all the best for the future.”

A&O’s merger with Shearman was overwhelmingly approved by the partnership of both firms late last year and is set to create a firm with around 4,000 lawyers and revenue in the region of $3.5bn.  

A&O added a five-lawyer structured finance team in London from Milbank last month, although both A&O and particularly Shearman have experienced a significant number of partner departures in the run up to the merger. Notable losses for A&O include former managing partner Gareth Price, who stepped down early from his role last summer and retired from the firm, and its London head of derivatives and structured finance, Emma Dwyer, who left the firm last month. 

Meantime, Shearman’s exits have included global co-managing partner George Casey, who took five M&A lawyers to Linklaters in New York in January. 

According to research by Pirical, Shearman had 169 partners at the end of February, representing a net loss of 43 partners – or 20% of its partner ranks – over the previous two years. Over the same period A&O grew its partner count by 9% to 662, according to Pirical..

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]