Sidley Austin boosts London private equity practice with Proskauer partner hire

Chicago giant continues to restock London PE practice following raids by Goodwin Procter and Gibson Dunn

Tony Downes Image courtesy of Sidley Austin

Sidley Austin has hired private equity and M&A lawyer Tony Downes from Proskauer to strengthen its London private equity practice.

Downes joins as a partner, with his practice focusing on private equity transactions, public and private M&A, joint ventures and other cross-border corporate matters. His experience spans a number of sectors but he regularly advises clients in the sports, betting and gaming industries.

He is the fifth private equity lateral to join the London office within the last year as the Chicago giant continues to restock its practice following the departures of a five-partner team to Goodwin Procter in September 2020 and two partners to Gibson Dunn in December 2021.

Thomas Thesing, managing partner of Sidley’s London office and member of the firm’s management and executive committee, said: [Downes’s] skillset and experience provide a wonderful complement to our private equity practice in London. As our private equity practice continues to grow, Tony’s relationships with several of our private equity clients will enhance our excellent client service.”

Downes arrives after just over two years as a partner at Proskauer, having joined from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher where he spent five years as a senior associate.

Prior to his latest stint in private practice, Downes was deputy general counsel at betting company Gala Coral Group and before that a consultant legal advisor for the Ladies European Tour golf tournament.

He also had spells as a senior associate at Ropes & Gray and as an associate at Slaughter and May, punctuated by a year as legal director for the International Boxing Association in Switzerland. He started his career at legacy Australian firm Blake Dawson before it merged with Ashurst.

Dan Clivner, co-leader of Sidley’s global M&A and private equity practice, said: “Tony is a great addition to our private equity practice which has already seen growth in 2022.”

In March, Sidley hired life sciences specialist Robert Darwin from Dechert having secured PE partner trio Dan Graham, Paul Dunbar and Emilie Stewart from US rival Vinson & Elkins in London last August.

Downes’s arrival comes almost two years after Goodwin Procter’s London office raided Sidley’s European practice for a five-strong private equity team, including Munich-based co-leader of its global private equity practice Erik Dahl and London-based Christian Iwasko. The duo were credited with kick-starting Sidley’s European business after arriving from Kirkland & Ellis in 2016.

Elsewhere in London, US peer Ropes & Gray hired a three-strong private equity team from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson in April, including the head of its European private equity practice Dan Oates.

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