Sidley Austin makes double partner hire from Weil to bolster London private equity practice

James MacArthur and Ed Freeman bring vast deal experience, notably in the energy and infrastructure sectors

Sidley's London office has now added six new partners since the start of the year Shutterstock

Top 10 US firm Sidley Austin has made a twin partner hire in London to increase its private equity and infrastructure coverage.

The duo includes James MacArthur and Ed Freeman, who both join from Weil Gotshal & Manges and will work in the firm’s private equity and energy, transportation and infrastructure practices. MacArthur brings with him more than 20 years of experience advising corporates and private equity sponsors on European and global infrastructure deals. Freeman’s practice covers cross-border private equity and M&A, also with a focus on the infrastructure sector.

Tom Thesing, managing partner of the firm’s London office, said: “Fund managers focused on infrastructure assets have raised ever-increasing amounts of capital in recent years, and with the arrival of both James and Ed, we will be in an even better position to serve our global clients’ needs.”  

MacArthur spent six years at Weil, where he was a partner in its London private equity team. Before that, he spent almost seven years as head of private equity at Herbert Smith Freehills, having had earlier stints at Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case. Freeman joins after almost five years at Weil having joined as an associate in 2018, working his way up to counsel in 2020 and partner at the start of last year. Prior to that he worked at Clifford Chance. 

Cliff Vrielink, global leader of the firm’s energy, transportation and infrastructure practice, said: “James and Ed will enhance our ability to serve our fund clients in particular and develop stronger global relationships in the wider infrastructure sector. I have known James for many years, and the combined experience of James and Ed will help bolster our global team and expand our work for strategic clients and private equity and infrastructure funds.”

The duo’s arrival means Sidley’s London office has now added six new partners in the opening three months of the year. Those included Shearman & Sterling’s EMEA and Asia M&A head Phil Cheveley and the return of restructuring lawyer Kieran Sharma, who rejoined the firm after a spell at distressed debt-focused investment firm Strategic Value Partners, where he was director of its European investment team.  

Other US firms have been growing their London private equity practices of late. Earlier this month, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton hired the former co-head of Linklaters’ financial sponsor leveraged finance practice Edward Aldred as a partner, while Sullivan & Cromwell hired private equity heavyweight Karan Dinamani from Allen & Overy.

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