Sidley Austin raids Paul Weiss for double private equity partner hire in London

Ramy Wahbeh and Kaisa Kuusk take the tally of Paul Weiss partner departures to four over the past week

Ramy Wahbeh (left) and Kaisa Kuusk Photos courtesy of Sidley Austin

Sidley Austin has made a twin partner hire from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison in London to bolster its global M&A and private equity practice.

The duo are Ramy Wahbeh and Kaisa Kuusk, with Wahbeh joining as co-leader of the firm’s global private equity practice. The pair bring with them more than 30 years of combined experience in the private equity market, with Wahbeh accounting for roughly two decades of them. He advises top tier sponsors and their portfolio companies on a range of deals, including control transactions, strategic joint ventures, sales, recapitalisations and other structured investments. Kuusk, who has been dubbed a rising star in the legal press, advises on cross-border M&A, take privates and joint ventures.

Tom Thesing, managing partner of Sidley’s London office, said: “Ramy and Kaisa have built an impressive international practice supporting large PE sponsors on cross-border transactions across businesses that are highly complementary to our leading global private equity practice, which supports many of the most sophisticated financial sponsors on complex global transactions.”

Thesing added that efforts to grow London into one of the firm’s main private equity hubs has given it the ability to invest in first-class private equity talent like Wahbeh and Kuusk.

Wahbeh joins Sidley after more than 18 years at Paul Weiss, having joined in London as an associate in 2005, becoming a partner in 2018 and serving as deputy head of its London office. Kuusk, meantime, had been with Paul Weiss for more than eight years, becoming a partner last year. She started her career at legacy Baltic law firm Raidla Lejins & Norcous.

Perry Shwachman, leader of Sidley’s financial institutions practice group, said: “Having worked alongside Ramy and Kaisa over the years, we are delighted to have them join our growing team and expand our client service offering in a key geographic market.”

Sidley’s London office has now added eight new partners in the first six months of this year, including private equity infrastructure partners James MacArthur and Ed Freeman in April from Weil Gotshal & Manges and private equity and M&A partner Phil Cheveley in February from Shearman & Sterling.

Back in 2020, the firm was forced to undertake a major rebuilding exercise in London when US rival Goodwin Procter hired a highly regarded five-partner private equity team.

Meanwhile, Wahbeh and Kuusk are the latest senior departures to hit Paul Weiss in recent days, following the loss in New York of finance partner Tracey Zaccone last week and M&A partner Justin Rosenberg today, both to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

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