Simpson Thacher makes double partner hire in European restructuring push

London partners Adam Gallagher and James Watson join as European investment drive continues

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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has hired a pair of experienced insolvency lawyers to help establish a European restructuring practice in London.

Adam Gallagher and James Watson join as partners from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Kirkland & Ellis respectively as the firm gears up for a potential rise in companies facing financial distress as a result of recent market disruptions, including the coronavirus pandemic.

Jason Glover, managing partner of Simpson Thacher’s London office, said: “Establishing a restructuring practice in Europe is a logical expansion of our existing platform and will further enhance our ability to serve clients across the corporate, private equity and financial sectors as a single source of best-in-class advice.”

Glover added that the duo are widely recognised in the market and trusted to help clients navigate complex restructuring matters.

Gallagher arrives after two decades at Freshfields where he specialised in corporate restructuring and insolvency matters, becoming a partner in 2007. Watson, meantime, arrives from Kirkland & Ellis where he spent three years as a partner. He joined after a two year spell at Stephenson Harwood, having started his career alongside Gallagher at Freshfields. During his time at Kirkland he spent 10 months as a secondee in private equity firm KKR’s credit business, covering special situations, structured credit and private credit mandates.

Bill Dougherty, chairman of Simpson Thacher’s executive committee, said: “Adam and James each bring an exceptional depth of experience in this area and are ideally positioned to expand our global restructuring capabilities.”

The restructuring practice is the firm’s latest strategic move in Europe following an announcement earlier this week of its plans to open a Brussels office in the summer as it adjusts to the post-Brexit operating environment.

The firm has been investing heavily in its London office as well, with the arrival of Allen & Overy’s former global antitrust co-head Antonio Bavasso in December, whose dual Italian and UK qualification credentials means he will spearhead the Brussels office when it opens. His arrival followed the hiring of three other high-profile partners in London last year, including financial regulation specialist Owen Lysak from Clifford Chance, private equity partner James Howe from Gibson Dunn and Linklaters’ former head of tax Yash Rupal.

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