Simpson Thacher partner exits ahead of reported Paul Weiss Brussels office launch

Simpson Thacher confirms antitrust partner Ross Ferguson’s departure as Paul Weiss reportedly gears up to open first base in continental Europe

Simpson Thacher has confirmed the departure of Brussels-based antitrust partner Ross Ferguson, amid reports he is set to join Paul Weiss as it prepares to launch an office of its own in the city.  

First reported by Bloomberg Law, the office would be Paul Weiss’s first in continental Europe and follows the rapid build out of its London office in recent months.

The firm is currently on the hunt for office space in the Belgian capital – a key European antitrust hub – and has more hires in the pipeline, according to Financial News.

For his part Ferguson made partner at Simpson Thacher at the start of last year and advises on all aspects of EU and UK merger control and antitrust regulation. At Simpson Thacher he worked with clients including Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, KKR and EQT on acquisitions.  

Simpson Thacher’s London head Jason Glover and its European antitrust head Antonio Bavasso commented: “We wish Ross the very best in his next endeavour.”

Paul Weiss grew revenue nearly 11% in 2023 to a new high of $2bn, according to data from the American Lawyer, with profits per equity partner up 14.8% to $6.5m.  

Since last summer the firm has been speedily growing its London office, which was left with just three partners following the exit of office head Alvaro Membrillera in August for Kirkland & Ellis.  

The growth has been spearheaded by office co-heads Neel Sachdev and Roger Johnson, who arrived last autumn as part of a dramatic private equity raid on Kirkland that saw eight partners join in London alongside corporate partner William Aitken-Davies from Linklaters.  

Since then the firm has continued to bolster the office with hires from top US and UK firms, including Linklaters antitrust head Nicole Kar and antitrust lawyer Annie Herdman from Ropes & Gray.  

The hires take the firm’s London partner headcount to around 20, including newest recruit James King, who it recruited last month from Kirkland to launch a UK funds practice.  

Paul Weiss’s Brussels move continues a flurry of activity by US law firms in the city in recent years. Simpson Thacher opened its Brussels office in 2021, the same year that Kirkland & Ellis and Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle set up shop there. Since then, firms including Davis Polk, Fried Frank and Weil Gotshal & Manges have also opened a base in Brussels.  

Paul Weiss was approached for comment. 

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