18 Jan 2023

Weil adds Linklaters partner to boost London M&A offering

Departure of Sarah Flaherty underlines Wall Street firm's UK M&A ambitions and continues run of London partner losses for UK Magic Circle firm

A photo of the City of London skyline

Kirkland & Ellis adds fourth London infrastructure-focused partner since September Shutterstock

US law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges has added an M&A partner from Linklaters in London. 

Sarah Flaherty, who advises on public and private M&A transactions as well corporate restructurings, joint ventures and equity offerings, is the third London partner to depart from the UK Magic Circle law firm this month following last week's defection of global infrastructure co-heads Jessamy Gallagher and Stuart Rowson to Paul Hastings. 

She is also the second corporate partner to quit the firm in recent months, Weil's Wall Street rival Cleary having secured Nick Rumsby in November.

At Weil, she will join a market-leading team of corporate lawyers, including London managing partner Mike Francies, Marco Compagnoni, co-head of the firm’s international private equity group, and David Avery-Gee, who joined the firm from Linklaters in 2019.

During Flahherty’s 14 years at Linklaters – where she made partner in 2020 – she worked on major deals including beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev’s £78bn acquisition of SAB Miller. 

She was also part of a team that advised Takeda Pharmaceutical in its £46bn acquisition of UK biopharmaceutical company Shire in 2019, the largest ever outbound deal by a Japanese company, according to her former firm profile.

While a partner at Linklaters Flaherty spent two years on secondment at the UK Takeover Panel, where she worked as a senior case officer regulating public M&A transactions.

“Sarah will play a key role working alongside David Avery-Gee, Murray Cox and our M&A teams in the US and Europe to further strengthen our M&A offering,” said Francies. “We are delighted that she’s joining us.”

Cox moved over to Weil in 2021 from Slaughter and May, marking a rare partner departure from the prestigious magic circle firm. 

His arrival was a significant boost to Weil’s private equity and public M&A offering in London and, like the hire of Avery-Gee and now Flaherty, underlines the vulnerability of the top UK law firms to raids by their US rivals on their home turf.

 

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