White & Case hires M&A specialist from Slaughter and May

US firm underscores commitment to London growth as Di Yu joins as eighth M&A partner lateral in the City since the start of 2021

Di Yu Image courtesy of White & Case

Top 10 global law firm White & Case has boosted its M&A practice in London with the addition of a new partner from Slaughter and May's corporate team.

Di Yu, who was an associate at Slaughters, advises on public and private M&A transactions, joint ventures, equity raisings, large-scale corporate reorganisations and listed company corporate advisory matters and brings experience across sectors including infrastructure, energy, financial institutions, tech and consumer products. 

She qualified at Slaughters in 2014, having joined the firm in 2012 as a trainee, and makes partner upon joining White & Case. 

“The continued growth of our M&A practice in London and EMEA ensures we are best placed to advise our clients on their complex cross-border public and private M&A transactions,” said John Reiss, White & Case global M&A practice head. “The addition of Di Yu in London supports this growth in a key jurisdiction and further strengthens our sector expertise and specialisms, in particular our energy, financial institutions and technology industry focuses.”

Yu has made the move after a barnstorming performance by the New York firm’s M&A practice in 2021, in itself a record year for deal making that saw global M&A activity smashing through the previous full year record of $4.2tr set in 2015 to reach $5.9tr, according to data from Refinitiv. 

White & Case shot up from 11th place in 2020 to fifth place last year in the rankings by global deal value, working on 516 deals worth $512.8bn. The firm slipped to ninth place in the first half of this year, having ranked second only to Sullivan & Cromwell during the same period last year, although it worked on a not inconsequential 195 deals worth $161bn. 

Dealmaker of the Year is a category in the Outstanding Women Practitioners section of the inaugural Women & Diversity in Law Awards. Click here to make a nomination

Partner Oliver Brettle, a member of White & Case's global executive committee, said the firm remains committed to pursuing growth in London as the role of the City as a global financial centre and the use of English law for cross-border transactions continues. 

“Di is the eighth lateral partner to join our global M&A practice in London since the start of 2021 in addition to four promotions to partner in the team, which together demonstrate our sustained growth in this important practice area,” he added. 

Among the new arrivals were Ross Allardice and Tony Brown, who re-joined the firm last October following stints at US rival Dechert. Private equity partner Mark Evans was initially lined up to rejoin with them from Dechert, though it subsequently emerged that Dechert had persuaded him to stay

During 2021 the firm’s London M&A team acted in a number of significant deals including advising Triton Investment Management on its £1.2bn recommended takeover offer for drugmaker Clinigen and advising investment bank Qatalyst Partners on Vista Equity Partners' £1.1bn public offer for Blue Prism Group, with Qatalyst acting as lead financial adviser to Blue Prism. 

Last year, the London office recorded a 12% increase in turnover to around $445m. 

Yu’s exit from Slaughters, meanwhile, underlines the vulnerability of the top UK law firms to raids by their US rivals on their home turf. Lateral partner hires out of the firm, however, remain rare, although corporate partner Murray Cox headed for the door last year to join Weil Gotshal & Manges.  


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