Willkie Farr hires Latham partner in London to co-chair European restructuring group

Simon Baskerville joins as Willkie moves to capitalise on expected uptick in restructuring work

Simon Baskerville Image courtesy of Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has hired a partner in London from Latham & Watkins to co-chair its European restructuring group. 

Simon Baskerville has joined Willkie after nearly eight years at Latham, where he was global vice chair of its restructuring and special situations practice until 2022. Earlier he was a partner at Ashurst and he has more than 20 years’ experience representing stakeholders in stressed, distressed and insolvency situations in the UK and internationally. 

“Simon is widely recognised as being among the leading restructuring lawyers in the UK and we are thrilled to welcome him,” said Willkie chairman Matthew Feldman. “His experience representing debtors, creditors and other parties on some of the most high-profile matters in the market will make him an invaluable resource to our clients, particularly as we expect to see increasing activity in the restructuring landscape given growing macroeconomic challenges.”

Baskerville is described by legal rankings guide Chambers and Partners as particularly noted for his strength acting for funds and other alternative asset managers. He will co-chair the European restructuring group at Willkie alongside London-based Graham Lane and Lionel Spizzichino, who works out of the firm’s Paris office. 

Earlier this year, both Lane and Baskerville were involved in the restructuring and recapitalisation of Lifeways Group, one of the UK’s largest care home providers. Lane was part of a Willkie team that acted for Lifeways, while Baskerville co-led a Latham team that advised the group’s senior secured lenders. 

During his time at Latham, Baskerville also advised the senior lenders to Vue Cinemas in relation to its €1bn debt and equity restructuring and the committee of lenders to Steinhoff Europe AG on the €8bn financial restructuring of the Steinhoff group, one of the largest global restructurings in recent years. 

At Willkie, he will sit within the firm’s business reorganisation and restructuring department, which has 13 partners in Europe according to the firm’s website. Willkie said the European team worked alongside lawyers based in the US on complex multi-lateral cross-border restructurings in the US, the UK, France, Germany and other European jurisdictions.

Baskerville said he had been attracted by Willkie’s credentials in global and cross-border restructuring matters and its growing global platform.

“I am delighted to join Graham, Lionel and the team at Willkie and am looking forward to building on the firm’s reputation in this space,” he added. 

A Latham spokesperson commented: “We thank Simon for his contributions to the firm and wish him all the best in his next endeavor.” 

Baskerville’s arrival at Willkie follows partner Bruno Cova exiting the firm’s Italian affiliate earlier this year to co-chair Greenberg Traurig’s European restructuring and insolvency and compliance groups. Cova joined the firm in Milan alongside three other lawyers. 

Earlier this month, Paul Hastings hired William Needham from investment firm KKR to co-chair its European restructuring practice alongside Mei Lian.

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