Der rolling stone

Private equity lawyer Dr Geza Toth-Feher has gathered no moss in his career path. He has moved frequently among law firms and taken one break from the legal profession altogether.

Last month, Dr Geza Toth-Feher announced plans to launch his own firm after building up the German practice group for Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker. While hardly the first attorney to hang out his own shingle, Toth-Feher has taken a circuitous route to practicing the law on his own.

Toth-Feher studied law and economics in Germany, beginning his career as a corporate attorney in the early 1990s with an international law firm based in Hamburg. He eventually became a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, though he left the firm to found Dewey Ballantine's German operation in 2002.

By 2004, however, he left the legal profession entirely, to found CB Equity Partners, an advisory firm boasting a marriage of stars from Germany's legal and banking worlds. After serving as a principal with the firm for a little over a year, Toth-Feher returned to practicing law, this time with Paul Hastings. The appointment in 2005 was widely viewed as the firm's first step in building a German presence.

Paul Hastings gave him the task of building a small cadre of German attorneys in London to serve as the nucleus for an eventual office in Munich. However two years later, Toth-Feher announced plans to found Toth-Feher & Partner LLP. He also convinced three of his associates at Paul Hastings, Robert Abt, Oliver Beyer and Melanie Schuman to join the new venture as well.

Toth-Feher stressed the exit of the firm's entire German practice group was an amicable one. His independent shop was established as an English partnership and will specialize in providing private equity counsel in both London and Germany to Paul Hastings clients and their own, which at this point includes the investment bank Macquarie. Coincidentally, his former private equity firm, CB Equity Partners, touts two Macquarie transactions on its web site.

This may not be such a coincidence as his new firm is funded by a €2 million line of credit from CB Equity Partners. Toth-Feher described the funding to the as ?similar to a loan, but with certain profitsharing instruments.? The instrument is likely yet another creative solution for an attorney following no precedent in shaping his career.

Weil Gotshal loses Rosen in London
New York-based global law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges has lost William Rosen, a corporate partner in its London office. It is understood that Rosen is taking time off to evaluate his options. Rosen joined Weil Gotshal upon the launch of its London office in 1996, as a corporate assistant. Over the years, his experience has grown to include representing private equity funds, corporates and investment banks on public and private M&A, public offerings, equity financings, private placements, privatizations, and private equity and venture capital investments. His private equity clients have included The Blackstone Group, Capital Z Investment Partners, Ellerman Investments, HM Partners, Lion Capital, Summit Partners and TPG; Rosen advised Blackstone and Lion Capital on the £1.27 billion buyout of the European drinks business of Cadbury Schweppes in 2005. Rosen's departure leaves Weil Gotshal's private equity team with five partners.

Duane Morris expands to Vietnam
Philadelphia-based law firm Duane Morris has opened offices in two of Vietnam's major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in an effort to develop its network in Asia. The Vietnam offices will focus on corporate finance, project finance, energy, cross-border transactions, restructuring, M&A, real estate and telecommunications. Christopher Mussel in Ho Chi Minh City is a partner who focuses on M&A, oil and gas, project finance, general corporate, and venture capital and private equity deals. The Hanoi office will be staffed by Oliver Massmann, a partner, and Giles Cooper, a counsel. Both Massmann and Cooper have experience in M&A. The Vietnam effort will be led by partner and former Mexican ambassador to Singapore, Eduardo Ramos-Gomez. ?Our move into Vietnam reinforces Duane Morris' role as an important factor in one of the fastest-growign economies in the world, as well as our dedication to addressing client needs and expectations across Asia,? said Sheldon Bonovitz, chairman of the firm, in a statement.

One promotion and two additions at Linklaters
London-based global law firm Linklaters has appointed a new head of global financial markets and hired two partners who do private equity-related work. Regulatory partner Michael Kent will become the new head of global financial markets on November 1, taking over from Paul Nelson. Nelson, who helped set up the group as a standalone practice in 1996, will resume full-time fee earning. The group has grown to 75 fee earners. Kent, who is based in London, has been with Linklaters for over 20 years and became a partner in 1999. Also in London is Brian Gray, who was hired from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Gray specializes in leveraged and acquisition financing, with particular experience in public to privates, infrastructure transactions, securitization bridges, opco-propco, consortium LBOs and regulated industries. In Milan, Giovanni Pedersoli joins as partner from Pedersoli e Associati, his family's firm. Pedersoli focuses largely on M&A and private equity transactions, both in the Italian market and cross-border deals for Italian corporates and banks.

Davis Polk promotes nine
In a recent round of promotions, New York-based global law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell has named nine new partners who practice private equity and private equity-related work. Eight of the elections were made in the firm's corporate group: Michael Davis, Kirtee Kapoor, Jinsoo Kim and Arthur Long in New York; Sarah Solum and Mischa Travers in Menlo Park; and Harald Halhuber in London. All of these partners focus directly or indirectly on an aspect of private equity and venture capital, whether it be fund formation, structuring, M&A, restructurings, or representing lenders and borrowers. Long advises US and foreign banks on the regulatory implications of M&A transactions, private equity and fund investments, and other financial institutions matters. The ninth election was made in the firm's tax group: Mary Conway on New York concentrates in investment management matters, including the formation and operation of private equity funds and other pooled investment vehicles.

Allen & Overy hires Honée in Amsterdam
London-based law firm Allen & Overy has nabbed Charles Honée as partner in Amsterdam. Honée, who focuses on M&A, capital markets and private equity transactions, joins from Stibbe, a Dutch firm allied with Herbert Smith and Gleiss Lutz. Among the transactions Honée has advised on are The Blackstone Group's £1.6 billion acquisition of United Biscuits from Cinven and MidOcean Partners; Cinven and Warburg Pincus's €2.6 billion acquisition of Essent Kabelcom; Wolters Kluwer's sale of Kluwer Academic Publishers to Candover and Cinven; and Dutch private equity houses on investments and exits. Sietze Hepkema, senior partner of the Amsterdam office, said in a statement: ?In the past year alone the Amsterdam Corporate practice advised on more than 80 transactions. The arrival of Honée is therefore an important investment in the maintenance of our top tier position in this field.?

Foley Hoag nabs Zingale in Boston
Boston-based law firm Foley Hoag has hired Douglas Zingale as partner in the firm's corporate, M&A and private equity practices. Zingale joins from Greenberg Traurig's Boston office, where he was principal shareholder in its M&A and private equity practices. His practice includes M&A transactions for public companies, as well as representing private equity investors, emerging companies backed by private equity, underwriters, and fund formation. He regularly counsels on transactions ranging from $50 million to $1 billion, in the biolotechnology and high technology sectors, as well as venture capital firms. Zingale's clients have included Celanese AG, Thermo Electron Corp and North Hill Ventures.

SJ Berwin adds Younghusband in London
UK law firm SJ Berwin has added Victoria Younghusband as partner in its financial markets group in London. Younghusband, who joins SJ Berwin on August 1, was co-head of the investment funds practice at law firm LG (Lawrence Graham). She specializes in all types of investment funds, financial services, corporate finance, cross-border M&A, joint ventures and corporate governance. At SJ Berwin, Younghusband is expected to contribute to the continuing growth of the firm's hedge fund practice. Bruce Gardner, financial markets partner at SJ Berwin, said in a statement: ?Victoria's appointment underlines the firm's strategy to grow the financial markets practice and will help us to reinforce our position as one of the leading firms serving the asset management and securities industries.? Younghusband's arrival will bring the number of partners in the financial markets group in London to six with a further 13 partners in the firm's European offices.