Kirkland builds New York bench

Mitchell Presser begins his role as Freshfields’ top US M&A lawyer; Gary Li leaves Ropes for rival law firm; and other private fund lawyer moves.   

• Ropes & Gray promoted 20 lawyers to partner status, including one lawyer in the firm’s private investment funds practice and one lawyer in the firm’s investment management practice. The two are Debra Lussier, a fund formation lawyer, and Adam Schlichtmann, who works on both closed-ended and open-ended funds.

• Leaving Ropes & Gray’s Hong Kong office is private equity deals lawyer Gary Li, who becomes a partner in Kirkland & Ellis’ Hong Kong office.

• Veteran M&A lawyer Mitchell Presser officially departed Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to become the head of US M&A at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

• Caldwell Boudreaux Lefler, a Houston-based law firm which specializes in the oil and gas pipeline industry, has expanded its liquids pipeline practice with the addition of Henry May Jr., who has joined the firm as special counsel. Previously he led Vinson & Elkins' energy regulatory practice for more than 20 years before retiring after four decades with the firm.

US law firm Hunton & Williams has bolstered its global energy and infrastructure practice with the hire of project finance partner Andrew Thomas in its London office. Thomas was previously at Canadian law firm Fasken Martineau where he helped develop that firm’s energy and natural resources-focused international finance practice.

• K&L Gates added Lisa Stark to its Wilmington, Delaware office as a M&A partner. She joins from National Corporate Research, where she served as in-house counsel.

• Offshore law firm Maples and Calder appointed Michael Gagie, who focuses on downstream private equity work, to the role of managing partner of the firm's Singapore office. The firm also promoted associate Jess Stock, a corporate lawyer, to counsel.

• Richard Aftanas is leaving Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to join the New York office of rival law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Aftanas works on IPOs and other public and private equity securities offerings, as well as high-yield and investment grade debt offerings.

• Also joining Kirkland’s New York office is Douglas Ryder, a M&A attorney who was previously with Weil Gotshal & Manges. Some of his notable clients include Advent International, Apollo Global Management, CCMP Capital, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners and ONCAP Management Partners.

• Robin Baillie, an infrastructure projects expert, has joined the London office of law firm Squire Patton Boggs as a partner in its global projects group and real estate practice. In moving to the firm from Nabarro, where he was a partner, Baillie is joined by two members of his former team, associates Stefanie Atchison and Anna Le Jehan. 

Know of any private fund lawyer career moves we might have missed? If so, email pfm editor Nicholas Donato at