Legal manoeuvres: PE lawyers’ latest moves – July 2012

Baker & McKenzie has beefed up its Chicago practice by raiding rival firm Kirkland & Ellis while Dorsey & Whitney finds a new private equity chief.

· Schulte Roth & Zabel has hired James “Jim” McNally as a partner in its London office. McNally is the latest transactions lawyer from Dewey & Leboeuf, which recently collapsed under the weight of its own debt, to find new work – though his hire may come with certain risks for his new employer.

· M&A lawyer Kester Spindler has left Kirkland & Ellis to join Perkins Coie where he will split his time between the firm’s New York and Denver offices.

· Kirkland has also lost three of its private equity lawyers to Baker & McKenzie. William Kirsch, who will chair Baker’s North America private equity practice, will sit in the firm’s Chicago office alongside his former Kirkland colleagues Chi Stacey Kern and Garry Jaunal. A spokesperson for Kirkland was not immediately available for comment.

· Dorsey & Whitney has poached Eric Rytter from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft to head its private equity practice from New York.

· McDermott Will & Emery has beefed up its Paris office with the addition of three partners and four associates. Among the partner hires is corporate lawyer Bertrand Delafaye and tax lawyer Antoine Vergnat, both previously with Orrick Rambaud Martel.

· In related news O’Melveny & Myers, which received Private Equity International’s 2012 law firm of the year for fund formation in Asia award, said it plans to open a South Korea office.

· Meanwhile offshore law firm Carey Olsen said it will extend its legal services to Cayman and British Virgin Islands.

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