Stephenson Harwood and Baker & McKenzie are the latest law firms to pick up partners from King & Wood Mallesons as the ailing law firm prepares to go into administration.
KWM partners Jonathan Pittal, Warren Allan and Gabriel Boghossian will move to Stephenson Harwood’s London office by mid-January with as many as six associates and two trainees to follow, Boghossian told sister title Secondaries Investor.
The team of secondaries experts will focus on private equity transactions including buyouts, fund formation, and buy-side, sell-side and GP-led secondaries deals.
Pittal, who was co-head of KWM’s UK private equity deals team, has more than 20 years’ experience covering fund structuring, formation and corporate transactions. He has advised Lloyds Banking Group on several deals including a portfolio sale larger than £1 billion ($1.2 billion; €1.2 billion) to Coller Capital, according to KWM’s website.
Allan’s secondaries experience includes working with SL Capital Partners and Pantheon, and advising Core Capital on a deal funded by Access Capital Partners and 17Capital. He has also advised financial institutions on disposals, including Lloyds’ sale of 65 fund interests to Coller.
Boghossian has worked with Lexington Partners, Goldman Sachs and Unigestion, among others, on secondaries deals including Palamon Capital Partners’ stapled deal in 2015.
He said KWM has been losing staff and has accumulated debts of around £30 million. In late December the firm filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, designed to protect it from creditors and allowing it to maintain client services as it explores its options.
Stephenson Harwood employs more than 900 staff globally and has offices in nine locations.
Head of China and private equity partner Will Holder is among a team of seven heading for Baker McKenzie. Holder, who was seconded to KWM’s Chinese office for 10 months, will work alongside private equity funds head David Allen and M&A head Charles Whitefoord.
The new exits follow a confirmation on Wednesday the European partnership has stopped paying 100 staff.
Departures over the past couple of weeks include influential private equity lawyer Simon Witney, who is to join Debevoise & Plimpton as a consultant in its London office; private equity fund partners Steven Cowing and Marc Snell, who left for US-based Greenberg Traurig; and six real estate partners who joined DLA Piper.