Revolving Doorways: Companion recruiting is taking over a extra worldwide character, with main hires in Asia and the Center East

The Global 100 heavyweight Milbank made the most significant side hiring game last week, hiring not just one, but three Hong Kong private equity specialists from the Magic Circle.

The company has hired two of Clifford Chance’s merger and acquisition partners, Andrew Whan and Neeraj Budhwani, and Linklater’s global bank chief Davide Mencacci.

The new hires are not yet at Milbank: Whan, who has been a partner since 2006, currently heads Clifford Chance’s corporate practice in Asia and has spent some time in the company’s Tokyo office. Budhwani also advises on private equity investing and has been a partner since 2011, having joined CC from Deacons in 2004.

Mencacci is now known for his work in leveraged finance and has been a partner at Linklaters since 2007. He moved from Allen & Overy’s local office, where he became a partner, to his Milan office. He has lived in Hong Kong since 2015.

Also in Asia, Hunton has hired Andrews Kurth Sheaman & Sterlings to head nuclear and project finance partner George Borovas for its Tokyo office. Borovas, chairman of the company’s nuclear practice and managing partner of the Tokyo office, has two decades of experience advising governments, sponsors, and lenders on civil nuclear program development and nuclear finance and construction.

“George played a pivotal role in developing and funding some of the largest nuclear power projects and programs in the world,” said Jeffrey Schroeder, head of the energy and infrastructure team at Hunton Andrews Kurth. “His significant experience and reputation as one of the best nuclear lawyers are a welcome addition to the firm.”

In the Middle East, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) made a remarkable game of bolstering his signature real estate practice, hiring a duo from Dechert. Stephen Kelly and Sarah Mahood joined BCLP’s Dubai office earlier this month and are highly regarded real estate attorneys with a particular focus on the hotel and hospitality market.

The addition of her practice builds on the firm’s experience in the Middle East and follows the recent expansion of her real estate practice in Europe to include a seven-strong Paris law firm led by partner Pierre Popesco.

Chris de Pury, Global Real Estate Director, said: ‘We are proud to already have a first class offering in the Middle East and the region is key for us. The addition of Sarah and Stephen’s experience in the field and their fantastic reputation is a real coup and yet another demonstration of our aim to become the world’s leading real estate law adviser. ‘

Meanwhile, Reed Smith, a G100 colleague in London, has also hired a dual partner, this time in aviation. Christopher Jackson and Adam Longney join the transportation industry as partners.

Jackson has more than two decades of experience and comes from REN Legal where he was a partner. Previously, he also worked internally at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and Rolls-Royce. He trained and qualified with Allen & Overy. His main areas of activity are asset finance and leasing transactions with a particular focus on aircraft and engine leasing and trading, structured finance and sales finance.

Longney also comes from REN Legal where he was a partner. He previously worked at BCLP and Norton Rose Fulbright. He has over 15 years of experience advising borrowers, financiers, lessors and lessees on a wide range of national and international finance and leasing transactions.

Rob Wilkins, Co-Chairman of the Reed Smith Transport Industry Group, said: ‘In the past few years we have made significant strides in diversifying our transport offerings beyond simply serving the shipping industry. The arrival of Chris and Adam underscores our commitment to providing the best possible service to the aviation industry and its financiers. ‘

In Paris, leading independent French Gide Loyrette Nouel welcomed tax expert Paul de France as a partner. De France, who trained at Gide a decade ago, was most recently Assistant Tax Director at Casino Group, one of the world’s leading food retailers. In particular, he oversaw and implemented the tax aspects of his asset disposal plan in 2018 and 2019. Prior to that, he worked at Ernst & Young and Mayer Brown.

Finally, ME Group legal finance and litigation finance firm hired Steven Zdolyny as General Counsel (GC). In addition to group-wide legal advice and the administration of external consultants, Zdolyny will play an important role in the development of the ME Group’s service offering.

CEO Rob Cooper said the GC position is a new role reflecting the group’s continued growth as it expands as both litigation financier and a provider of technology-based support services to law firms managing complex and volume disputes.

Zdolyny has over 30 years of public and private legal service experience, having previously served as GC and one of the founding directors of legal technology pioneer Kim Technologies. Prior to that, he was Director of Legal Services, GC, Chief Compliance Officer and Trainer at EY Riverview Law and a member of the Board of Directors of Riverview Law Limited.

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