Advent installs Weil Gotshal’s Boston head as chief legal officer

Private equity house Advent International has hired Weil Gotshal & Manges private equity co-head James Westra as managing director and chief legal officer.

Westra has served as Weil’s Boston managing partner and led the firm’s office opening in the city in 2002. He was previously a partner at Hutchins Wheeler & Dittmar, which has since been absorbed by Nixon Peabody.

Aside from Advent, his key clients included Berkshire Partners and THL Partners.

Advent managing partner David Mussafer said: “[Westra] has been a tremendous asset to us and other top private equity firms over the past 30 years, and we know that he’ll help us immensely in deal structuring and bringing best practices to support our global team.

“Jim has the requisite skills, experience and personality to thrive at Advent, and we’re looking forward to his contributions in the months and years ahead.”

The move follows a string of in-house hires from private-practice firms in the private equity arena. Apax appointed Simon Cresswell from Goldman Sachs as its first general counsel in 2010 (14 December 2010), while Travers Smith partner Charles Barter defected to Bridgepoint in 2008 (19 August 2008). In 2007 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts appointed its first legal head with the hire of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett New York partner David Sorkin (26 November 2007).