The loss follows hot on the heels of banking partner Stephen Gillespie who resigned last week from the magic circle firm to join Kirkland & Ellis, as first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (27 April).
McDonald, whose experience includes M&A, private equity, joint venture and restructuring work, has close ties with private equity house Apax, Canada’s second largest pension fund the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and insurance group Royal & SunAlliance.
McDonald, who is a Canadian, handed in his resignation to A&O’s partnership last night (1 May), however, his departure date has not yet been agreed. He has been a partner with A&O since 2001.
Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Walker said McDonald’s hire was in line with the firm’s strategy to bolster its London-based M&A capability.
Gillespie and McDonald are the latest in a series of high-profile partners to leave A&O for US firms. Last year sponsor finance partner Tony Keal joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and banking partner Clive Wells signed for Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Meanwhile, capital markets partners Julian Tucker and Angus Duncan left for Shearman & Sterling and Cadwalader respectively.