A&O Paris takes on ex-Ashurst finance ace

Allen & Overy’s (A&O) search for a European acquisition finance capability is about to hit the jackpot as its Paris office prepares to recruit highly respected Ashurst partner Jonathan Nabarro.

According to a number of sources, A&O has been attempting to find a leveraged finance specialist in Continental Europe for at least a couple of years, with a specific focus on Paris, Frankfurt and Milan.

A&O partners have yet to vote on Nabarro joining the firm. Just two weeks ago Nabarro astounded the Parisian legal market by resigning from Ashurst, where he has been a partner since 1997.

It is understood that a number of firms had been circling Nabarro before A&O emerged as the leading contender a few days ago.

Nabarro was instrumental in building up Ashurst’s Paris finance practice, which stretches back to 1995 when the firm picked up work in the region for existing UK client Bank of Scotland (now HBOS), which had set up an office in France to focus on structured finance.

Sources say that Nabarro’s lender-based expertise will be a better fit with A&O, as opposed to Ashurst, where the potential for conflicts was greater due to its private equity-dominated practice.