Allen & Overy (A&O) is losing a US securities partner to Latham & Watkins, believed to be the first US partner to turn his back on the magic circle in London to return to a US firm.
Alex Cohen previously worked at Sullivan & Cromwell and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton before joining A&O in 1997. Cohen is also understood to be only the second partner to be poached from the tight-knit firm, following securitisation partner Mark Raines's move last year to Shearman & Sterling's London office. His exit will be a blow to A&O, which has been trumpeting its growing US practice since the hire of Cravath Swaine & Moore M&A partner Dan Cunningham. Its US securities practice in London boasts eight partners, compared with Clifford Chance's six, Linklaters & Alliance's five and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's four. Cohen shares a couple of investment banking clients with Lathams, namely UBS Warburg and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Cohen brings the number of partners in Lathams' London office to 18, and ramps up the capital markets practice to seven partners. Lathams London managing partner Joe Blum said: "Alex is a US capital markets lawyer focusing primarily on the equity side. We as an office tend to have a focus more on the debt side, so we saw this as a great opportunity to expand our capital markets generally."