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The former managing partner of Weil Gotshal & Manges' London office has broken ranks with former colleagues to join KLegal.
Nick Holt left the US firm with three other partners at the end of January but has split with the rest of the team and is joining the KPMG associated law firm as managing partner.
He was one of the founding partners of Weil Gotshal's London operation and built it up to a 100-lawyer practice. KLegal set up 10 months ago and plans to reach the same size by the end of this year.
As well as managing the practice at Weil Gotshal he advised clients on international corporate finance deals and represented internet and technology companies, both of which fit well at KLegal.
Holt says: "They wanted a managing partner and they wanted to concentrate on IP, corporate and litigation. It was the perfect fit for me, and I was just struck by the opportunity to do something different."
Although it was always thought that Holt would move with the rest of the team, he says there has been no split between himself and the former joint head of Weil Gotshal's London office, Maurice Allen.
"When we left Weil Gotshal we had an understanding that we would look as a team but if something came up that suited one individual that was fine. I think Maurice would say that for me this was right."
The Lawyer understands that KLegal approached Allen first and he introduced them to Holt.
At KLegal Holt will take over the management of the rapidly expanding practice and continue client work. He will be instrumental in recruitment and will help integrate the London office into the worldwide network.
Ian Barlow, head of tax and legal services at KPMG, says: "Nick is a totally committed supporter of the multidisciplinary approach which KPMG and KLegal offer to clients.
"His managerial experience gives him the ideal broad perspective for his role."
Before joining Weil Gotshal, Holt was managing director of the capital markets business at Smith New Court, the City's largest independent securities house before it was bought in 1995 by Merrill Lynch.
He also spent 10 years working in-house in Hong Kong after leaving Clifford Chance in 1984, where he met Maurice Allen.