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Ashurst Morris Crisp is hiking its corporate practice on the Continent and launching a derivatives practice in the UK as it takes on new partners in London, Munich and Milan and relocates a key London partner to Italy
As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com/lawyernews, highly-rated M&A partner Jörg Kirchner is joining from Baker & McKenzie in Munich, where he focuses on private equity. It is a move that fits in well with the firm's strategy to beef up its European private equity practice. Ashursts' Munich office was set up last year and Kirchner will join litigation partner Karl Wach, who joined from Linklaters Oppenhoff & Rädler when the office opened. Wach is known for heavyweight securities litigation, and according to Ashursts senior partner Geoffrey Green, the two will complement each other and add to the private equity push, which began earlier this year when corporate partner Andrew Edge relocated from London. Green said: "We're plugging any holes we have and putting in senior corporate capability where we didn't have it before." Ashursts now has 10 partners in Germany, six of whom focus on corporate issues. Meanwhile in Milan, Gianmarco Mileni Munari joins from Baker McKenzie's Milan office, where he specialises in M&A and cross-border commercial transactions. His is a more junior appointment, but he has an impressive list of clients that includes Apax Partners, Black & Decker and Gruppo TPG. The third partner to be appointed is Christopher Georgiou, who is an international finance lawyer at Gen Re Securities. He will join the London office, where he will spearhead the firm's derivatives practice. Georgiou, who was previously a lawyer at Allen & Overy and Freshfields (now Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer), and who also served as general counsel at NatWest Global Financial Markets, will work as part of the securities and structured finance practice. The group was formed last year when a team of capital markets partners, led by Erica Handling, joined from Weil Gotshal & Manges. Georgiou will develop a full range of derivatives products, including credit, debt, equity and insurance derivatives. "The structured finance side of our practice is growing very fast and we want to get to the stage where all our major centres offer this service," said Green. As part of this strategy, capital markets partner SiâWithey, who was part of the high-profile team that left Weil Gotshal, has relocated to Milan, where she is bolstering the push on structured finance in Europe.