In its first steps towards the US since the collapse of merger talks with Latham & Watkins, Ashurst Morris Crisp is negotiating with New York firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson with a view to working together on structured finance work.
The firms are considering pitching jointly to clients following the arrival of capital markets partner Erica Handling and her team to Ashursts from Weil Gotshal & Manges earlier this year (The Lawyer, 26 March). Handling had a strong relationship with Fried Frank before her move, which both sides are now looking to strengthen. A partner at Fried Frank said: "We work together a bit and we're looking at ways that we can work together more. We've talked [with the structured finance group] about things we can do together, because that's a group which came from a US law firm and is now not in a US law firm, and those types of transactions definitely need US capability." Ashursts managing partner Justin Spendlove said: "Where there's a clear need for significant US input, we might make joint pitches on a whole range of things." Ashursts has strong links with Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis and New York's Davis Polk & Wardwell.