Barclay brothers litigator Matthew Shankland heads to Sidley Austin

Weil Gotshal & Manges’ head of litigation Matthew Shankland, the partner who represented the Barclay brothers in an ownership spat over London’s Maybourne Hotel Group, has left the firm for Sidley Austin.

Shankland, a widely respected litigator, will join Sidley Austin’s dispute resolution group in London in coming weeks. The move comes just months after Weil Gotshal’s City office lost high-profile private equity partner Mark Soundy to US rival Shearman & Sterling (15 May 2013). 

Last month Shankland successfully led a Weil team that advised Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who currently own the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, in a Court of Appeal (CoA) battle over ownership of the Maybourne Hotel Group. Costs for Weil Gotshal and counsel on behalf of the brothers and their companies were put at £8.5m at a hearing before Mr Justice Richards last year, with total costs last year estimated at £20m (17 September 2012). 

Shankland is also the longstanding relationship partner to failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing. In February this year he took a lead role advising on a confidential settlement agreed between Kaupthing’s winding-up board and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, with the deal stipulating that the bank’s board drops its claims against the Sheikh (13 February 2013).

The settlement was the latest Kaupthing matter to be handled by the Weil team, which includes members of the firm’s London structured finance, New York and London restructuring, and New York and Paris litigation practices (29 March 2009). 

In June this year Weil cut more than 150 lawyers and staff (24 June 2013) in one of the biggest cost-cutting exercises in years to hit an American law firm. The firm said that the ”staffing adjustments” had been made across the firm’s international network but were predominantly in the US.