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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has suffered its first partner defection since it laid off 96 people in July (as reported by The Lawyer30 July).
The firm's Beijing managing partner Mark Roppel, who has headed the office since 2006, is set to join Allen & Overy's (A&O) Shanghai corporate practice on 1 September. While he will be based in Shanghai, Roppel is expected to spend time in A&O's Bejiing and Hong Kong offices.
A&O's China managing partner Simon Black said: "It is rare to be able to add a US M&A lawyer of Mark's pedigree and calibre. Mark allows us to respond to the increased demand for premier, multi-jurisdictional capability in relation to complex China-related transactions including outbound investments by Chinese corporations, financial institutions and sovereign wealth entities.
"He also adds to our strategic M&A capability and our ability to service global key clients such as GE, which we work with on complex M&A transactions around the world."
In July Cadwalader announced that 96 lawyers were being made redundant in its Charlotte, London and New York offices. The move came after the firm made 35 associates its structured finance group redundant in January.
Roppel gave his notice to Cadwalader at the time of the July redundancies but, according to the firm, his decision was not related to the layoffs.
A Cadwalader spokesperson said: "The timing is merely coincidence. A lateral move takes months to arrange and this is totally unrelated to the layoffs earlier this year."
Following Roppel's departure, Cadwalader's Beijing office will be left with five associates and no partners.
The spokesperson added: "The firm is completely committed to China. We have every confidence in the Beijing office."