Corporate

As one of the junior partners on Linklaters’ big-ticket Glencore account David Avery-Gee has made a name for himself as one of the firm’s most promising young corporate lawyers.

David Avery-Gee, Linklaters

He advised on Glencore’s long-awaited £7.05bn London IPO last year as an associate, joining the partnership a month later, in May, in a six-strong round of City promotions. Avery-Gee has fostered a strong footprint in the energy and resources sector, advising ArcelorMittal on its £2.9bn spin-off of its stainless and speciality steels businesses as an associate, and, as partner, acting for Russian steelmaker Evraz on its £4.7bn IPO in the autumn. Avery-Gee is also involved in the magic circle firm’s Israel focus group.

David Carter, Ashurst

David Carter looks as though he’s trying to avoid bursting into hysterics in his Ashurst website photograph, which pretty much sums up the private equity lawyer. The convivial corporate partner loves his clients and has built a reputation as one of the City’s real charmers. In a firm where prestigious private equity relationships are 10 a penny, it can be difficult to carve out a niche. But Carter has done just that, managing the relationship with mid-market private equity outfit Oakley Capital. He has followed the company around the world, advising it on Sir Martin Broughton’s £230m Oakley-backed bid for the Tote, the acquisition of a controlling stake in Time Out New York and the €40m purchase of a 51 per cent stake in German hosting company Intergenia.

Anne Drummond, Linklaters

Linklaters corporate star Matthew Middleditch has metaphorical big shoes and it’s down to Anne Drummond to fill them. With Middleditch heading off to the Hong Kong office, Drummond will surely play a bigger role than ever this year as the relationship partner-designate for RBS, a client Middleditch has guided until recently. Drummond has largely taken up the corporate reins for RBS at the firm, an account she shares with banking partner and senior partner Robert Elliott. Middleditch advised RBS on its acquisition of a stake in Bank of China in 2005, but when the bank sold it in 2009 Drummond led the advice.

Andrew Edge, Stephenson Harwood

Since joining from Ashurst in early 2010, corporate partner Andrew Edge has given a resurgent Stephenson Harwood a real boost, largely thanks to the life sciences specialist’s relationship with India’s Piramal Healthcare. Edge won the client in 2006 while at Ashurst and has since turned it into one of his new firm’s most lucrative clients. After advising it on the sale of its pharmaceutical unit to Abbott Laboratories in 2010, last year he scooped the role on its $640m acquisition of a stake in Vodafone’s Indian business, Vodafone Essar. With the Indian conglomerate declaring its intent to splash out on further biotech investments, Edge could turn out to be an even better catch for the City firm than first thought.

Stephen Fox, Weil Gotshal & Manges

Associate moves rarely cause much of a stir, but when Stephen Fox decided he would follow three Clifford Chance funds partners and a tax partner to Weil Gotshal & Manges as part of a City funds launch it was seen as another major blow for the magic circle firm’s practice. Fox was perceived to be the man to help rescue Clifford Chance after Nick Benson, Nigel Clark, Ed Gander and Jonathan Kandel quit for Weil in June, but his departure left the firm that trained him searching for options. And just when it seemed things could not get any more exciting, Weil had to win an amicable tussle with Apax Partners for the right to claw Fox back from a secondment at the private equity giant. Now that his place as a Weil funds associate seems secure, he may well prove to be the link to the private equity giant that could shift mandates in the US firm’s direction.

Lesley Gregory, Memery Crystal

Lesley Gregory’s work as Memery Crystal’s head of Aim paid off last year: the firm came top of the Hemscott (now Morningstar) rankings for Aim client numbers for the first time since the table launched in 2007, breaking the LG and Pinsent Masons stranglehold after its client count jumped from 41 to 47 for the three months to July. This figure then rose again to 50 for the three months to October. Memery Crystal won Red Emperor Resources and Kolar Gold as new clients, with the firm’s partners advising on both companies’ Aim listings. Gregory, seen as the legal market’s ’Ms Aim’, also became the firm’s chief executive in April last year after taking over from managing partner Harvey Rands.

Ed Hall, SJ Berwin

SJ Berwin faced a tough task when two of its key funds partners, Nigel van Zyl and Oliver Rochman, jumped ship for US firm Proskauer Rose last summer along with six associates. The firm responded by making up four youthful funds and tax associates to the partnership, including a 29-year-old. But perhaps the most promising promotion is Ed Hall, an acclaimed private equity funds lawyer who was part of the team advising Phoenix Equity Partners on its £450m fund formation in 2010. Following the exits, as SJ Berwin tries to reshape its funds team and revitalise the practice while capitalising on the private funds opportunities in Asia, Hall will be a crucial man.

Nigel Hatfield, Clifford Chance

Nigel Hatfield faced a tough task when he stepped into the role of head of funds at Clifford Chance following the exit of four key partners to Weil Gotshal & Manges. As the most senior remaining partner in the team, Hatfield was charged with rebuilding the practice, a task he kicked off with the hire of international counsel Gerard Saviola from Debevoise & Plimpton. His role in restocking one of the magic circle firm’s most lucrative practices will be tough, especially given that star associate Stephen Fox decided to leave for Weil too. Hatfield’s task got off to a good start when his firm managed to hold on a large slice of the role on the key €9bn Apax fundraising.

Selina Sagayam, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Since joining Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in 2006 from Simmons & Simmons, where she made a name for herself as a promising young corporate partner and two-year secondee at the Takeover Panel, Selina Sagayam’s practice has flourished. Last year that was illustrated by a prize mandate from Hewlett-Packard on its £7.1bn acquisition of UK-based software company Autonomy. The instruction was one of Gibson Dunn’s first major M&A mandates in London amid a purple patch for the US outfit in the City, where recent deals include a sell-side role on Vivendi’s £83m acquisition of ticketing company See Tickets. In her spare time Sagayam has also carved out a profile as a commentator on changes to the Takeover Code.

Kate Simpson, Proskauer Rose

Proskauer Rose made City rivals sit up and take notice last year with the hire of two key London funds partners from former merger suitor SJ Berwin and one, Kate Simpson, from Kirkland & Ellis. Simpson has worked for trophy clients such as CVC Capital Partners and LaSalle Investment Management. As Proskauer beefs up its UK business following the break-up of the merger talks, former Kirkland non-equity partner Simpson will be central to the firm’s UK plans as the London funds market steps up the excitement level.

Graham Stedman, Nabarro

Ever since Graham Stedman and fellow Nabarro partner Jonathan Cantor were instrumental in winning their firm the role of main corporate adviser to Sportingbet in 2007, replacing Ashurst, the corporate partner has brought in a succession of mandates from the online gambling operator, including its upgrade from Aim to the main list in 2010. The run culminated last year in one of the busiest 12-month periods yet for Sportingbet. It acquired Australian betting company Centrebet funded by an £118.5m equity and convertible bond issue, and disposed of its Turkish-language gaming website Superbahis.com to East Pioneer Corporation for £125m. On both deals, Stedman led. His biggest instruction last year was on Ladbrokes’ high-profile takeover approach. That fell through, but Stedman’s plum role continues.