Davis Polk man quits for Morgan Stanley

Davis Polk & Wardwell is losing one of its London partners to investment banking client Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

Thomas Reid is to become managing director in the corporate finance services department of Davis Polk’s investment banking division in Europe, focusing on IPOs and other capital markets products.

While at Davis Polk in London Reid advised on what was at the time the largest ever pharmaceutical merger, acting for Zeneca on its linkup with Astra. He also did a lot of acquisition work for Morgan Stanley.

He says he is moving into investment banking for the challenge. “It’s really the same kind of work, just from a different perspective. I know Morgan Stanley pretty well and I don’t think there are many institutions that I would move out of the law for, but Morgan Stanley is one of them.”

London-based Davis Polk corporate partner Paul Kumleben says: “For Tom it was a wonderful opportunity that came up unexpectedly, and while we miss him greatly we very much look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

Kumleben says it is relatively common for New York law firms to lose partners to investment banks. The most recent example in the US is that of Rob Kindler, a senior M&A partner at Cravath Swaine & Moore who left last month to join Chase Manhattan (The Lawyer, 12 June).

Kumleben says Davis Polk is moving another partner in from New York to London, following hot on the heels of M&A and private equity partner John Knight and structured finance partner Juliet Cain who arrived last month. Tax partner Lydia Kess will arrive later this year.

Kumleben says: “It’s part of our plan [to build London] in response to client demand here in Europe.”

Kess boosts the number of partners in London to 13.