DLA partner takes CC leveraged finance partner

DLA Piper has taken a high yield and leveraged finance partner from Clifford Chance’s London office as both firms push for more firepower in their high-yield teams.

Tony Lopez has moved over to DLA Piper’s 32-strong finance and project team, leaving Clifford Chance as it continues trying to boost its high-yield practice. The firm is understood to be on-the-hunt for new partners to its high-yield team.

Lopez joined Clifford Chance’s London office in 2011 after five years in New York, where he worked on a string of cross-border deals including advising Carmeuse on its $375m seven-year high-yield bond issue (12 August 2011).

As a US-qualified lawyer based in London, he is an attractive offer for DLA – firms are increasingly on the hunt for partners with cross-border experience as deals become more complex and cross-jurisdictional.

DLA Piper structured finance partner Martin Bartlam said: “As a US qualified lawyer based in London with particular expertise in high yield bonds and aviation finance, Tony further deepens our high yield, structured finance and US securities capability.”

DLA Piper and Clifford Chance have both been making an effort towards growing their high-yield and structured finance teams and Lopez’ appointment marks DLA Piper’s second lateral hire to the team since August, when it took on former White and Case partner Ronan Mellon.

With deal financing increasingly originating from the US, firms are demanding more cross-jurisdictional expertise in their transaction teams.

Clifford Chance’s finance operation is split into two groups and high-yeild transactions fall under its capital markets group, which incorporates equity and debt capital markets and high-yield work, headed up by partner David Dunnigan. Its global financial group includes lending and acquisition finance, real estate finance and asset finance (4 November 2013). 

The firm has poured investment into its capital markets group over the year and has closed a high number of deals, though headcount has falen from 79 to 74.