Virginia law firm Hunton & Williams is ramping up its London presence and adding its first UK-qualified corporate partner.
Charles Ashton is joining the firm from the London office of LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae, where he has been a partner since 1997. Before that he spent seven years as a partner at Theodore Goddard. The London office of Hunton & Williams currently has five partners, three of whom are US-qualified. It opened its English practice a year ago with the hire of two project finance partners from the London office of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy - Jane Templeton-Knight and Mark Frewin. Ashton's practice concentrates on debt and equity capital markets work, a lot of which focuses on Central and Eastern Europe and South America. He represents development banks including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Devel-opment (EBRD) and other international financial institutions. He will focus on developing Hunton & Williams' European capital markets practice, as well as building on his own mergers and acquisitions work. He said: "They have a big office in Poland and have done a lot of capital markets work for major Polish companies. They needed an English capital markets partner to push that and it fits well with my Central and Eastern European practice." The office's three US partners handle corporate and securitisation work, and Ashton will work closely with them. Last year the firm advised on one of the biggest flotations in the US, the $7.3bn (£5bn) initial public offering of Kraft Foods, acting for Kraft. This put the firm at the top of the issuer tables for US capital markets deals, according to Thomson Financial. One of its biggest clients is tobacco giant Philip Morris. LeBoeuf still has seven corporate partners in London, four of whom are UK-qualified. The practice is looking at lateral recruits in corporate, energy, projects and insurance.