White & Case loses second Deacons capture to Lovells

Following a protracted battle to win a team of Deacons partners that went all the way to court, White & Case has now lost a second lawyer from the group just six months after the case settled.

Insolvency partner Neil McDonald has quit the US firm to join Lovells’ Hong Kong office. The news follows last month’s resignation of litigation partner Robin Darton, who left to join four-partner Hong Kong-based firm Tanner De Witt.

McDonald joined White & Case with former Deacons insolvency and restructuring partners Mark Fairbairn and Edward Cairns, as well as Darton and corporate partner Jeremy Leifer, in 2002.

Although White & Case got its men, the court ruled that Fairbairn and Cairns breached their partnership contract, illegally tried to persuade Deacons clients to follow them and passed confidential information to White & Case. The judge also held that White & Case encouraged the pair in the first two offences.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (24 October 2003), during the trial, White & Case’s conduct concerning its recruitment was slammed by the judge, who said: “[It] amounts to a cynical disregard for the rights of Deacons, putting profit before honour; it is below the belt.”

Deacons eventually settled the litigation last October, just two weeks before the appeal hearing was due to start (www.thelawyer.com, 25 October 2004).

White & Case confirmed McDonald’s resignation, but declined to comment further.

Lovells declined to comment.