Lathams takes general counsel from GE Capital

Latham & Watkins is bolstering its capital markets practice with the appointment of GE Capital’s European general counsel.

Kevin Dunn is joining the US firm as a partner in November after two-and-a-half years at GE Capital leading a team of six lawyers. He was previously a banking partner at Travers Smith Braithwaite.

Dunn’s recruitment coincides with the arrival of two US heavyweights – New York managing partner Philip Coviello and chair of the corporate department in Lathams’ Los Angeles office Bryant Edwards join Lathams’ London branch (The Lawyer, 24 July).

Lathams executive committee member Bill Voge says: “Institutions are keen that we are strong in both capital markets and on the bank debt side. You need to show strength in both of these areas to stay strong in financial markets.”

A number of investment banks – particularly Goldman Sachs’ London office and Lehman Brothers – are pushing for firms to offer a one-stop shop, advising on senior debt and high yield.

Goldmans’ London office is a leading advocate of firms acting for banks on more than one level of debt. Recently the US investment house advised Allen & Overy to boost its high-yield expertise to secure more of its work (The Lawyer, 10 July).

Dunn says: “GE is a fantastic company and it is doing some cutting edge stuff. Ten per cent of what they are doing [is cutting edge], never in a million years would you get to experience that in private practice.”

But at Lathams Dunn’s remit will stretch across high yield, asset based lending and structured financing.

He says: “Lathams has a good high-yield practice and they want to offer a one-stop-shop to investment banking.

“Asset-based lending is, in my opinion, an area of substantial growth in the UK, but in the US they have been using this instrument for the last 20 to 30 years.”

A GE spokesman says: “[Dunn] is a very capable guy and we are sorry that he is leaving. We are certainly replacing him but at this time it is too premature to say with who.”