Latham shores up Carlyle ties with hire of Alabaster

Latham & Watkins has further strengthened its ties to private equity giant the Carlyle Group, hiring in-house counsel Tom Alabaster as a partner in its London office.

Alabaster started work at Latham’s City outpost yesterday (22 April), having relocated from Carlyle’s New York office where he held the mantle of senior counsel for three years.

His hire marks the second into Latham’s London funds practice in four months, following that of Nick Benson from Weil Gotshal & Manges in January 2014.

The group now boasts three partners in the City, including Nigel Campion-Smith. It is supported by a team of around 10 associates. Latham says it is intending to add more in coming months.

Latham’s global corporate head Dan Lennon said in a statement: “A strong funds platform complements our existing PE practice in London, a key strategic market for the global private equity practice.”

Alabaster has previously spent time working in Carlyle’s London office, following stints as a senior associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, and as an associate at Slaughter and May in both London and Hong Kong.

Bringing the new partner into the fold is likely to help Latham to bolster its relationship with Carlyle, which has become a key target for the firm over the past 12 months.

While Latham is among the go-to firms for Carlyle in the US, it has been consciously bolting on partners to cement its relationship with the private equity giant in Europe.

Last April, it hired former Clifford Chance global private equity chief David Walker, the client’s primary adviser in the UK at the magic circle firm (8 April 2013). It has since brought in up-and-coming private equity partners Tom Evans (9 October 2013) and Kem Ihenacho (18 February 2014) from the magic circle firm, both of whom had also fostered close ties with the private equity giant in recent years.

In July 2013, Walker led on his first deal for Carlyle since moving to the US firm, advising on its acquisition of packaging business Chesapeake (8 July 2013).

Latham’s private equity practice also advises private equity houses including Hellman & Friedman, EQT, Advent International, BC Partners, KKR, Charterouse, Nordic Capital and PAI Partners.