A&O snares Herbies’ capital markets head in two-partner raid

Allen & Overy (A&O) is set to hire two capital markets partners from Herbert Smith, marking the magic-circle firm’s second raid on the litigation giant this year.

Herbert Smith’s global head of capital markets Jim Wickenden and Adam Wells, a partner in the firm’s corporate division, have both resigned and are set to move to A&O. It is not yet known when the partners will join; their notice periods are still being negotiated.

Herbert Smith’s global corporate head James Palmer said that Moscow-based CIS managing partner Allen Hanen has taken over responsbility for the firm’s global US securities practice. The London-based US team will be led by partners Steve Thierbach and Alex Bafi.

The news comes shortly after The Lawyer revealed how Herbert Smith was poised to review its corporate group after it missed its budget target by £20m (7 September 2011).

Both partners are US-qualified. Wickenden joined Herbert Smith in 1999 from JPMorgan, where he headed the EMEA legal and compliance department. Before that he was an associate at Cravath Swaine & Moore, working in both its London and New York offices.

Wells joined the firm from Davis Polk & Wardwell, having worked in the US firm’s New York and London offices.

At Herbert Smith, Wickenden has been focused on developing the firm’s US securities capability, and advises on IPOs and secondary offerings. Similarly, Wells specialises in advising investments banks and corporates on securities offerings in the international markets, both public and private, as well as advising on cross-border M&A.

Earlier this year, A&O raided Herbert Smith’s Paris office for a three-partner litigation team (27 May 2011).

In August, Herbert Smith hired former Linklaters partner Andrew Roberts to boost its debt capital markets practice (19 August 2011).