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Latham & Watkins has swooped on rival White & Case for a four-partner team of bank finance and capital markets partners.
The group includes Chris Kandel, who co-heads White & Case’s London bank finance group.
The exit of the group raises questions about White & Case’s continuing relationship with several key clients in London, including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Nordic Capital.
London office head Oliver Brettle (pictured) admitted the exit of the four partners was “a serious blow” but remained adamant that the bank finance practice would continue.
“Quite obviously this isn’t good news for the firm’s practice in London,” said Brettle. “But I can assure you that we’ll rebuild the practice. We remain committed to bank finance globally, in the region and within the London office.”
White & Case’s core bank finance team in London now features partners Magdalene Bayim-Adomako, Barbara Choi and Antonia Rawlinson plus around 30 associates.
Bayim-Adomako has taken over as head of the London group, which is part of the banking and capital markets section headed by David Barwise.
Brettle added that the firm had already commenced a search for a senior bank finance partner to join the team.
“We already had a search out for a senior finance lawyer and we’ll redouble our efforts to broaden that, as you’d expect,” he said. “We’ll also look at relocating partners from throughout the network.”
Kandel, who is understood to have already joined Latham, is moving along with partners Sam Hamilton, Brian Conway and Jayanthi Sadanandan.
Kandel took over as co-head of White & Case’s London bank finance practice in March 2008 after the exit of partners Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz, who left to join Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The pair subsequently joined Boston firm Ropes & Gray to set up its London office.