Lucas makes a splash with Kirkland move

If 2013/14 was the year of game-changing moves by private equity partners, could this year be the turn of their leveraged finance colleagues?

If so, the unexpected news yesterday that Weil Gotshal & Manges banking chief Stephen Lucas has quit for Kirkland & Ellis has kicked off the season with a bang.

Regarded as “the key superstar in finance in London”, Lucas is among the most sought-after talents in the legal market. And with alumni firms including Clifford Chance and Linklaters on his CV, it sounds as if Kirkland was willing to dig deep to add the Weil partner’s name to its partnership roster. Sources suggest he’s been guaranteed upwards of $4m annually for his first three years at the firm.

The move makes Lucas the latest finance partner to jump from one US firm to another, creating a conga line of partners that have made a similar lateral shift over the past couple of years.

So, where does this leave Weil? Following the exit of private equity star Mark Soundy alongside an up-and-coming team last May, the firm will be seeking to plug some gaps.

And for Kirkland? Well, it’ll be hoping that its latest addition lives up to the hype and boosts its practice as well as its profile.

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