Morgan Lewis raids rival US firms for City advance

The London office of US firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius has raided US rivals in London for two new partners.

Corporate lawyer Saloni Joshi joins the firm as a partner from the London office of Debevoise & Plimpton, where she was international counsel, while tax lawyer Kate Habershon joins as a partner from the London office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, where she was counsel.

Morgan Lewis London managing partner Robert Goldspink said: “Our targets in the next two years are in business and finance and we need to have our core skills built up in M&A and funds.

“We want London to be a strong office in its own right but we’re proportionally small here for a firm of our stature. We want London to be a driving force, not just a support office for the US.”

Joshi will join Morgan Lewis’s London funds group, which is part of the private investment funds practice led by New York-based Louis Singer.

She specialises in private equity, hedge and real estate investment fund formation and corporate M&A. Recent transactions in which she has been involved include advising Gartmore Investment Management in relation to the launch of its European fund of funds and Carlyle Group in relation to its E4bn (£2.68bn) European buyout fund.

Habershon joins as a tax partner. She specialises in the tax aspects of M&A, capital markets, acquisition and structured finance, private equity, hedge funds and executive compensation.

The new partners follow Morgan Lewis’s recent move to larger London offices near St Paul’s Cathedral ahead of a plan to double its present City headcount of 35 lawyers by 2009 (The Lawyer, 16 July).