O’Melveny boosts private equity with Linklaters hire

O’Melveny & Myers is continuing its attack on the UK private equity market with the hire of Linklaters corporate tax partner Jan Birtwell.

Birtwell, a ‘national’ or salaried partner in Linklaters’ London office since 2001, is joining O’Melveny’s equity partnership in early 2005.

The hire is a further fillip for O’Melveny’s growing private equity practice, which has this year seen a slate of experts join the US firm, including former SJ Berwin stars Matthew Hudson and John Daghlian, DLA partner Andrew Carpenter and Freshfields senior associate Stuart Hills.

Private equity has been a focus for O’Melveny’s London office since the 2002 merger with New York boutique O’Sullivan. The tie-in accorded the firm, which was previously regarded for its West Coast litigation and banking expertise, an instant presence in the market.

The firm’s aggressive expansion strategy has seen a 600 per cent growth in lawyer numbers this year, with a further nine expected to join by February.

A spokesperson for Linklaters said: “We’re very sorry to be losing Jan, but wish her well in her new position.”