Orrick's UK founder quits for Tite & Lewis

The founder of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe's London office is leaving to launch a structured finance practice at Tite & Lewis, the law firm tied to accountants Ernst & Young (E&Y).

Tamara Box, who opened the office for US firm Orrick in 1996, will be the first structured finance and securitisation partner in an accountancy-tied law firm.

She represents the biggest coup so far for Tite & Lewis since it was launched at the beginning of the year by former Landwell partners Christopher Tite and Mark Lewis.

Box is both UK and US qualified and handles structured finance, securitisation, corporate finance, debt capital markets, general corporate and commercial. Her clients include Credit Suisse First Boston, Bank of America and Bank of New York.

She says she is moving because she wants to get away from the short-term views of the US firms in London.

She says: “My biggest reason for the move has to do with having the long-term commitment to this market and that's a very hard thing to find in the US firms.”

Orrick has made no secret of its desire for an international merger since the failure of talks with City firm Bird & Bird earlier this year (The Lawyer, 21 February). Box says that the breakdown has made recruitment difficult for the London office, which has only 12 lawyers, eight of whom are partners.

She says that an accountancy-tied firm is more attractive than going to an English law firm.

“I think the reality is that very few of any English firms are committed to having a fully integrated US and UK practice. I'm a dual-qualified lawyer and half my business is under UK law and half under US. I want to be part of a very integrated Anglo-American corporate securities business.”

Box says securitisation is ideally suited to an accountancy-tied firm because it is very balance sheetdriven. She adds that the tax practice at Ernst & Young is another driver for her move.

Box will be charged with building up a team of structured finance and securitisation lawyers, which she hopes will house 10 lawyers soon.

Managing partner Christopher Tite says: “We have always defined two key areas for us – corporate and finance transaction work. The opportunity, particularly in the securitisation area, alongside E&Y, is enormous, in terms of their corporate finance advisory business, their real estate business and their tax practice.”

Tite & Lewis has grown to nearly 40 lawyers since it launched and plans to reach 70 lawyers within a year. Box will be the sixth partner.