Private equity-backed funds boutique MJ Hudson opens its doors

Former SJ Berwin private equity partner Matthew Hudson has launched his own practice with backing from private equity house Coller Capital.

The specialist secondaries investor is one of a number of private equity firms that will take a 25 per cent stake in the new boutique, known as MJ Hudson.

The stake will initially be in the form of a loan, which will then be converted into equity when the Legal Services Act comes into force in October 2011.

The firm launched this morning with a total of four lawyers, including Hudson as the sole equity partner and three associates.

Hudson, who has also had prominent roles in the London offices of US firms O’Melveny & Myers and Proskauer Rose, said he hopes to add three more partners by the end of the year. He added he has identified at least 20 private equity and hedge funds clients that he hopes will be on board in the same timescale.

He told The Lawyer: “It’s very small, but in some ways that’s the best way to start. In the market we’re targeting it’s possible to be a major player with a small number of people.”

The firm has been set up under a separate holding company, established on a limited partnership basis, which will be able to invest its own equity into its clients’ funds. Options in these investments could then be made available to associates.

Comparing the move to the ‘big bang’ in financial services that signalled the end of old-fashioned partnership structures at financial institutions, Hudson added: “Law firms are more traditional, but it’s possible to have a partnership culture within a corporate structure.”

For more on this story and Coller’s involvement, see TheLawyer.com, 22 July 2010