SJ Berwin loses duo of funds partners to Proskauer

Up-and-coming funds star Nigel van Zyl has quit SJ Berwin for the City firm’s former merger suitor Proskauer Rose, bringing fellow funds partner Oliver Rochman with him.


Nigel van Zyl
Nigel van Zyl

Van Zyl, a private equity fund formation expert, joins partners Peter McGowan and Robert Barry in the US firm’s funds team. He is understood to have resigned yesterday (26 July), but the timescale of the departure is not known.

The scoop follows Proskauer’s hire of corporate partners Russell Carmedy and Michael Nouril from Jones Day in the spring (11 April 2011).

Van Zyl made partner at SJ Berwin in 2007 and had been linked with firms including Clifford Chance, where he was tipped as a candidate to fill the gap left by the funds team headed for Weil Gotshal & Manges (13 June 2011). Rochman has been a partner since May this year (6 May 2011).

SJ Berwin was in protracted merger talks with Proskauer last year in a six-month courtship that was seen as unsettling for the British firm. Negotiations were called off in November (12 November 2010).

The firm has seen key partner losses in the past year, with Jon Vivian leading a four-partner real estate exodus to Irwin Mitchell in September (27 September 2010).

Last month competition head Stephen Kon is understood to have resigned from the firm after being voted into the partnership at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, only to be persuaded to stay (14 July 2011).

Jonathan Blake, senior partner st SJ Berwin, said: “Whilst we’re sorry that they’re [van Zyl and Rochman] leaving, we remain the undisputed market leader for funds with more partners and associates dedicated to this area in the UK and across Europe than any of our competitors.

“Our deep expertise across a very broad team has been built over many years and we’re committed to maintaining and developing that for the benefit of our clients.”