What Maurice and Mike did next

So the secret’s out.

As we reveal today, Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz are joining elite Boston firm Ropes & Gray to set up its London operation – something that will come as a surprise to those observers who had predicted that the pair would join Paul Maher’s firm Greenberg Traurig Maher, launched earlier this year (see story).

Allen and Goetz are not institutional men, to put it mildly. They prefer building a business to consolidating one, as their short-lived tenancy at Freshfields demonstrated.

It marks a long-awaited shift at Ropes & Gray, which has been famously cautious about opening in London; indeed, it is one of the very few major US firms without a UK footprint.

For the moment Ropes & Gray London is focusing on debt finance to support its well-established US private equity practice. So the more useful comparison is not with Greenberg Traurig Maher, but Kirkland & Ellis, which only really started appearing above the radar in London when it began building a sponsor debt practice.

And who should Ropes & Gray share its major client Bain Capital with? None other than Kirkland, of course.

That’s a signal of intent if ever we saw one.

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Also on TheLawyer.com today: Reprieve lawyer Clare Algar on why judges have more guts than government; Bakers revamps its management committees; and litigators prepare for the publication of the Jackson review.