Willkie Farr raids Shearman for five-partner funds team

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has raided US rival Shearman & Sterling to hire a five-partner investment management team, the largest group it has ever brought onboard.

Barry Barbash joins as a partner to head up Willkie’s investment management practice. He joins the Washington DC office along with partner Karrie McMillan.

Partners Maria Gattuso, Joel Goldberg and Margery Neale will also join Willkie in New York from Shearman.

The hires more than double the size of Willkie’s investment management group, which previously consisted of just four partners.

Barbash, a specialist in hedge funds and mutual funds, had been considered one of Shearman’s top rainmakers having led the firm’s asset management group.

He most recently represented Legg Mason in its $3.7bn acquisition of Citigroup’s mutual fund business last year.

Barbash was previously a partner at Willkie Farr, before a five-year stint as director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of investment management, followed by seven years at Shearman.