Bakers boosts banking with Freshfields hire

Baker & McKenzie’s London office has made its third hire from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the last 12 months, naming senior associate Sebastien Marcelin-Rice as partner in the firm’s banking and finance group.

The hire comes days after the Chicago-based firm announced that three former Kirkland & Ellis partners will be joining its domestic private equity group, naming William Kirsch as head of the practice in North America.

Kirsch spent 23 years at Kirkland & Ellis before serving as chief executive officer at Conseco in 2004 and then chair of Paul Hastings global private equity group in 2007. His new role will see him work alongside former Kirkland colleagues Stacey Kern, who was most recently a partner at DLA Piper, and Garry Jaunal, who comes from Kirkland, at the firm’s Chicago base.

Gary Senior, partner in charge of Baker & McKenzie’s London office, said the new arrivals signal the firms focus to grow its banking and finance arm.

He commented: “Strategically, we are looking to grow banking and finance both in London and globally, as evidenced by these hires. We continue to be on the look out for people who we believe will be successful with us and, most importantly, have a good cultural fit.”

The firm’s City office has turned to Freshfields for a number of hires in the last year, naming Marc Fèvre as partner to the firm’s energy, mining and infrastructure (EMI) group last August and Gavin Bushell as partner in the firm’s competition group, which is jointly run by the firm’s London and German bases, last October.

Sources close to the firm have suggested that new office openings are in the pipeline, with Asia and Africa as possible targets. The last year has already seen Bakers open offices in Johannesburg (29 May, 2012) as well as Qatar and Turkey (27 October 2011).