DLA Piper swoops for Bingham hedge funds star

DLA Piper has poached Bingham McCutcheon banking and finance partner Sarah Coucher, marking the latest in a line of departures from the latter’s London finance practice.

With experience in the hedge fund, distressed debt and special situations arenas, Coucher will join DLA Piper’s 10-strong London restructuring team to beef up its hedge fund expertise.

DLA Piper joint CEO Nigel Knowles said: “Sarah is a great restructuring lawyer with very specific hedge fund experience, which we really needed to bolster our restructuring team.”

James Roome, managing partner of Bingham McCutcheon’s London practice, said negotiations are ongoing regarding Coucher’s notice period but it is likely she will leave within the next month or two.

Admitting that her departure leaves a gap in the firm’s hedge fund capability, Roome added that partner Stephen Peppiatt, who joined the firm from US-based Shearman & Sterling last October, will take full responsibility in the meantime.

Bingham McCutcheon’s banking and finance team has seen a number of departures over the past two years, among them partner Andy Rothenberg who joined Jones Day, but Roome said the practice is not currently short-staffed.

While Rothenberg was not directly replaced, on the associate side Michael Manfell has recently joined from Clifford Chance and Jeff Bell from Simpson Thacher. Roome added that a further associate will join in the coming weeks.