Freshfields names new London banking head

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has kick-started the financial year by installing a new head of banking for its London office.

David Winfield will take over from Edward Evans, who will continue fee-earning after nine years at the helm of the London banking team.

Winfield said: “There’s been much more emphasis on leveraged finance and private equity work. Five years ago we were doing just high-grade borrowing work but now our practice is much more diverse.”

Evans also previously held the role of global head of banking, however, Winfield will only lead the 50-lawyer London practice. A firm spokesperson said that there would no longer be a global head of banking but Perry Noble and Dirk Schmalenbach remain as joint global heads of finance.

Winfield and Evans have worked closely together. Both are specialists in investment-grade lending.

The magic circle firm’s banking practice in London has taken several knocks in the last year as a result of the firmwide restructuring that culled 100 partners from the equity over 18 months.

David Ereira, the firm’s star finance partner who specialised in restructuring and top-end real estate finance work, moved to arch-rival Linklaters in February. There have been several partner departures from the team since, including Rex Rosales last week, who left for Reed Smith.

The firm mitigated the departures in London by belatedly promoting two finance associates into the partnership, Martin Hutchings and James Grand. The promotions pushed the total number of finance lawyers made-up this year to seven; two behind the corporate team.

But as exclusively reported by The Lawyer (30 April), only one finance promotion was into the equity rather than the salaried tier.