Goodwin Procter has bolstered its private equity practice in London by hiring specialists Mark Soundy and Sarah Priestley.

Mark Soundy

The two partners recently quit Shearman & Sterling. The US firm has implemented an overhaul of the practice geared at improving profitability.

Soundy and Priestley, who was the head of tax at Shearman’s London office, are joining the department led by Richard Lever who jumped ship from King & Wood Mallesons last year to set up Goodwin’s private equity practice in the City.

Goodwin’s private equity group focuses on mid-market deals. The US firm has expanded the practice in Europe exponentially over the last 18 months, with KWM’s Simon Fulbrook joining soon after his colleague Lever. 

Other practices have also been boosted in the last few months, including Goodwin Procter’s funds group. The firm will be joined by a five-partner strong funds team led by Michael Halford next year.

Since launching in London in 2011, Goodwin Procter has grown from three lawyers to over 40. The growth will see the firm move into new premises at 100 Cheapside next year, which will more than double its current space at Tower 42.

In Continental Europe, KWM also provided Goodwin Procter’s new private equity operation in Paris when a six partner team made the leap to the US firm. It was led by Christophe Digoy, who had been the managing partner of KWM’s office in the French capital and co-head of corporate.

The Lawyer revealed last month KWM has launched a lawsuit in the English courts against both Goodwin and Lever over the hires.

David Evans, chairman of Goodwin Procter’s European offices, said: “Mark and Sarah are outstanding, highly experienced lawyers who will be terrific additions to Goodwin as we continue to build out our global private equity platform.

“Their appointment is an important step in ensuring that we continue to have a best-in-class private equity team that can represent clients across the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.”