Fried Frank launches English law practice

New York firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is launching its English law practice with a new partner from O’Melveny & Myers in London.

Fried Frank ended its longstanding capital markets joint venture with Simmons & Simmons at the start of the year. It is now taking on finance lawyer Christopher Kandel to focus on complex international senior loan, mezzanine and project finance transactions.

Since splitting with Simmons, the firm has been trying to build up a UK law capability to service its M&A, private equity and capital markets clients coming to London (The Lawyer, 17 April).

Kandel, who will become the fourth London partner, says he chose Fried Frank because his bank debt practice is increasingly converging on high-yield.

He says: “More and more clients want one-stop shopping – they want to have high-yield and senior banking debt done in the same place. It’s an important element of my practice and O’Melveny wasn’t able to give me that in the London office.”

He will work closely with Fried Frank partner Timothy Peterson and his team, which was seconded to Simmons until it was pulled out in November.

He says the arrival of a lot of the big US private equity houses in Europe is producing a demand for English law capability. The firm acts for clients such as Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm.

The departure of Kandel leaves Los Angeles firm O’Melveny & Myers with only its managing partner Adrian Harris in the London office.