Dewey Ballantine London-based capital markets rainmaker Camille Abousleiman has quit the firm for LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae.
The move continues the exodus of key Dewey partners surrounding the failed merger discussions with Orrick.
Dewey London managing partner Fred Gander told The Lawyer: “If it was not for the merger discussions I don’t think we would be in this position.
“[Abousleiman] was not a big fan of the merger discussions and has voted with his feet. Even though the merger discussions were called off, he had already made his decision.
“We spoke with him on Monday when he returned from his Christmas break, but he decided to go with LeBoeuf anyway. We’re very sorry to see him go, and wish him all the best.”
Abousleiman and capital markets colleague Louise Roman Bernstein are both joining LeBoeuf from Dewey, with Abousleiman heading up the London capital markets practice for LeBoeuf.
Abousleiman confirmed: “I was not very happy with the [Dewey and Orrick] merger discussions, I did not think it was a great thing for Dewey. By the time it was called off, in my mind I was already checked out and was skiing in Canada – I was too far down the line to change my mind.”
Abousleiman and Roman Bernstein both specialise in emerging markets, particularly the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS.
In 2006 Abousleiman advised on the largest-ever IPO in the Middle East for Telecom Egypt, the first-ever Dubai International Financial Exchange flotation and the subsequent largest IPO in the Middle East.
For LeBoeuf, the hire represents the latest trophy in an impressive spree that includes several former Freshfields partners and has seen the London office increase its offering to include highly-rated real estate, environmental and tax practices, while also increasing strength and depth in its core energy and insurance practices.
Gander said Dewey had instructed recruiters to launch an aggressive recruitment drive, following a freeze on lateral hire discussions during the merger talks with Orrick.
“The merger is behind us now. It’s been called off and we are back to business as usual,” Gander said.
LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis said: “[Abousleiman and Roman Bernstein’s] expertise in emerging markets such as the Middle East and the CIS is a great fit with the firm’s existing capabilities and our international strategy.”
LeBoeuf London managing partner Peter Sharp said: “We have a very capable unit now, and doubtless we will need more associates. There is a great deal still for us to do sensibly to round out everything we want to offer to our clients – this will not be our last hire.”