Wall Street elite in fresh raids on Linklaters, A&O

Shearman to hire Linklaters M&A star Peter King; Davis Polk lands first UK partner with A&O's Segal

US law firms are continuing their assault on the UK's magic circle after Linklaters and Allen & Overy (A&O) have each lost high-ranking partners to Stateside rivals.

Shearman & Sterling has recruited Linklaters' Peter King, a senior corporate partner whose client list includes the likes of Merrill Lynch.

Meanwhile, as revealed on www.thelawyer.com/lawyer news (14 March), in a U-turn in strategy Davis Polk & Wardwell has snared its first UK lawyer in Nick Segal, A&O's highly-rated insolvency partner. The move leaves Cravath Swaine & Moore as the only member of the Wall Street elite without a UK partner.

The two high-profile defections emerged just a week after The Lawyer revealed that Freshfields Bruckhaus Der-inger corporate partner Tim Emmerson was moving to Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

King had been a partner with Linklaters since 1990 and is widely regarded as one of the firm's most respected rainmakers, with a strong line in capital markets.

This recent spate of magic circle departures was kick-started last year, when A&O partner Euan Gorrie announced his departure to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Last year The Lawyer revealed that Segal, who intends to requalify at the New York Bar, was originally slated to join A&O's New York practice this year, but the move never materialised.

Instead, Segal has opted for a traditional Wall Street firm. He told The Lawyer: “A&O's New York office is very substantial, but it's different from a long-established US firm.”

Donald Bernstein and Stephen Chase, two prominent partners in Davis Polk's US bankruptcy and insolvency group, are understood to have been instrumental in discussions with Segal.

Segal said: “I've been discussing [with A&O] for a while the circumstances in which I would make the move, but the reality for me is that this is a family-generated move.”

Segal is currently playing a key role on the TXU insolvency, advising joint administrator KPMG. Marc Florent, who is already engrossed in the deal, will step into Segal's shoes when he leaves in June.

For Shearman, King's recruitment signals its third UK corporate/M&A specialist for the London office.

From taking on Adrian Knight from Ashurst Morris Crisp in 1999, it was only this year that Shearman added another UK corporate partner to the office, when Jonathan Coppin joined from Norton Rose.

The firm has said in the past that it hopes to build up the practice area to include six UK corporate partners.

Linklaters and Shearman declined to comment.