Linklaters bids for senior talent as it woos Weil Gotshal’s Francies

Linklaters has approached Weil Gotshal & Manges London managing partner Mike Francies in a dramatic escalation of its lateral hiring programme.

Francies, a star corporate and private equity lawyer, is understood to have been approached by the magic circle firm as part of its programme of rebuilding its private equity capability following the 2006 departures of Graham White and Raymond McKeeve to Kirkland & Ellis.

Although a formal offer has not been made, The Lawyer has learnt that senior representatives from the magic circle firm have met with Francies in a bid to entice him to join. Francies, who is on the management committee at Weil, is said by sources close to the situation to be non-committal.

Linklaters corporate partner Charlie Jacobs said: “With the hire of Ian Bagshaw [from Clifford Chance] I’m very comfortable with our integrated private equity and public M&A teams. We’ve got a great bunch of youngsters who’ll be eligible for partnership within the next two years. But, like any good football manager, I wouldn’t rule out another lateral hire in the UK or anywhere else if I thought it would strengthen our offering without prejudicing our culture.”

Francies’ long-time friend and former schoolmate David Ereira is set to join Linklaters’ banking department from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in May. Other recent lateral hires include Davide Mencacci from Allen & Overy in Milan and two partners from Italian boutique Pedersoli.