City firms woo US partners

CITY FIRMS Herbert Smith and Freshfields are bucking the transatlantic appointment trend by recruiting US lawyers.

Herbert Smith is adding two new partners to its international securities practice. US lawyers Jim Wickenden and Allen Hanen will be joining in March this year from the London office of US investment bankers JP Morgan.

Freshfields is gaining the highly rated Sean Pierce, a general and structured finance specialist, who is currently a partner with Weil Gotshal & Manges.

The appointments come at a time when UK practices are losing a larger number of English lawyers to US firms. Hanen says joining an English firm “makes sense if you want to practise here. UK law is such a dominant source of law for the conduct of international corporate finance”.

Hanen and Wickenden are both keen to be part of the “profit centre of the business” at Herbert Smith and say they are excited at the opportunity of doing deals and developing the business that private practice offers.

Both lawyers gained promotion to senior positions at JP Morgan, where Hanen is head of legal for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Wickenden is head of legal for asset management services for Europe.

However, Hanen says: “We have been rewarded for our hard work with increasing administrative responsibility.”

Richard Bond, head of corporate at Herbert Smith, says: “Their wide ranging experience, gained in both private practice and investment banking, will enhance Herbert Smith's capabilities in international capital markets, structured finance and cross-border mergers and acquisitions.”