Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft is to kick off the New Year with a fresh recruitment drive in the London market, spearheaded by a new City managing partner.
The US firm has appointed New York financial restructuring partner Greg Petrick as head of its London office. Petrick replaces London managing partner Angus Duncan, who has returned to full-time fee-earning.
“We’re committed to the London market and plan to expand here,” confirmed Petrick, a Cadwalader veteran of 30 years.
The US firm’s bedrock of structured finance, securitisation and restructuring will continue to be a focus, Petrick added. It is also targeting building up capacity in M&A, international arbitration and the energy sector – an area it boosted at the start of 2011 with the hire of a team from McDermott Will & Emery that included former London managing partner Doron Ezickson.
Petrick’s arrival is intended to put the lid on a turbulent recent history for Cadwalader’s London office that has resulted in a significantly smaller total number of lawyers now than at its peak in 2007.
The firm’s intense focus on securitisation saw London’s headcount drop from around 60 to fewer than 20 following the economic crisis and the exits of seven partners and 12 associates to Paul Hastings in 2009.
“We never contemplated closing the London office,” stressed Petrick. “We’re a finance firm, so we have to be there.”
The relocation of Petrick is doubly significant in terms of Cadwalader’s commitment to the City in that the lawyer was instrumental in the US firm’s UK launch. He helped to recruit Clifford Chance partner Andrew Wilkinson, the high-yield bond star on whom much of Cadwalader’s success was based and who is thought at one point to have had a £25m practice.
“London’s near and dear to my heart,” insisted Petrick.