Latham & Watkins in fresh raids on Linklaters and Simmons

Linklaters is continuing to find itself vulnerable to US firms’ attentions after losing a Paris capital markets partner to Latham & Watkins.

Roberto Cristofolini, who joined Linklaters in 1984 and became a partner in 1994, is joining Latham’s 95-lawyer Paris office. He is believed to have a stellar client list, which includes many of France’s leading investment banks. His departure comes just weeks after Linklaters lost highly-rated corporate partner Peter King to Shearman & Sterling.

One lawyer familiar with the situation said that magic circle firms are finding themselves the focus of US practices, since partners are growing frustrated over issues such as lockstep. “This shows real determination on the part of US firms to attack the magic circle,” he said. “In this kind of quiet market, partners are under a tremendous amount of pressure to justify their performance and their place in the lockstep.”

Latham and Linklaters both declined to comment.

Meanwhile, in London Latham has hired its third Simmons partner: corporate partner Martin Saywell follows Simmons private equity co-head Charles Fuller and corporate recovery head John Houghton, who joined last year.

Simmons senior partner Janet Gaymer told The Lawyer: “We don’t expect any significant clients to move with him. I don’t think he has been responsible for bringing any significant clients into the firm.” Saywell was not available for comment.