McKee Nelson has confirmed the names of the 11 partners who are set to join Ashurst to help spearhead the UK firm’s new US offices in Washington DC and New York.

The partners joining Ashurst to ramp up the firm’s New York office are Douglas Bird, Eugene Ferrer, Thomas Glushko, William Gray, Steven Kopp, David Nirenberg, Patrick Quill, Michael Voldstad and Alice Yurke.

In Washington Ashurst has also hired McKee Nelson partners Richard Davis and Scott Faga.

The group of 11 has defected to Ashurst from the New York-based firm along with an unspecified number of associates.

Earlier today The Lawyer reported that Ashurst had recruited the team from long-time ally McKee Nelson (24 Feb 2009).

McKee chairman Will Nelson said: “This action is in keeping with the firm’s efforts to diversify its practice.”

Nelson added his firm would focus on litigation and enforcement and aims to reduce the number of lawyers in its corporate and finance groups.

Corporate and finance now represents 26 per cent of McKee Nelson’s headcount while litigation and enforcement and tax represent 34 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

Despite this, Nelson claims the firm remains committed to maintaining its market leadership in structure finance.

Until now, Ashurst has had a non-fee earning presence in New York with a two-member support staff team. Corporate and commercial partner Duncan Stiles has manned the office on a part-time basis since 2007.

London-based Ashurst partner Erica Handling developed the alliance with McKee Nelson in 2004 working closing with McKee partner Larry Isaacson (15 March 2004).