Keal departs A&O one month into notice with KKR in tow

Allen & Overy‘s (A&O) legendary leveraged finance partner Tony Keal has left the firm just one month into the standard six-month notice period, taking his entire book of business with trophy client Kohlberg Kravis Robert (KKR) to new firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Widely viewed as one of the best leveraged finance lawyers in Europe, Keal advised KKR on all of its UK debt financings.

One A&O partner conceded that it would have been virtually impossible to hold onto any KKR instructions given Simpson Thacher’s special relationship with KKR.

Keal resigned from A&O to join New York-based Simpson Thacher on 14 September, following a series of clashes with the magic circle firm’s senior management (The Lawyer, 19 September). He left A&O on 7 October after more than 30 years with the firm.

During his time at A&O Keal clashed with A&O senior management over a number of issues, including the differing contributions to the bottom line made by the firm’s corporate and banking practices and on assistant pay.

Keal is the third UK-qualified partner in Simpson Thacher’s London acquisition finance team. He joins Euan Gorrie, another former A&O partner, and former Ashurst partner Stephen Short.

A&O declined to comment.