As head of SJ Berwin’s finance team, Jeremy Cross has spearheaded the firm’s drive to expand in the area, one of its fastest growing practice groups in revenue terms in recent years.
This has included partner hires across Europe in the past year, notably City-based Christopher Fanner and Andrew Bliss from legacy Herbert Smith and Sidley Austin respectively, as well as Dewey & LeBoeuf’s Walburga Kullmann in Frankfurt. Cross aims to make the firm into a more serious finance contender within a couple of years.
Interest in SJ Berwin’s finance department has increased, with other lawyers joining the partner count across London and the continent throughout 2012, including Watson Farley & Williams Madrid finance head Joaquín Sales and newly-promoted City partner Simon Fulbrook.
Cross himself had a fine year in 2012. He led deals for Lloyds Banking Group and Investec and is the lending relationship partner for both, with State Street – one of Cross’s newer customers – also on the firm’s list of finance clients. The firm was re-appointed to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds panels in 2012 and advised the latter on several deals in the £80m to £150m range in the past year.
His strategy for the firm is distinct and bold in comparison with some rivals, where finance practices have largely been cut down to size. If all works out as planned, SJ Berwin will soon be a significant presence in banking thanks to Cross’s steering.