Shearman & Sterling has suffered its first high-profile partner defection this year. Corporate rainmaker Spencer Klein has quit to head up the M&A practice at McDermott Will & Emery.
McDermott has seized the initiative in poaching Klein from Shearman. To make a convincing attack into Wall Street's lucrative M&A market, the firm had to hire a big name.
Klein said: “Our goal is to become a shortlist player for major M&A assignments around the world. Mc-Dermott Will & Emery's commitment to aggressively expand its practice was the most significant factor in my decision.”
Head of McDermott's London office William Charnley said that the hire was McDermott's first step towards building a reputation as a credible M&A player in both London and New York.
“We have not traditionally been seen as one of the Wall Street heavyweights,” he commented. “We've focused on New York and London to build a significant M&A practice. We want to ensure that people will sit up and see McDermott as capable of handling big deals on a regular basis.”
Klein has acted for a number of US and multinational corporations and investment banks on their big ticket M&A deals. His relationship with Morgan Stanley led to an instruction on the merger between British Petroleum and Amoco.
His practice comprises a number of M&A-active industries, including media, telecoms and pharmaceuticals. Clients include Novartis, Viacom, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation.
Klein's departure will hit Shearman hard. The firm's partnership has been presenting a united public front since its decision to shelve at least 10 per cent of its associate number, a move which put the term 'Shearmanated' into common parlance among US associates soon after.
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