MoFo swoops on Shaw Pittman to snare last three London partners

A two-year string of departures culminated last week in the exit of Shaw Pitt-man’s last three London partners. The loss of the trio, who are to join vibrant US rival Morrison & Foerster (MoFo), has sparked a rearguard action by the Washington firm to keep any London lawyers.

Alistair Maughan, London managing partner and co-chair of Shaw Pittman’s global technology group, is joining MoFo as co-chair of its global sourcing group, along with outsourcing and technology partners David Skinner and Andrew Smith.

“MoFo have presented us with an opportunity to develop an outsourcing practice at a firm which is undeniably larger than Shaw Pittman and has a global presence,” Maughan told The Lawyer.

MoFo has added an excellent IT and outsourcing team to its burgeoning London office, following last month’s hire of Simmons & Simmons private equity star Ed Lukins.

While most of Shaw Pittman’s London team is expected to follow the partners, the firm has convinced some staff that its London office has a future. The Washington DC-based firm promoted associate Tim Wright to the partnership last month, while Helen Jerry and Elisabeth Weir have been promoted to counsel. Jerry, Weir and Wright will run whatever remains of the London office.

It is understood that in an emergency meeting on 25 November, Shaw Pittman’s associates were assured that great things were to come, fuelling talk of a merger.

“It’s key to our strategy that on these global deals we have a London presence,” said Jim Alberg, chair of Shaw Pittman’s outsourcing/technology practice. “We expect to attract other people to us.”