Salans Hertzfeld lures partners for growing corporate practice

International firm Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn has lured two partners from US and UK firms as it builds its London corporate practice.

Kevin Alexander joins with two assistants from the London office of US firm Bracewell & Patterson, which he has headed since 1988. And Richard Thomas arrives from Sinclair Roche & Temperley, after 11 years as partner with the firm.

Last year Salans merged with New York firm Christy & Viener. London managing partner Roger Abrahams says the corporate practice is expanding as Salans reaps the rewards of its US operations.

Abrahams says: “We identified a strategy that corporate was what we wanted to grow because of the inflow of work from other offices and, particularly in the last 18 months, from New York.”

Joint head of banking in the London office, George Macdonald, says: “There is a lot of work from our cross-border businesses. Paris is mainly an M&A shop and so is New York, and it makes sense for us to grow the corporate practice in London to build on those synergies.”

Abrahams says: “We have to build up the corporate department in the London practice with people who have significant cross-border experience and with people who have demonstrated the capacity to be entrepreneurial.

“We are delighted that these two guys are joining us because they fit that profile.”

Abrahams promises further growth in the London office's corporate department. “This is only part of achieving the strategy, and we are actively recruiting,” he says.

Bracewell & Patterson says there is no crisis at its London office following the departure of Alexander, its only partner.

Richard Rice, the partner who has taken over as head of the office, says: “It is not a crisis. It is a good solution for all parties involved.

“We are not going anywhere and we hope to continue to service our clients in the UK and outside the UK in emerging markets.

When Alexander leaves, Rice will be the only lawyer left at the office, but he says he is recruiting senior assistants and partners with energy and finance backgrounds.