A&O and Haarmann fall prey to Ashurst’s New Year hiring spree

Ashurst’s New Year hiring spree” />Ashurst has kicked off the New Year by ramping up its German and Italian operations with raids on Allen & Overy (A&O) and Haarmann Hemmelrath .

The silver circle firm has hired an eight-lawyer restructuring team from Haarmann Hemmelrath, which includes partners Matt McDonald, Ingo Scholz and David von Saucken.

Ashurst head of restructuring and insolvency Nick Angel told The Lawyer: “We’ve been looking at the German market for a while. This team has expertise in the German market but works to an Anglo-Saxon model.”

Von Saucken and McDonald are to join Ashurst’s London office, while Scholz will transfer to the firm’s Frankfurt operation.

The Haarmann team doubles the size of Ashurst’s insolvency group and brings with it a client base that includes investment banks such as JPMorgan, Credit Suisse First Boston and Goldman Sachs. This will be a boost to Ashurst, which has a creditor-based practice and whose clients have included Parmalat Food Holdings, Railtrack Group and the Welcome Break group. The departures are yet another blow to Haarmann, which lost numerous partners during the last three quarters of 2005, including almost all of its Cologne office.

In a separate move, Ashurst also poached A&O Milan partner Franco Vigliano, a legend in the projects market, who has been instrumental in running the Messina Straits Bridge Project for A&O. His colleague John France also joins Ashurst as a partner along with three associates.

The moves take the number of partners in Ashurst’s Milan office to nine and represent the firm’s first major projects laterals in Italy.

The exits are just the latest twist in the troubled history of A&O’s Italian operation. In 2004, the bulk of the firm’s Turin office walked out to launch boutique Bin Avvocati Associati while corporate rainmaker Roberto Casati jumped ship for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.