A&O imports fresh talent from Canada

The hunt for talent has taken Allen & Overy (A&O) to Canada, where the banking and international capital markets (ICM) groups picked up 19 lawyers for the London office in a recruitment drive.

The trip follows a year when A&O has lost a pool of talent from its capital markets practice to other law firms and investment banks.

ICM partners Geoff Fuller and John Skuter and banking partners Francis Bridgeman and Ian Powell embarked on the two-day trip to Toronto, along with two HR executives.

The Canadian lawyers range from newly qualified to five years’ PQE equivalent, but they will need to get up to speed on the A&O model.

Fuller told The Lawyer: “We recognised that the chances of getting the relevant experience were relatively limited, but we were looking for people who were bright and had the right attitude.”

The magic circle firm went on a similar recruitment drive to Australia five years ago, but as one A&O partner put it: “Australians tend to come to the UK with a view to leaving after a few years, whereas Canadian lawyers take a longer-term view.”

A&O suffered a series of departures from its banking and capital markets teams last year, including partners Julian Tucker, Angus Duncan and Clive Wells. It has also been put under pressure from investment banks, which are sweeping up talented finance associates.

Fuller denies that the firm’s losses have been greater than those of other City firms.