Edwards Wildman loses partner to Orrick as speculation mounts over London office

Orrick is hiring a corporate partner from the London office of Edwards Wildman as speculation mounts about additional exits from the US firm.

Orrickhas hired Shawn Atkinson, a private equity and emerging company specialist whose clients include Bessemer Venture Partners, ABRY Partners and Greenspring Associates. Atkinson was also co-chair of the venture capital group, the cross-border group and the Central & Eastern Europe group.

He is understood to have resigned from Edwards Wildman but has not yet agreed a start date at Orrick.

Earlier today The Lawyer reported that West Coast technology-focused firm Cooley is believed to be in talks with a number of Edwards Wildman’s London partners in preparation for a City launch (20 June 2014). 

Sources have suggested that lawyers are looking to leave Edwards Wildman because of growing tensions between legacy Kendall Freeman partners and those at legacy Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge (30 October 2007).

Yesterday The Lawyer reported that a group of Edwards Wildman partners had allegedly threatened to walk out in a row over pay (19 June 2014). The firm, which has 25 partners based in London, has dismissed allegations that it is looking to offload its London base.

Orrick’s hire of Atkinson will be a boost to the firm’s private equity ambitions in the City. Atkinson is a former Kirkland & Ellis a senior associate who joined Edwards Wildman in 2010 as the second partner in the firm’s private equity team.

His recent deals include advising the management of high street firm Quality Solicitors on their management equity incentive plan alongside private equity backer Palomon Partners (20 October 2011); Bain Capital on its $3.5bn take private of the South African retailer, Edgars Consolidated stores (the largest ever South African LBO); and Greenspring Associates on its $100m NYSE IPO filing of Luxembourg-based software business GFI.com.