BLP loses three in a week as Oddy quits for Latham

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) structured finance partner Lucy Oddy has resigned for Latham & Watkins, the third departure to hit the mid-market firm in a week.

The move follows yesterday’s resignation of BLP real estate finance duo Andrew Flemming and Jo Solomon, who are currently in advanced negotiations with Hogan Lovells. Partners are expected to confirm the hires by the end of this week. 

Oddy, who joined BLP from Clifford Chance in 2010, has been in talks with Latham for a number of months. She was initially expected to move to a US firm with BLP’s high-profile structured finance partner Paul Severs, though sources say he is now expected to stay at BLP. 

The group has been affected by a depletion in heavy-hitting banking clients following the end of the high-profile ‘Project Isabelle’ deal. BLP scored a place on RBS’ landmark ‘Project Isabelle’ agreement to sell off £80bn of toxic UK commercial real estate loans, with Severs leading the £1.36bn deal to sell of the bank’s 25 per cent stake to Blackstone (30 June 2013). Its end marked a turning point for the group.

“Ever since Project Isabelle ended a heap of people haven’t had enough work to do,” said a source earlier this year.

By the end of 2013, 11 finance partners had made for the door. Following finance chief Matthew Kellett’s exit in October, former Clifford Chance managing partner and Jomati founder Tony Williams stepped in to lead an independent review of the department (30 October 2013).

Other exits from the firm have included restructuring head Ben Larkin, who left for Jones Day (10 February 2014), asset finance partner Lisa Marks, who joined Stephenson Harwood (9 July 2013), private equity heavyweight Raymond McKeeve for Jones Day (20 August 2013) and corporate finance partner Michael Weir (8 October 2013). 

Meanwhile Oddy is the third partner hire announced by Latham’s London office this year, following the appointments of Nick Benson from Weil Gotshal & Manges and Kem Ihenacho from Clifford Chance.