Jones Day swipes second BLP private equity partner months after McKeeve hire

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) corporate finance partner Michael Weir is to join the firm’s former global private equity head Raymond McKeeve at Jones Day.

McKeeve, widely regarded as a leading private equity rainmaker, was hired by Jones Day in August (20 August 2013) after months of speculation surrounding his move. His exit marked the last of about 27 partners to have had their LLP appointments terminated since November 2012, according to the firm’s filings at Companies House.

While at BLP McKeeve and Weir worked on a number of projects together, including a mandate advising Darwin Private Equity on a £10m acquisition of the organic baby food business Plum Baby in 2010.  

When The Lawyer interviewed BLP corporate head David Collins in August, he was defiant that no partners would follow McKeeve (20 August 2013). He said: “I certainly hope no one will be going with Raymond McKeeve. Nothing has come across my desk that leads me to believe there will be other departures.” 

When asked if there was gap left by private equity supremo McKeeve, Collins added: “I don’t think there is a gap. There are strong individuals in Alan Paul, Catherine Shirley and Michael Weir.” 

Weir has been with the firm since May 2010 and was made partner in May 2012. He was previously an associate with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. His move follows another exit within the firm after Mayer Brown appointed banking and finance partner Richard Todd (7 October 2013).

BLP’s revenue fell by 5 per cent in 2012/13, from £246m to £233m, while its profit figures dropped 39 per cent drop in average profit per equity partner (PEP) and 38 per cent in net profit (30 September 2013).

Jones Day’s partner laterals in London in the past 18 months include disputes specialists Christopher Braithwaite and Baiju Vasani, who joined from Simmons & Simmons and Crowell & Moring respectively; M&A partners Dan Coppel and Ferdinand Mason from Dewey and Boekel De Nerée respectively; projects and infrastructure partner Dominic O’Brien from Addleshaw Goddard; former Nabarro employment expert Jules Quinn; and capital markets partner Drew Salvest from Mayer Brown.

The hires reflected Jones Day’s areas of investment in its UK operations – litigation, finance, restructuring and corporate (22 April 2013).

BLP thanked Weir for his contribution and wished him well.