Cadwalader targets London growth as new City chief takes reins

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft is to kick off the New Year with a fresh recruitment drive in the London market spearheaded by a new City managing partner.

The US firm has appointed New York financial restructuring partner Greg Petrick as head of its London office, effective from the start of the New Year.

Petrick replaces current London managing partner Angus Duncan, who is returning to full-time fee-earning.

“We’re very committed to the London market and we plan to expand here,” confirmed Petrick, a Cadwalader veteran of 30 years.

The US firm’s bedrock of structured finance, securitisation and restructuring would continue to be a focus, Petrick added. He said it was also targeting building up capacity in M&A, international arbitration and the energy sector, an area it boosted at the start of this year with the hire of a team from McDermott Will & Emery including former London managing partner Doron Ezickson.

Petrick’s arrival is intended to put the lid on a turbulent recent history for Cadwalader’s London office that has resulted in a significantly smaller total number of lawyers now than at its peak in 2007.

The firm’s intense focus on securitisation saw London headcount drop from around 60 to fewer than 20 following the economic crisis and the exit of seven partners and 12 associates to  Paul Hastings (14 January 2009).

“We never contemplated closing the London office,” insisted Petrick. “We’re a finance firm so we have to be there.”