Ex SJ Berwin management candidate to launch PE practice for Reed Smith

Former SJ Berwin managing partner candidate Perry Yam has quit the firm to join Reed Smith in one of the longest-awaited moves in the City legal market.

Perry Yam
Perry Yam

Yam, who is believed to be have been in talks with the US firm for two years, is understood to have resigned from the City firm yesterday and is moving to launch Reed Smith’s London private equity practice.

It is understood that he will be building the team, but is not currently taking any SJ Berwin partners or associates with him.

Yam stood for SJ Berwin managing partner last year, losing out to Rob Day (22 October 2010) after leading following the first round of voting (1 November 2010). He had been tipped to leave the firm for a long time after an acrimonious election process.

Reed Smith does not currently have a dedicated private equity practice in London, although corporate partners Peter Teare and funds partner Oliver s’Jacob have practices that touch on the private equity industry.

SJ Berwin lost key funds partners Nigel van Zyl and Oliver Rochman to former merger suitor Proskauer Rose earlier this year (27 July 2011), with six associates later leaving to join the US firm (5 September 2011).

Last autumn real estate head Jon Vivian led a four-partner property exodus to Irwin Mitchell (27 September 2010), while this summer competition head StephenKon is understood to have resigned from the firm after being voted into the partnership at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, only to be persuaded to stay (14 July 2011).

The firm hired Andrew Bliss in structured finance from Sidley Austin in October (13 October 2011) and aims to increase the size of its finance practice significantly (7 November 2011).

Reed Smith declined to comment. SJ Berwin did not immediately respond to request for comment.