Kirkland hires Weil banking star Stephen Lucas

The London office of Weil Gotshal & Manges has been the apple of many a US firm’s eye in the last 12 months.

After losing a three-strong private equity team to Shearman & Sterling and its star tax partner Brenda Coleman to Ropes & Gray, the firm now faces its highest-profile partner exit yet – head of banking Stephen Lucas is leaving for Kirkland & Ellis

But what is Weil’s loss is Kirkland’s gain. Lucas is renowned in the leveraged finance market, last year advising on Carlyle Group’s acquisition of Chesapeake’s packaging business.

He was also part of one of Europe’s largest debt restructurings in 2009, when he advised a consortium of banks led by Commerzbank and the Royal Bank of Scotland on the restructuring of German company Schaeffler’s debt.

While Weil looks to re-fill the position, it might also want to up its efforts in batting US rivals away from its remaining London talent.

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