Latham raids Clifford Chance – again

Word on the street from City rec cons is that in US firm circles at least, things are picking up. And they certainly are over at the London office of Latham & Watkins , which has just hired its sixth major lateral in a year and its third private equity partner from Clifford Chance ’s apparently dwindling team.

Carlyle adviser Kem Ihenacho is to tread a path already travelled by former private equity head David Walker and Tom Evans, both of whom quit for Latham & Watkins in 2013 . Questions will now inevitably be asked about the magic circle firm’s commitment to private equity and its ability to hang on to several key clients such as Carlyle, CVC and Permira.

But is there a wider malaise? Other heavy-hitting corporate and funds departures from Clifford Chance since 2009 include private equity dealmaker Adam Signy and funds head Jason Glover to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett , as well as the quartet of Ed Gander, Nigel Clark, Jonathan Kanel and Nick Benson quit , all for Weil Gotshal & Manges (Benson later joined – you guessed it – Latham, which is somewhat magically maintaining its reputation as a go-to firm).

Other lawyers of Kem’s generation, all helpfully detailed in our story today , are sticking around.

At least for now.

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