Lovells snubbed as HgCapital turns to Clifford Chance and Weil Gotshal

HgCapital has dropped longstanding adviser Lovells in a shake-up of its legal panel following the raft of recent top-level movements between UK and US firms.

The private equity house’s chief investment officer Frances Jacob confirmed that Clifford Chance and Weil Gotshal & Manges had replaced Lovells on its panel following the departures of star partners Marco Compagnoni and Jonathan Wood to Weil in London and Oliver Felsenstein’s move to Clifford Chance last September.

Jacob, who has been overseeing the overhaul, explained that the panel review was initiated in response to the "change in the personnel at the firms we have used previously". "We go with people, not firms," added Jacob.

Linklaters has retained its position on the panel on the back of newly made-up partner Richard Youle’s growing relationship with HgCapital.

Kirkland & Ellis‘ omission from the panel has raised eyebrows within private equity circles, given partner Graham White’s historic relationship with HgCapital while at Linklaters.

Dickson Minto, led by partner Michael Barron, has retained its place on the panel for UK deals, while Clifford Chance has been appointed in Germany.

HgCapital’s legal counsel and compliance officer John Kitching, who assisted Jacob on the review, is a former partner of Lovells, which is struggling to rebuild its private equity team.

A Lovells spokesman said the firm is working on an HgCapital deal in the Netherlands.