SJ Berwin has beefed up its finance capability with the hire of partner Karl Woolley, one of Addleshaw Goddard’s key Allied Irish Bank (AIB) relationship partners.

The hire bolsters SJ Berwin’s pan-European finance department to 13 partners, and is hoped to bring in a swathe of new client relationships.

Woolley, who joined Addleshaws as a partner in 2000, most notably assisted the firm’s City acquisition finance practice to scoop AIB as a client, winning the mandate to advise AIB on senior and mezzanine debt and working capital facilities for the secondary buyout of Aktrion Group in January 2005.

A specialist in leveraged finance, particularly overseas MBO and MBI transactions, Woolley’s client list also includes Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank and NM Rothschild & Sons.

Before joining Addleshaws, Woolley was with Macfarlanes for four years, having trained at Lovell White Durrant (now Lovells).

SJ Berwin’s head of finance Gillian Smith said Woolley’s hire was inline with the firm’s growth strategy for leveraged finance.

She said it was also expected to strengthen the firm’s relationship with “both a number of our existing clients, as well as to grow potential relationships with new clients”.

The hire follows the loss of structured finance and investment funds partner Nick Terras to McDermott Will & Emery in March.