US firm Katten Muchin creates London asset management group with double hire

Chicago-based law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman has created a dedicated City-based asset management group with the hire of two new partners.

The firm has also promoted former Sidley Austin funds partner Barry Breen to head of London financial services.

Breen, who joined Katten’s London base from Sidley Austin last year, has hired former Sidley colleague David Brennand to join him in the asset management group. The funds lawyer was most recently a partner at offshore firm Walkers, having worked with Breen at Sidley for over a decade.

He is expected to be joined by Schulte Roth & Zabel regulatory special counsel Neil Robson, who according to sources is likely to serve out a five-month notice period before starting at Katten. If he joins, the partner headcount at Katten’s London office will grow to 13 (see below), although only nine of those partners are permanently based in the City. 

The creation of a London asset management group is part of a wider re-branding at the firm, with sources saying it is to reflect the fact that “funds don’t operate in narrow silos” anymore. The decision to build an asset management team in London was decided just before Breen’s hire in 2013. 

The London group will consist of four partners – Breen, the two recent hires and tax partner Sanjay Mehta, who joined the firm from Stephenson Harwood in 2012. There are not yet any associates in the team.

The double hire follows a period of rapid growth for Katten’s London base, most recently swiping a private equity team from Hogan Lovells (16 January 2014). In early 2012 the firm hired Mayer Brown’s head of real estate Peter Sugden as its London managing partner (8 February 2012).

The hire of Sugden was part of Katten’s efforts to build its core practices in London – real estate and financial services – and followed the February 2011 departure of previous managing partner Martin Cornish to K&L Gates (7 February 2011). 

The US firm has also taken on Sidley’s former head of hospitality Robert Asher, who advises on issues related to hospitality in the EMEA region, as a consultant.

The firm’s London-based partners are now as follows:

Tim Aron
Barry Breen
David Brennand
Jack Governale (UK/US)
Daniel Huffenus (UK/US)
Carolyn H. Jackson
Ranjeev Kumar
Sanjay Mehta
Joe Payne
Peter Sugden
Philip Watkins
Lance Zinman (UK/US)