Kirkland bulks up European secondaries practice – exclusive

Five lawyers who focus on the sector will join the firm in April, bringing its European secondaries headcount to 15.

Kirkland & Ellis is bulking up its European secondaries capability with the addition of five lawyers to focus on the sector.

In addition to Andrew Shore, who Secondaries Investor reported in February was joining as a partner from Proskauer, the law firm has hired Jacqueline Eaves from Debevoise, Chris Townsend from Fried Frank and Clifford Chance’s Benjamin Harding and James King, investment funds partner Christopher Braunack confirmed to Secondaries Investor.

All five will join in April.

Shore, Eaves, Townsend and Harding will join as partners, while King will join as an associate. Eaves will take responsibility for co-ordinating the group’s global secondaries practice, Braunack said.

Townsend will also focus on fund formation.

The hires bring the number of lawyers working on secondaries in London to 15, eight of whom are dedicated to the strategy.

Globally, Kirkland advised on $31 billion-worth of secondaries transactions that closed last year, according to partner Ted Cardos, who leads the firm’s European secondaries activity. Globally the firm employs more than 380 lawyers focusing on investment funds and works with more than 500 investment fund sponsors.

The firm’s global practice includes partners Sean Hill in Boston, Nick Cassin and Christopher Robinson in New York, Damian Jacobs in Hong Kong and group head Michael Belsley in Chicago.

The firm has won the award for sister publication Private Equity International‘s Law Firm of the Year (Secondaries) in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific for the last three years.

Secondaries deals it has advised on include HarbourVest Partners‘ stapled restructuring on Investcorp‘s 2007-vintage technology fund and the restructuring of Nordic Capital‘s 2008-vintage fund, the largest GP-led restructuring ever to close with €1.66 billion-worth of net asset value trading and the creation of a €2.5 billion continuation vehicle.

Kirkland announced in March it had opened a Paris office – its third in Europe and 15th globally.