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Kirkland taps Debevoise for latest NY-based partner

The law firm advised on more than $57bn-worth of secondaries transactions last year and represented GPs including Audax Group and Clearlake Capital Group.

Kirkland & Ellis, the top-ranked law firm by deal volume according to the Secondaries Investor Law Firm Survey 2020, has hired a lawyer from Debevoise & Plimpton as it continues to bulk up globally.

Mark Boyagi joins the firm’s New York office as a partner in the investment funds team. He previously spent three years at Debevoise, where he was an associate working on funds and investment management.

“As our secondaries practice has continued to grow and has been as busy as we have been, continuing to build out the team has been a priority for us,” Michael Belsley, who leads Kirkland & Ellis’s secondaries practice, told Secondaries Investor. “Mark has a buyside background as well as sponsor side, which makes him an ideal candidate to be able to take advantage of a number of mandates that Kirkland is anticipating.”

Chris Braunack, investment funds partner based in the firm’s London office, said: “For us, getting a guy of Mark’s calibre in is like adding a destroyer to a naval fleet – it’s a no brainer.”

Boyagi joins a team which has more than 190 attorneys working on secondaries transactions globally, including 80 partners.

His appointment is the latest partner hire after Társis Gonçalves joined the firm’s London  office from Paul Hastings last July, as Secondaries Investor reported.

Kirkland advised on more than $57 billion of secondaries transaction volume last year, which includes 49 GP-led deals, 25 portfolio sales and 18 preferred equity investments, according to the firm.

In the US, the firm represented Audax Group, Clearlake Capital Group and Kinderhook Industries on secondaries transactions last year, and advised on portfolio sales, two of which were worth more than $1 billion.

The firm’s London team set personal records last year in terms of volume transacted, and volume is set to increase again this year, according to Ted Cardos, a London-based partner.

“Assuming that the trajectory continues and then LP portfolios come back to something approaching normal, we’re looking at a pretty material 2021,” Cardos said.