More KWM lawyers defect to Goodwin

Investment head Michael Halford, and a number of other partners, have jumped ship to join ex-colleagues at the rival firm.

King & Wood Mallesons investment funds head Michael Halford has joined rival Goodwin, with a number of other partners expected to follow in due course, Secondaries Investor sister title pfm reported this week.

“We can confirm we have extended offers to certain other London-based KWM partners,” Goodwin said after confirming Halford’s hire.

The offers are subject to a Goodwin partnership vote, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Halford tendered his resignation in October along with four other partners, including private equity partner Jonathan Pittal. In the same month, global managing partner Stuart Fuller also announced he would step down at the end of the year, although he will remain a partner at the firm.

The departures were the latest in a long line over the past year. KWM has already launched legal proceedings against its former co-head of corporate Richard Lever and his new firm Goodwin over the departure of a team of Paris-based private equity partners.

The claim was filed in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in London on 16 May, and relates to the hire by Goodwin, previously known as Goodwin Proctor, of six former KWM lawyers including its former Paris managing partner Christophe Digoy.

Lever left KWM in 2015 to help establish a London-based private equity presence for Boston-headquartered Goodwin. He was joined a few months later by former colleague Simon Fullbrook, who specialises in leveraged finance transactions.

The Paris team followed the pair in April this year. The six-strong group was charged with opening the Goodwin Paris office and reportedly took around £8 million ($9.9 million; €9.4 million) in annual billings when it made the switch.

KWM declined to comment on the latest development.