Skadden hires London finance partner from rival US law firm

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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has hired a finance partner from rival US law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher in London.

Skadden has added leveraged finance specialist Sebastian FitzGerald as a partner in its banking group, the firm said.

FitzGerald has advised a string of top private equity firms on deals, including Cinven, CVC, Advent, BC Partners and Blackstone, according to his profile on Willkie’s website.

READ Law firms in London are betting private equity will come roaring back

“His addition to the team will enhance our leveraged finance capability to service our strong sponsor and corporate client base,” Skadden’s London head Richard Youle said.

FitzGerald joined Willkie in 2016 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he started his legal career.

He was previously a professional rugby player, representing England at sevens and spending time at Harlequins and Bath.

London’s legal hiring market has been busy in recent months, despite demand for services from top law firms falling amid high interest rates and a sluggish M&A sector.

US law firm Ropes & Gray said on 5 December that it had added Permira managing director Paul Armstrong as a private equity partner in London. Willkie said on 4 December it was hiring restructuring partner Simon Baskerville from Latham & Watkins in London.

New York-headquartered Skadden appointed private equity M&A partner Youle as London head in July.

The firm last year moved to 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London from Canary Wharf, where it had spent two decades.

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