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December 1, 2009updated 12 Apr 2017 4:29pm

Where have they all gone?

Asset finance lawyers at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continue to leave

By Brendan Malkin

Asset finance lawyers at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continue to leave

It was a deal that could have won it awards: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s advisory work on the sale of Angel Trains.

It involved a team from Freshfields comprised of no less than 18 associates and partners, headed by partner Richard Phillips, acting for a consortium led by Babcock & Brown in its complex acquisition of Angel, the UK’s largest rosco.

How things have changed, however, since the deal was completed in June of last year.

Since then, in a strategic move by the firm to rid itself of asset finance, lawyer after lawyer has left the firm and joined smaller rivals (see box, below).

For the likes of Denton Wilde Sapte and Stephenson Harwood, the arrivals of these former magic circle lawyers has been something of a coup, not least as it has meant they have been able to ramp-up their rail finance capability.

Interestingly, the two Freshfields partners who led the Angel deal, Phillips and Simon Hall, a former head of finance at the firm, remain at the firm. Although their practices spread wider than just asset finance, one wonders whether it will be their time soon to also move on to fresh pastures.

Freshfields: recent exits

Paul Ng Paul Ng (aircraft finance): From Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (partner) to Stephenson Harwood (partner)

Richard Parsons (asset finance, particularly air finance): From Freshfields (Counnsel) to Stephenson Harwood (partner)

Jean-Marc Allix (project finance, PPP and asset finance): From Freshfields (solicitor) to Salans (partner)

Bob Charlton (global finance and projects, including asset finance): From Freshfields (partner) to DLA Piper (head of global finance and projects practice).

Jean L’Homme (general banking and finance, including asset finance): Freshfields (partner) to Proskauer Rose (partner) in April 2008 to DLA Piper (partner)

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