MoFo thwarts London by hiring Latham Finance co-chairman Kandel

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Further evidence of significant sideways movement among US players in London emerged today (7 February) with the news that one of the city’s most respected financial veterans, Chris Kandel, has left Latham & Watkins after nine years to join Morrison & Foersters to connect the city arm.

An outstanding performer with a proven track record in leveraged finance, acquisition finance and restructuring, Kandel joined Latham in 2010 from White & Case where he was co-head of the London bank finance practice. He was global co-chair of Latham’s financial offering.

He is the third partner to join MoFo’s London finance practice in less than a year, following Benoit Lavigne of Ropes & Gray and Caroline Jury of Clifford Chance.

“Chris is a market leader with over 20 years’ experience in the London financial market,” said Larren Nashelsky, Chairman of Morrison & Foerster. ‘He has extensive experience in leading leveraged finance and restructuring matters under both English and US law, which differentiates him in the marketplace and our ability to support our clients in their most complex cross-border financial transactions. further strengthened.

“I think the acquisition finance market is looking for more choice,” Kandel said. “MoFo has the right elements in London to make an impact – great M&A, real estate, funds and competitions lawyers, a growing finance team and, for deals that later run into problems, an outstanding restructuring practice in the US and London. The vision here is compelling.”

Paul Friedman, Managing Partner of MoFo Europe, told Legal Business: “Momentum builds – when you bring strong people over and they’re good and believe in what they’re doing here, other people come knocking on your door. Chris has former colleagues in our office and has heard from them about the transformative things we are doing. That’s often how the best recruitment happens – it’s like a magnet.”

Discussions between the company and Kandel lasted several months, Friedman said. Kandel will become the third partner in MoFo’s City finance practice of 10 attorneys, but Friedman said the firm plans to significantly expand the team in the coming months. The London office currently has 70 lawyers.

Kandel was part of a four-partner team that moved from White & Case to Latham in 2010, a move that laid the foundation for the Los Angeles-bred firm’s dominance of the European leveraged finance market. The team also included Latham’s current managing partner in London, Jayanthi Sadanandan, and the city’s chief financial officer, Sam Hamilton.

Clients for which Kandel has served include the €6.8 billion financing for China National Chemical Corporation’s acquisition of Pirelli shares from Camfin and SoftBank’s US$3.29 billion bond offering. Dollar.

His departure is a rare twist in Latham’s long-running hiring wave at City. New additions to the firm, which last year was the first ever to report sales in excess of $3 billion, include infrastructure private equity professionals Brendan Moylan and Conrad Andersen of Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy respectively.

The firm also beefed up its finance ranks over the summer, hiring restructuring star Yen Sum and her finance partner Jennifer Brennan of Sidley Austin.

While Kandel’s signing for MoFo may be the city’s most significant yet, it’s not the first time it has hit his West Coast counterpart Latham in the UK in recent years. In 2015 it hired private equity partner Graeme Sloan to lead its London corporate team and serve as global co-chair of its M&A practice, followed a few months later by Sloan’s Latham colleague Vladimir Maly.

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