Weil, Gotshal Raids Clifford Chance Funds Team

Four partners from Clifford Chance have bolted the law firm to join Weil, Gotshal & Manges.  Ed Gander, Nick Benson, Nigel Clark and Jonathan Kandel resigned from Clifford Chance and will launch a funds formation practice for Weil, Gotshal in London.

PRESS RELEASE

International law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges today announced that top-ranked Private Funds partners Ed Gander, Nick Benson, Nigel Clark and Jonathan Kandel have resigned from Clifford Chance and accepted an offer to join its London office to establish a Fund Formation group. The four partners comprise the significant part of the team widely recognised as the number one European Fund Formation group, and are acknowledged by clients and industry commentators for their unmatched experience in all aspects of fund establishment.

The London team will work closely with Weil’s leading Funds practices in the US, Europe and Asia, and will be an integral component of its global private equity practice.

Weil Executive Partner, Barry Wolf, said, “This transformative move represents a major step forward in Weil’s Global Fund formation offering.” Barry, who also leads the fund formation group globally, went on to say, “the new London team, combined with our existing strengths in private equity, means we can now provide an integrated full service private equity practice to fund managers, private equity houses and other industry participants across Europe.”

Weil’s highly regarded US Funds team is ranked in Band 1 for Private Equity Fund Formation by the current edition of Chambers USA, where it is described as having “a diverse workload and deep regulatory expertise… advising sponsors on attempts to raise capital in increasingly novel situations”. The firm’s China offices are ranked in Band 1 for Investment Funds – RMB Fund Formation (International Firms) by Chambers Asia-Pacific 2011. The Asian Funds team has a broad range of experience representing international and Asia-based sponsors in the formation and restructuring of Asia-focused private investment funds, and has been at the forefront of the recent formation of RMB private equity funds.

The new team comprises the significant part of the top-ranked team for fund formation in Chambers UK and Legal 500, with Legal 500 referring to the group of which the team are key leaders as “undisputedly top for all areas of private funds work, be it private equity, real estate, infrastructure or mezzanine” and Chambers noting the “broad reach and coverage”. Individually, Ed Gander is praised by Chambers for “his technical skills, drafting abilities and exhaustive funds knowledge” and Nick Benson is noted as a “highly committed and capable individual” in Legal 500. Jonathan Kandel specialises in the tax structuring of pan-European and global funds; Nigel Clark, who recently returned from Dubai, established Clifford Chance’s Middle East funds practice, which was ranked Band 1 in its first year by Chambers Global.

The announcement comes at a time when Weil is leading the league tables for private equity deals across Europe. Deals which the London office has led this year include advising Providence Equity Partners on the sale of Phones 4u to BC Partners, Advent International on its acquisition of The Priory Group, and ERM on the acquisition by Charterhouse of a majority stake in ERM.

Weil London managing partner Mike Francies said, “The global nature of the private funds market, together with the continued pace of regulatory change in Europe and the US, demands international one-stop private funds capability. We believe that the arrival of this new team will enable us not only to build the leading global fund formation team to serve our international client base by providing European, US and Asian advice, but also to integrate this with our leading private equity transaction team to create something quite unique.”