Greenberg Traurig recruits six-partner KWM London team with around 25 associates set to follow

KWM london

Greenberg Traurig is to hire six partners from King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) London office.

Real estate funds partners Steven Cowins and Marc Snell, real estate partner Matthew Priday, corporate finance partners Michael Goldberg and David Fitzgerald, and tax partner Clive Jones are all set to join the US firm’s City base alongside their respective teams.

Goldberg and Priday specialise in commercial real estate investment work and have both acted for property investment company British Land.

Cowins specialises in establishing real estate funds and joint ventures in the UK and across Europe, and counts the Crown Estate as a client.

Jones was part of a real estate team led by William Naunton that joined KWM from Eversheds in 2014. Snell specialises in tax advice to clients in the real estate and financial services sectors. Fitzgerald advises on a wide range of corporate finance work, with a specific focus on the real estate sector.

It is understood around 25 lawyers could move with the partners.

In a statement, a Greenberg Traurig spokesperson said: “We can confirm our expectation, subject to final arrangements, that a team of partners from KWM will be joining Greenberg Traurig.

“These lawyers share an orientation towards the real estate sector. Under [London chairman] Paul Maher’s leadership, we have built a first-class office in London, with strong M&A, corporate, tax, capital markets and other areas, including real estate. This move will add resources in major firm-wide strategic areas of real estate, private equity, M&A and tax.”

A host of firms are currently in discussions to take on various partners from KWM’s Europe, UK and Middle East arm (EUME), which is heading towards a pre-pack administration that is likely to happen next month.

Reed Smith is in talks with a large number of partners, understood to include competition partner Tom Usher and joint head of life sciences and healthcare Cameron Firth, as well as a number of tax partners including London tax head Gareth Amdor.

Usher and Firth are also understood to be among partners talking to Winston & Strawn.

Other firms that are interested in taking on parts of KWM Europe include KWM’s own Asian arm, Mayer Brown and DLA Piper.

Dentons had previously been talking to KWM’s European management about a potential deal to take over the EUME business but pulled out of discussions recently, leaving no single-firm takeover of the business on the table.

Dentons’ management has issued a statement denying that talks broke down due to differences in the two firms’ profit-sharing structures, which according to one source may have upset KWM partners because of differences in profitability.

In a statement, Dentons said: “While we did enter into exploratory discussions with the leadership of KWM EUME, we informed the firm’s management at an early stage of our decision not to make an offer for the business. No terms were ever proposed or discussed for the business or in relation to any individual, including potential profit-share arrangements. We admire KWM’s partners and staff and wish them well.”

The statement came as it emerged that KWM has registered a new limited liability partnership called KWM Deutschland with Companies House. Its listed members are EUME managing partner Tim Bednall, EUME senior partner Michael Cziesla and the King & Wood Mallesons LLP.