Linklaters' former US co-head joins Dechert as fellow banking partner heads to White & Case


Dechert has sealed the hire of Linklaters’ former US banking head and US co-managing partner Jeff Norton.

Norton, who is joining Dechert’s New York base, previously led Linklaters’ US banking team, and was the firm’s US co-managing partner from 2011 to 2014.

He stepped down as US co-managing partner in late 2014, nine months ahead of schedule. For the past two years, private equity funds partner Scott Bowie has served as sole head of the firm’s US practice.

Norton’s exit from Linklaters comes as fellow New York banking partner Sabrena Silver leaves to join White & Case. At Linklaters she was co-head of the firm’s Mexico working group and head of its Ecuador working group, and had spent more than 12 years at the firm after joining from Jones Day in 2005.

At the same time, Dechert is also bringing in Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison counsel Gareth Clark as a partner in New York. Clark’s practice focuses on private equity, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Mark Thierfelder, chair of Dechert’s corporate and securities group, said he expects more additions to the practice in the next few weeks or months. The group has been adding to its abilities in private equity, cross-border M&A,  leveraged finance, life sciences and financial services in recent months.

Clark fits into Dechert’s private equity plans, with the firm facing growing demand, according to Thierfelder. Clark’s clients include large and middle-market buyout funds as well as public and private companies. Before his counsel role at Paul Weiss, Clark was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.

Norton, who Thierfelder once worked for at O’Melveny & Myers, brings experience in leveraged finance, as well as restructuring and liability management. He has worked on both domestic and cross-border financing transactions for financial institutions, financial sponsors and corporate clients.

Dechert has also been beefing up its corporate and finance team outside the US, making a series of lateral hires in recent months.

In Asia, the firm added five lawyers including Xiao Yong in Hong Kong and Nicholas Song in Beijing, from Vinson & Elkins. Also in Hong Kong, Dechert brought in a four-lawyer team led by Stephen Chan of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

In London, the firm has lured Philip Butler and David Miles from DLA Piper, John Markland and Rob Bradshaw from Kirkland & Ellis and Ross Allardice from White & Case. Dechert also added Hamish Walton from King & Wood Mallesons in Dubai.

Thierfelder said the firm would likely target New York, Washington DC and London for additional growth.

Dechert’s gross revenue rose by 2.4% in 2016, but revenue per lawyer dropped slightly, and profits per partner increased by just 1.6%.