The Transfer Window: latest moves for Ashurst, PwC and Dentons

It is not just Premier League clubs that have been busy in the transfer market this summer. Top law firms have been strengthening their benches too, with recent big moves including DLA Piper’s hire of two leveraged finance partners in London; Kirkland & Ellis’s addition of a five-partner enforcement team from Ropes & Gray in London, Hong Kong and Chicago; and Dentons’ hire of a four-lawyer tax team from Baker McKenzie in Amsterdam.

Other recent standout moves include Ashurst’s hire of a three-lawyer team from Baker McKenzie in Germany, led by the firm’s Frankfurt banking and finance head Martin Kaiser. He focuses on advising banks and companies, particularly in relation to the securitisation of automobile loans and trade receivables. He is joined in the move by two associates.

In London, US firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has launched a disputes practice with the hire of Norton Rose Fulbright partner Deborah Ruff. At Pillsbury she will lead the firm’s global international arbitration practice and act as London disputes head. She was a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski before it merged with Norton Rose in 2013, and prior to that she was a partner at legacy Dewey Ballantine.

In South Africa, Dentons has hired Tessa Quaker (pictured) who will join the firm as a partner in its Johannesburg banking and finance practice. Previously, Quaker was a director at Thipa Denenga, a specialist funds and financial services firm. She previously worked in-house at Standard Bank and mining major Anglo American, where she advised on banking and finance with a focus on corporate lending and capital markets.

Her appointment follows the hire of Thipa Denenga name partner Michael Denenga, who joined Dentons in July to lead its South Africa banking and finance practice.

Big four accounting firm PwC has continued to strengthen its managed legal services capacity with the recruitment of Claire Hirst from Axiom in Belfast, where she was a senior manager. Hirst said: “PwC is doing incredibly innovative work in this space to solve the challenges facing large in-house legal teams. I look forward to adding to the creativity and expertise of the team to help clients work more effectively.” Her addition follows the hire of Andrew Giverin and Jason McQuillen as partners earlier this year. The pair joined from technology and outsourcing boutique Radiant Law, which they helped co-found in 2011.

In the midlands, Shakespeare Martineau has hired the former senior partner of BLM’s Birmingham office Christopher Wiggin as a partner in its corporate risk practice. He founded BLM’s Birmingham office in 1990 and led it until 2014, taking it from two employees to 185 in that time. Wiggin said: “Being able to bring a new area of focus to the firm will be especially rewarding and I’m keen to apply my existing contacts and knowledge into a dynamic, forward-thinking and growing firm.”

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland TLT has boosted its real estate practice with the hire of Kevin Murphy as a partner in its Belfast office. He was previously an associate at Irish firm A&L Goodbody. He advises on a wide range of property matters, with a particular focus on the renewable energy sector. He is qualified to act in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

In Hong Kong, Mayer Brown JSM has hired Sidley Austin litigation partner Alan Linning. He is best known for his five-year tenure as executive director for enforcement at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and he specialises in securities litigation and financial services government investigations and regulatory matters.

Linning joined the SFC in 2001 from Baker McKenzie. In a high-profile case, he led the enforcement against Towry Law (Asia) Hong Kong, a local arm of London-based asset manager Henderson Group, on misselling hedge fund products to 2,300 investors in Hong Kong. The case resulted in a fine of more than $84m for Towry Law.

Dentons is set to lose its aviation group in the US to LeClairRyan, according to two people who follow the practice area. The group, which includes partner Mark Dombroff in Virginia, is known for its representation of aviation industry clients after plane crashes. It is unclear how many partners and lawyers will ultimately move with Dombroff.

Denton’s website lists three US partners who specialise in aviation and aerospace. In a statement, the firm confirmed that two aviation practice partners would leave, along with support staffers.