Two Ashurst partners exit to US firms in London and New York

Two Ashurst partners have left the firm to join Sidley Austin and Chapman and Cutler in London and New York respectively.

London corporate partner James Wood is joining Sidley’s City base after two years at the firm. Wood (pictured) was previously a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and was posted to the magic circle firm’s Tokyo office between 2007 and 2011, spending more than two years as managing partner there.

He specialises in public and private M&A, demergers and other corporate finance transactions, advising leading corporates, investment banks and private equity firms. He is set to join Sidley on 1 November.

Sidley London managing partner Matthew Dening said: “James’ extensive experience with public and private M&A transactions, along with his engaging nature, make him a natural fit for us and our clients, and a partner whom our global corporate clients and our global corporate lawyers will be very keen to work with.”

An Ashurst spokesperson said: “James leaves with our best wishes and thanks for the efforts he has made over the last two years. The corporate practice is performing exceptionally well so far this year, with London in particular putting in a very strong performance. We are pleased with the mandates we have secured and the pipeline of new clients and mandates for existing clients looks very positive, so we are entering the second half of the financial year in a very good position.”

Meanwhile, New York finance partner Scott Pierpont has joined Chapman and Cutler, in a move which reunites him with the five-partner team that left Ashurst earlier this year following a restructuring of the Anglo-Australian firm’s US finance practice.

Pierpont was the remaining member of the firm’s US collateralised loan obligation (CLO) team following the group departure to Chapman and partner Larry Berkovich’s exit to Allen & Overy.

Ashurst moved away from CLO work in the US after the departure of a team of partners in London to Paul Hastings last year. Paul Hastings had previously hired a nine-lawyer team from Ashurst in New York in 2015, including three partners, which also focused on CLO work.