Jones Day London exits mount with Travers set to make rare lateral hire

Jones Day real estate partner Alex Millar is set to leave the firm to join Travers Smith, Legal Week understands, in the latest exit from the US firm’s London arm.

Millar, who joined Jones Day in 2001 and was made up to partner nine years later, specialises in commercial real estate investment and development transactions.

His planned move to Travers would represent a rare lateral hire for the UK firm, which has only brought in a handful of laterals during the past decade. Its last lateral partner hire was in late 2014, when it brought in Kirkland & Ellis City private equity partner Stephanie Biggs.

Millar has worked with clients including British Land, CBRE and Delancey. In 2016, he co-led the Jones Day team advising Delancey’s flagship client fund, DV4, on its £1.4bn London residential portfolio combination with real estate investment company Qatari Diar.

Millar’s departure is the latest in a stream of partner exits from Jones Day’s London base, taking the number of partners heading for the exit to five so far in 2018.

In March, City private equity partner Mike Weir joined US rival White & Case, while the previous month corporate partner Dan Coppel and financial institutions regulatory partner John Ahernand left the firm for Morrison & Foerster and Katten Muchin Rosenman, respectively.

Those exits followed that of leveraged finance partner Paul Simcock, who left alongside two associates to join Vinson & Elkins in London in late January.

Jones Day previously saw a number of London partner departures during 2015-16, including several practice heads. Tensions around the firm’s infamous lack of transparency over pay and a disconnection between the London office and the rest of the firm were blamed by some for the spate of exits.

However, the firm has made several notable partner hires in continental Europe since then.

Earlier this year it hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Paris head Elie Kleiman, after it brought over the magic circle firm’s entire Paris real estate team last year.

Travers Smith declined to comment. Jones Day was contacted for comment.