Freshfields restructures finance practice amid profitability drive

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is restructuring its finance practice as it continues to attempt to boost profitability and increase collaboration across its partnership.

The restructure will result in individual team practices being put together into larger groups.

Teams including asset, project and aviation finance will be consolidated into one overall group. Capital markets and corporate treasury will also be combined, while the magic circle firm’s greenfield, brownfield and bond groups will merge into one infrastructure team.

The restructure plans were finalised at a meeting earlier this month.

Freshfields has said it will not remove capabilities in any practice area as a result of the changes and added that its clients “are looking for more flexibility across the spectrum of debt products”.

The restructure follows the news earlier this year that the firm had moved a number of partners to its lower lockstep ladder.

According to ex-partners, multiple partners began moving down to the second tier across offices including London, New York and Germany just before the management election hustings in June last year, with more expected to follow.

However, partners in weaker geographies and practice areas are expected to be hardest hit by the profitability crackdown.

In February, the firm boosted its finance practice with its second high-yield partner hire from Kirkland & Ellis in a year.

Star partner Andrew Hagan was reunited with heavyweight Ward McKimm, co-head of European leveraged finance at the magic circle firm, who joined from Kirkland in June 2015.