Kirkland hires Linklaters’ real estate M&A head

Linklaters’ corporate partner and head of real estate M&A has been hired by US rival Kirkland & Ellis to join its London office.

Matthew Elliott is expected to take up a partner post in Kirkland’s corporate practice in the spring.

Elliott has experience in advising a range of stakeholders from across the public and private sectors on corporate transactions.

He has been at Linklaters since 1998 when he joined as a trainee solicitor.

Jeff Hammes, chair of Kirkland’s global management executive committee, described Elliott as “one of the top attorneys in his market”.

He added: “His joining is a reflection of our commitment to broadening our strong transactional offering in London.

“Matt is our first partner in Europe with significant experience in private equity real estate, together with substantial experience in a wide variety of other corporate transactions. He is a great fit for our team.”

Elliott’s departure from Linklaters follows the appointment of former Asia corporate chief Stuart Bedford as Linklaters London head of corporate in September last year, who replaced Sarah Wiggins after just four months in the role.

Bedford’s appointment was the last in a string of reshuffles of the magic circle firm’s corporate practice throughout last year.

Last month Kirkland announced that former London chief Jim Learner would return to the firm, three years after he left to join a US buyout house.

However, the firm has also lost significant figures in recent months. Senior finance partner Stephen Gillespie was hired by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in December last year, and London senior partner Graham White joined Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson to lead its City practice two months earlier.

Elliott is the latest of a number of magic circle private equity partners to defect to US rivals in recent years.

In October 2013 White & Case hired Linklaters private equity co-heads Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle.

In February last year Latham & Watkins hired Kem Ihenacho from Clifford Chance (CC). Ihenacho was the third private equity partner to join Latham from CC in the space of a year, following on from global private equity practice head David Walker and partner Tom Evans.