Kirkland & Ellis poaches Clifford Chance private equity star

Kirkland & Ellis has hired Clifford Chance private equity rising star Gregory Scott as a partner in its London office.

Scott resigned from the Magic Circle firm last month just days after his appointment to the firm’s partnership was announced internally, according to two people familiar with the matter.

His name was subsequently not included in the firm’s announcement of 29 new partners on 28 April.

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A spokesperson for Clifford Chance confirmed Scott was leaving the firm, but said they would not comment on partnership matters. Kirkland did not respond to requests for comment.

Kirkland’s private equity practice has grown rapidly in London in recent years, largely on the back of hires from Clifford Chance’s Magic Circle rivals Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Major hires include Freshfields heavyweights David Higgins and Adrian Maguire, who joined the firm in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Recruits from Linklaters include real estate private equity specialist Matthew Elliott and private equity M&A partners Roger Johnson, David Holdsworth and Stuart Boyd.

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The hiring of Scott marks a new hunting ground for the Chicago firm, which has grown to be the largest law firm in the world by gross revenue, largely on the back of its booming private equity practice.

Though the firm does not release official revenue and profit figures, Kirkland boosted revenue by 16.3% to $4.8bn and increased profit per equity partner by 19% to $6.2m in 2020, The American Lawyer Magazine reported.

Scott joined Clifford Chance in 2010 and was appointed senior associate in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He had undertaken secondments to Barclays’ investment bank and private equity firms Blackstone and CVC, the profile shows.

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Separately, Clifford Chance announced on 10 May that it had hired a three-lawyer private equity team from Kirkland in Munich.

The firm has appointed Kirkland partners Volkmar Bruckner and Mark Aschenbrenner to its partnership and also hired senior associate Samuel Frommelt.

Bruckner joined the firm in 2017 from Weil Gotshal & Manges where he was a partner, while Aschenbrenner was internally promoted to partner at Kirkland in 2019, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth