Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has recruited the global head of the private equity practice at Latham & Watkins.
R. Ronald Hopkinson has represented major private equity firms, including the Carlyle Group and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, on a number of high-profile deals. He was lead counsel to Carlyle and Welsh Carson in their $7 billion acquisition of phone directory company QwestDex in 2002, one of the largest private equity deals ever at the time. He again represented those two funds, along with Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., in their $12 billion acquisition of media company VNU Inc., in 2006.
Hopkinson, who joined Latham as a first-year associate in 1988, said Wednesday that it had been hard to leave that firm, but that he had been presented with an exciting opportunity at Cadwalader, where he will also head the private equity practice.
"Cadwalader is absolutely committed to building a first-tier private equity practice," he said, noting that the firm was prepared to recruit more top talent into that area.
Cadwalader has invested heavily in new practices in recent months, bringing aboard top-flight laterals in bankruptcy, antitrust and intellectual property. But the firm is also facing a severe downturn in its core capital markets practice, which is heavily focused on securitization. Slumping credit markets recently forced the firm to lay off 35 associates. But Hopkinson said he was focused on the long term and was undeterred by current market conditions.