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Shearman & Sterling’s D.C. rainmaker Barry Barbash, along with four other investment management partners, exited to Willkie Farr & Gallagher last week. Barbash, former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, spent the past seven years at Shearman starting its investment management practice. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Barbash, who was a partner at Willkie Farr before joining the SEC. “The asset management business is getting far more competitive,” says Barbash, who will lead Willkie Farr’s investment management group. “We were all convinced that having a big group made some sense [in terms of competition].” Barbash led Legg Mason’s $3.7 billion acquisition of Citigroup’s mutual fund business last fall. The move comes a year after Shearman’s antitrust guru Steve Sunshine jumped to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which left Shearman with only its litigation and tax practices in Washington. Despite the losses, Shearman officials claim their Washington outpost remains strong. “Our D.C. office has been if not the [most profitable], one of the most profitable,” says Shearman spokeswoman Jolene Overbeck.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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