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Los Angeles-based Latham & Watkins has taken the head of banking at New York-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ London office to anchor its U.K. acquisition finance practice. James Chesterman, 37, will join the firm soon, bringing to 12 the partner tally in London. He was a founding member of Weil Gotshal’s London banking practice in 1996 and focuses on telecoms and acquisition finance and European restructurings. GE Capital recruit Kevin Dunn, whose upcoming arrival at Lathams was announced earlier this week, will join Chesterman. They will team with U.S. corporate finance partners Phil Coviello and Bryant Edwards to concentrate on the firm’s high yield and acquisition finance work. Chesterman has been handling matters for GE Capital, a key client of Weil Gotshal and Latham & Watkins. He says: “Latham has a very important bench of financial institution clients. I will add some senior debt capability to Latham’s high-yield team. “I’m moving for two reasons; there has been a lot going on at Weil Gotshal this year — it’s been exhausting, and I want a new start. At Lathams I’ll have an overlap with my leveraged finance and telecom finance practices, which are some of the hottest areas in senior debt.” Chesterman’s departure from Weil Gotshal is the latest in a succession, which began in January when Maurice Allen resigned as head of banking. Chesterman says, “This will leave Weil with a gap in leveraged finance, but they’re still strong in M&A, project finance, and securitization.” Chesterman has been linked in the past with Wall Street firm Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett. Despite reported pledges of loyalty by remaining Weil partners earlier this year, whether Chesterman would stay at the firm had been a subject of speculation.

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