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U.S. firm White & Case has announced the recruitment of 47 lawyers to its London office. The 47 include 10 partners and 37 associates, the majority of whom will form part of the firm’s finance practice. This massive recruitment drive, which began in May, is part of the firm’s on-going strategy to increase its presence in the international market — especially in Europe — and steal a march on its U.S. rivals. Duane Wall is the managing partner for the firm worldwide. He says, “We have about 100 U.K. qualified lawyers now, and we want to increase this to between 200 and 300. “We want to build out our European law capability so that we have an equivalent number of U.S. and U.K. qualified professionals to deal with our major corporate work.” White & Case now boasts the largest London office of any U.S.-based international law firm with 100 lawyers including 22 partners. Among the newcomers are high-profile names lured from magic circle firms and their better-known rivals. They include Colin Potter, leading finance partner formerly of Clifford Chance; Maurice Allen and Rachel Hatfield, partners from Weil, Gotshal & Manges; and pre-eminent IP specialist David Llewellyn and his seven-strong team formerly of Llewellyn Zeitman. There have also been moves from within, including Mike Goetz, one of the firm’s leading acquisition finance partners who transferred from New York office. Maurice Allen, Head of Banking in London, says, “The firms in the magic circle are having their own retention problems now. “Where previously there was a gap in the market, the arrival of U.S. firms has provided those who were looking with an opportunity. “We pay better than the U.K. firms and, more importantly, the partnership prospects are better.”

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