Paul Hastings’ offices in New York. (Courtesy photo)

Joyce Xu, the head of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s derivatives practice, has joined Paul Hastings as a partner in its securities and capital markets practice in New York.

Xu joined Simpson Thacher as counsel from Davis Polk & Wardwell in 2007, where she began her career as an associate nearly seven years before. In 2010, she became a partner in the Wall Street firm’s corporate department and quickly established herself as a go-to lawyer for clients in the global derivatives market.

“What drew me initially to Simpson Thacher was this idea of starting a brand-new practice,” Xu said. I’ve always had this entrepreneurial spirit in me and that’s what gets me really excited, and I love working with people, building teams, reaching out to clients and building the business. It really gets me going.

“I see the same entrepreneurial spirit in [firm chairman] Seth [Zachary] and others in firm leadership at Paul Hastings,” she said.

For two decades, Xu has advised financial institutions, private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds and corporations in the development of equity derivative products, documentation and negotiation of equity derivative transactions, as well as interest rate and commodity derivative transactions.

In 2011, she was part of a Simpson Thacher team advising on an Apax Partners investment consortium-led $6.3 billion acquisition of medical device manufacturer Kinetic Concepts Inc. She also worked on a team that advised Microsoft in its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016.

Xu said Los Angeles-based Paul Hastings is “unwavering” in its enthusiasm and commitment to have her grow the practice there.

“They see the business opportunity, and they see the need from their existing clients, and they see the synergies with my clients that I’ve worked with for the past two decades,” Xu said. 

“I just feel like I could really get something done here,” she added. 

“Joyce’s addition expands our capabilities in sophisticated capital markets, financing, and M&A transactions and furthers our strategy for growth in key markets such as New York, London, and Hong Kong,” said Seth Zachary, chairman of Paul Hastings in a statement.

Xu’s arrival at Paul Hastings comes on the heels of other recent additions to the firm, which last year posted its sixth consecutive year of revenue growth. Late last year, the firm brought on longtime Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld private funds partner Ira Kustin in New York as well as Kfir Abutbul, a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Willkie Farr & Gallagher, in Houston.   

The firm also made several additions in London, including Baker McKenzie regulatory and fintech partner Arun Srivastava, Linklaters M&A partner Roger Barron, and DLA Piper private equity partner Anu Balasubramanian.

As for Simpson Thacher, Xu is one of a few lateral departures the firm has seen in recent months.

In October, Kirkland added Simpson Thacher associate Michael Reeves as a corporate partner in its Los Angeles office. A month before, Simpson Thacher shuttered its operations in Seoul.

In November, counsel Peter Herrick joined antitrust and IP firm Axinn as a partner in its antitrust group in New York. The firm also saw corporate partner Chad Skinner head in-house for a position as lead corporate counsel for Cloudfare Inc.

Also in November, Simpson Thacher added leading London private equity lawyer Amy Mahon from Clifford Chance.