Nathan Wilda
Nathan Wilda ()

Three partners who recently changed firms took another turn in the lateral market this week, as Morgan, Lewis & Bockius brought on two partners that joined Paul Hastings in April, while Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn hired a former Kirkland & Ellis partner who left that firm for another shop last fall.

Nathan Wilda, who joined Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff last September after nearly 11 years at Kirkland, is headed to Honigman as a corporate and private equity partner in Chicago, where the Detroit-based Am Law 200 firm opened an office in 2015.

“As a private equity and M&A lawyer looking to build a significant and sophisticated private equity practice, having the right platform to do that is critical,” Wilda said Thursday. “Honigman has that platform for me.”

Wilda’s practice focuses primarily on middle-market private equity clients, whom he counsels on various business transactions, including incentive equity arrangements, leveraged buyouts and recapitalizations. It was Honigman’s middle-market expertise that drew Wilda, 44, to leave Benesch only nine months after arriving at the Windy City outpost of the Cleveland-based regional firm.

“I’m a middle-market private equity [lawyer] to the core and having the level of sophistication and support that Honigman offers behind me while I build that practice is really the crux of my move,” Wilda said about his quick turnaround. “The team that they’re assembling here in Chicago is incredibly sophisticated and experienced.”

Morgan Lewis announced Wednesday that it had added partners Robert Goldbaum and Nathan Pusey from Paul Hastings as investment management transactions partners in New York.

Goldbaum (pictured right), a former partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, left that firm at 38 in 2006 to join client Affiliated Managers Group Inc. as a senior vice president. He went on to co-found alternative investment firm HighView Investment Group with BlackRock Inc. co-founder and president Ralph Schlosstein. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison hired Goldbaum in 2009 to head its investment management transactions practice.

Nearly two months ago, Goldbaum headed to Paul Hastings as vice chair of the firm’s investment management group. Joining him at the firm as of counsel was Pusey, a former Paul Weiss counsel who joined that firm as an associate in 2002. Asked what spurred their abrupt departure from Paul Hastings, which saw another high-profile lateral recruit in London have second thoughts last year, Goldbaum cited the opportunity to join forces with longtime friend Floyd Wittlin, deputy leader of Morgan Lewis’ corporate, business and transactions practice.

Wittlin joined Morgan Lewis in late 2014 as part of the firm’s absorption of hundreds of lawyers from now-defunct Bingham McCutchen. It was at Bingham and Paul Weiss where Goldbaum and Wittlin advised, respectively, on Moelis & Co.’s $2 billion buy in 2010 of investment manager Gracie Credit Opportunities. Wittlin consulted with Goldbaum and encouraged him and Pusey to join Morgan Lewis’ transactional group.

“[They] do a significant amount of asset and wealth management transactions across M&A and capital markets and so Nate and I joining them, we think, creates the premier go-to practice, certainly in the U.S., for transactions in the investment management industry,” said Goldbaum, praising Paul Hastings as a fine firm. “[There are] lots of reasons that it could have been strategic [at Paul Hastings]. But, quite frankly, the Morgan Lewis platform, given that [Wittlin] is here and his colleagues, and Morgan Lewis’ reach and presence in all parts of investment management, is just strategically compelling.”

In a statement, Paul Hastings wished the duo the best in their move to Morgan Lewis, which earlier this year saw a lateral partner recruit return to their former firm after only a few weeks.

The recent additions by Morgan Lewis and Honigman are not alone in taking another spin through the ever-revolving lateral door.

Dilworth Paxson confirmed this week its addition of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher intellectual property and digital currency partner John Squires in New York. The American Lawyer reported last August on Gibson Dunn’s hire of Squires—a former chief IP counsel at The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.—from Perkins Coie, a firm he joined in 2012 from Chadbourne & Parke.