Two mergers and acquisitions partners from Paul Hastings, H. Frank Layson III and Erik Belenky, have joined Jones Day, along with three associates.

“I’ve had my eye on Frank and Erik for quite some time,” said Lizanne Thomas, the partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Atlanta office. “Not only do they each have sterling reputations in their own right, but the feedback we’ve received from clients and friends across the bar is quite affirming.”

Thomas added that she was also glad to welcome the three associates, Rachel Miles, Paul Puckett and Brooke Russ. “We are slammed in the M&A space right now and are happy to have more support. They are already working on a variety of deals for a number of partners,” she said.

Belenky said Jones Day has one of the top M&A practices globally — and “one of the strongest M&A groups in the whole Southeast.”

“It was a great opportunity to be part of that team,” said Belenky, who was one of the Daily Report‘s “On the Rise” picks in 2009. Layson was traveling and not available for comment.

Layson and Belenky have worked together since Belenky joined Long Aldridge & Norman as a new associate 15 years ago. When Layson moved to Paul Hastings in 2004, Belenky, who was still an associate, followed.

The two have worked on a variety of large deals during their tenure at Paul Hastings. “We’re friends and we’ve worked together an awful long time,” said Belenky. “We have a certain common approach to the practice and our goals are similar as to the types of companies we represent and want to represent.”

The two have handled a wide-ranging array of deals across industries.

Both lawyers represented a consortium of six U.S. airlines, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and U.S. Airways, on the sale of a transportation communications business, ARINC Inc., to private equity fund The Carlyle Group.

In one local matter, Layson represented the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in obtaining Tax Allocation District bond financing to repay loans used to acquire the personal papers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The center broke ground in June and is expected to open in 2014.

Belenky’s clients have included Georgia-Pacific, Home Depot, General Electric, Reed Elsevier and Superior Essex.

Belenky said there is often a big push to get deals done before the end of the year but the presidential election has put a damper on deal-making while corporate leaders wait to see who wins. “A number of companies have concluded that the outcome is relevant, and they are waiting to see what happens.”

Phil Marzetti, the local managing partner of Paul Hastings, said of the departing lawyers, “I’ve worked closely with them for years. I wish them well, and I hope they do very well.”

He said the loss of the two partners would not have much effect on Paul Hastings’ M&A practice. “We have a huge M&A practice around the world,” Marzetti said, adding that there are three partners in Atlanta handling deals.

Paul Hastings also added two transactional lawyers from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton earlier in the year, Philip Street and W. Craig Smith, who focus their deal-making on health care.