McDermott Will & Emery and Reed Smith announced Tuesday their additions of two fund formation experts in New York as each firm looks to grow its respective investment funds practice.
McDermott hired a new investment funds head in Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson partner Ian Schwartz, while Reed Smith welcomed King & Wood Mallesons international investment funds partner Parik Dasgupta.
Dasgupta joins Reed Smith almost two months after the firm welcomed a 50-strong team—including 17 partners—from King & Wood Mallesons’ faltering European arm. A former associate at legacy firm SJ Berwin, Dasgupta made partner at King & Wood Mallesons in 2016, two years after he relocated to New York from London.
“Given the international nature of my practice, it’s very important to be at a law firm that is truly international and has a global footprint,” Dasgupta, 37, said in an interview. “While many firms can also claim to have that, I think Reed Smith is truly one of the few that have not only that, but a high-quality, and congenial, one-firm culture.”
King & Wood Mallesons’ culture—the firm is structured as a Swiss verein—was blamed for contributing to the collapse of legacy SJ Berwin, although its separate partnerships also likely preserved its core presence in the Asia Pacific region. At Reed Smith, Dasgupta hopes to continue growing his funds practice with his former King & Wood Mallesons colleagues abroad, as most of his clients are based in Europe and Latin America.
“The immediate goal would be to grow the practice and double up on the fund expertise that Reed Smith already has but add to it the European element,” said Dasgupta, whose move to the firm was brokered by Brian Lucas of Alexandria, Virginia-based Lucas Legal Staffing.
Reed Smith saw its head count drop to 1,536 in 2016, a year in which the Pittsburgh-based firm’s gross revenue fell 4.3 percent, to $1.075 billion. But Reed Smith’s profits per partner and revenue per lawyer held steady with incremental increases last year, to $1.11 million and $700,000, respectively.
McDermott had similar percentage increases underscoring its financial performance in 2016. The Chicago-based firm’s gross revenue rose 1.9 percent, to $908 million, while revenue per lawyer and profits per partner saw similar slight increases, to $930,000 and $1.6 million, respectively. Fried Frank’s Schwartz, 41, is keen on getting started at McDermott.
“There’s definitely just an exciting growth energy here in New York,” said Schwartz, who began his legal career at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and later jumped to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Kirkland & Ellis. (Fried Frank hired Schwartz from Kirkland in 2011.)
Schwartz’s practice primarily focuses on the formation of private equity funds, but he also counsels clients on a variety of investment strategies, including buyouts, real estate and infrastructure. McDermott sought Schwartz as part of its bid to establish an independent fund formation practice, said Harris Siskind, who took over late last year as head of the McDermott’s corporate practice following the election of partner Ira Coleman to head the 977-lawyer firm.
“We had these quality relationships with these private equity firms, [but] we were really missing out on offering this service,” Siskind said. “While we do have the expertise, we felt we didn’t have enough experience to know market terms and have someone with [Schwartz’s] experience who could guide them in their fund formation portion of the business.”
In his new role, Schwartz said he plans on working within McDermott’s private equity practice, which earlier this month hired Ropes & Gray partner Gregory Metz in Chicago, to capture formation work from existing clients and hopefully using that work to attract and acquire new clients.
“Not only can we be the place that [clients] bring their exciting, sophisticated transactions, but where they can also bring their fund formation work,” said Schwartz, who declined to comment on the name of the legal recruiter he used in making his move to McDermott.
McDermott has been busy in recent months bulking up its New York office. The firm hired Schulte, Roth & Zabel partner Robert Goldstein to head its private equity group in September, the same month it brought on Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft executive compensation partner Steven Eckhaus. September also saw McDermott hire litigation partner Rebecca Martin, a former co-chief of the civil frauds unit and a health care fraud coordinator at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.
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