The exodus at the European arm of City firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has continued with a senior lawyer opting to join Debevoise & Plimpton.
Simon Witney, a consultant at the firm, will join New York and London-based Debevoise later this month. Private equity specialist Witney previously co-led KWM’s funds team in London and sat on the firm’s management board.
In recent weeks at least 15 partners have left the troubled European division of KWM, which is expected to go into administration this month.
Meanwhile it emerged today that the Law Society is assisting efforts to find new placements for KWM trainees. Clive Black, who manages the Law Society’s relationship with City firms, said he spoke to a ‘number of firms’ before Christmas with a view to finding trainees new homes.
‘When we saw the news, we contacted a dozen or so firms to see if they could help – they all said they would help. We are anxious to help secure the future of current and future trainees.’
City firm Goodwin Procter has reportedly applied to take on five trainees from the Asia-focused firm.
Last month, the Gazette reported that other firms, including magic circle firm Allen & Overy, where also considering taking on trainees.
A spokesperson for A&O told the Gazette it had numerous approaches from KWM’s current and future trainees.
‘We welcome applications from all these trainees to the extent that they need to complete their training contracts with us, and have contacted KWM to outline the various routes on offer. Any recruitment will be subject to a selection process, but we would like to try and support KWM trainees where possible,’ they added.
KWM declined to comment on the latest news. However the firm has denied that suppliers have pulled the plug on contracts with it after one news website reported that KWM had run out of toilet paper.