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Simmons & Simmons nabs White & Case partner duo for Milan team

Simmons & Simmons has poached two partners from White & Case in Italy, a year after the firm closed its Rome office.

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Capital markets partners Paola Leocani and Nicholas Lasagna have both joined Simmons’ Milan office.

The hires come a year after Simmons’ consolidated its Italian offices by closing its doors in Rome and relocating its partners to Milan. The firm’s nine Rome partners were moved to Milan while its associates were offered the opportunity to relocate rather than lose their jobs.

At the time Simmons’ senior partner Colin Passmore said that the firm was still committed to the Italian market but added that the majority of its clients were located in Milan.

Leocani’s practice focuses on debt and securitised derivatives as well as liability management transactions and equity capital markets. She joined White & Case in 2013 after working as a partner at Allen & Overy (A&O) for seven years.

Lasagna advises clients on bank finance and capital market transactions. He specialises in leverage finance, acquisition finance, bond private placements, syndicated loans and debt restructuring finance matters. He worked as a partner at White & Case after joining the firm in 2011 from Latham & Watkins. Prior to that he worked as a senior associate at Clifford Chance.

Simmons’ international financial markets head Jonathan Hammond said: “Their arrival emphasises our continued commitment to developing our international capital markets offering and brings the number of partners who have joined our international financial markets practice so far this year to 10.”

Simmons recently lost four intellectual property partners in London to A&O after the magic circle firm pulled off a string of successful raids on the firm. A&O poached Simmons head of IP Marc Döring and partner Marjan Noor earlier in the year before picking up partners Mark Heaney and David Stone last month.

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Ashurst Abu Dhabi head exits for US firm Curtis Mallet-Prevost

Ashurst Abu Dhabi managing partner Alastair Holland has exited the firm for US firm Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle

Holland was made up to partner at Ashurst in 2011 and was promoted to the role of Abu Dhabi managing partner just months later after energy partner David Wadham moved back to London.

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He first joined Ashurst as an associate in 1999, subsequently working in London, Frankfurt and Dubai.

Corporate lawyer Holland will become a partner in Curtis Mallet-Prevost’s Dubai office, working on M&A and joint venture transactions in both the Middle East and North Africa.

Ashurst has two offices in the Middle East, as well as an associated office in Jeddah.

One partner is based permanently in Abu Dhabi, while Middle East head Joss Dare and dispute resolution head Dyfan Owen split their time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Holland’s departure comes as Ashurst has witnessed a wave of departures in both London and Asia.

Finance partners Michael Smith, Diala Minott and Cameron Saylor are the latest to leave the firm, joining Paul Hastings in London earlier this month.

Other recent departures include: restructuring partner Simon Baskerville and financial regulatory partners Rob Moulton and Nicola Higgs for Latham & Watkins; litigation partner Mark Clarke and corporate partner Jonathan Parry for White & Case and financial regulatory partner James Perry for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

In Asia, Ashurst restructuring partner Bertie Mehigan is leaving the firm’s Hong Kong office with a team of three lawyers to join independent firm Howse Williams Bowers (HWB), while finance partner Doo-Soon Choi joined Mayer Brown’s Hong Kong office.

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Sidley Austin HK litigation head moves to Orrick

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has hired Charles Allen as litigation and dispute resolution partner in Hong Kong from Sidley Austin, where he led the firm’s commercial litigation practice.

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Allen’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, arbitration and investigations. He has represented clients on contractual and tortious disputes, as well as regulatory and other investigations. Allen joined Sidley in 2002 from Simmons & Simmons and became a partner in 2007.

Orrick’s global litigation practice includes 450 lawyers, but Allen is the only litigation partner in the Hong Kong office. In February last year, the firm lost litigator Andrew Dale to Ropes & Gray.