UK’s Ashurst Luring 10 McKee Nelson Partners
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McKee NelsonLondon’s Ashurst is in advanced talks to recruit at least 10 finance partners from McKee Nelson which, if finalized, would give Ashurst a practice in both New York and Washington, DC.

Ashurst has worked closely with McKee Nelson for about five years, and the two firms have a marketing and referral alliance focused on structured finance.

Ashurst partners last week backed the deal in principle, giving the firm to the go-ahead to finalize the move. The initiative is being led on the practice side by structured finance partners Erica Handling and Michael Smith, acting alongside Ashurst senior partner Charlie Geffen.


The McKee Nelson finance team, which is led by partner William Gray, covers structured finance, derivatives and municipal finance.

McKee Nelson had a difficult 2008, during which revenues fell by nearly 16% to $160 million, while profits per partner were down by 15% to $1.02 million. The performance was largely due to the struggling mortgage-backed securities market.

In November it laid off 13 lawyers in its New York office and four in Washington. Last week McKee Nelson announced it was to lay off another six lawyers and 40 support staff.

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Founded in 1822, Ashurst has over 800 lawyers, including over 199 partners, in twelve countries.


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