In the News Law360

Kirkland Taps Ex-Ropes & Gray Partner For London Office

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has hired a partner specializing in investment funds from Ropes & Gray LLP for its London office, making him the sixth Ropes partner to leave the firm for the U.S. giant in the past two weeks.

Kirkland & Ellis announced on Thursday that Anand Damodaran will be joining its investment funds group as a partner in London. Damodaran advises clients on the formation of credit, private equity and real estate funds, as well as on setting up carried interest and co-investment schemes, secondaries and strategic fund sponsor transactions, the firm said.

The news of Damodaran’s move comes two weeks after Kirkland & Ellis announced that it had lured five white-collar partners from Ropes & Gray for its offices across the U.S., U.K. and Asia.

“Anand is a hugely talented practitioner and an excellent addition to our market-leading investment funds group in London,” said Jeffrey Hammes, chairman of Kirkland’s global management executive committee. “His extensive experience and knowledge advising fund sponsors across the spectrum of investment strategies, including his particular credit fund strength, will further enhance our global funds offering.”

Damodaran joined Ropes & Gray in March 2012 as partner in the firm’s private investment funds group in London. Before that he worked as a solicitor at White & Case LLP between April 2007 and March 2012, and also spent two years at Clifford Chance LLP, which he joined in 2005.

He is a proven leader, according to Richard Watkins, a London-based investment funds partner at Kirkland & Ellis. “We are delighted he is joining us to complement our practice, especially in credit funds, as this continues to grow globally,” Watkins said.

Kirkland & Ellis most recently strengthened its London office with the addition of Marcus Thompson, who was among the five Ropes & Gray partners who recently made the move. Thompson previously worked as an independent barrister and at the National Crime Agency. Kirkland said he works on anti-money laundering corruption matters for private equity firms, and he also represented two people suspected of rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate.

The co-chairs of Ropes & Gray’s foreign anti-corruption and securities litigation practices, Asheesh Goel and Zachary Brez, were also among those who made the move to Kirkland. Goel had been a branch chief in the enforcement division at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s office in Chicago before a two-year stint at Kirkland. He left to help start Ropes & Gray’s Chicago office in 2008.

Ropes & Gray Chairman Brad Malt and managing partner David Chapin sent an internal memo on the five-partner exodus shortly after the announcement. They assured attorneys that the practices and offices that had lost partners are alive and well, with “a deep, loyal and strong roster of clients who are helping us to deliver an excellent year.”

The firm's Hong Kong and London offices also recently saw partners leave, for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP and King & Spalding LLP, respectively.