Kirkland & Ellis has lured another Cravath Swaine & Moore partner, with M&A lawyer Allison Wein joining the firm in New York.
Wein’s move, announced Tuesday, is the latest high-profile Cravath exit to Kirkland, even after the New York firm’s step away from its pure lockstep system last year. In 2018, litigation partner Sandra Goldstein and corporate partner Eric Schiele left for Kirkland & Ellis, following corporate partner Jonathan Davis, who joined Kirkland in late 2016.
It’s also the latest move by Kirkland to hire rising stars from its closest M&A rivals, signaling the firm’s continuing talent aspirations in 2022. For instance, Kirkland last year hired Rachael Coffey from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Edward Lee from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in 2020.
Wein, who was not immediately available to comment, said in a statement: “This is a wonderful opportunity to pursue new challenges and to help grow the already stellar M&A platform at Kirkland even further.”
Wein, who was promoted to partner in 2019, has a long list of past big deals. They include representing Disney in its $85 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, overcoming an interloper bid by Comcast to its original $66 billion agreement; Occidental Petroleum in its $57 billion acquisition of Anadarko; British American Tobacco in its $97 billion merger with Reynolds American; and Precision Castparts in its $37.2 billion acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway, according to Kirkland.
Her experience spans the range of M&A activity including significant cross-border and contested transactions and activism defense, Kirkland said.
“As we continue to invest in our strategic M&A business, leading next-generation talent like Allie will help us keep pace with demand and provide clients with the market-leading advice they’ve come to expect from Kirkland,” said Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee, in a statement, calling her “an exceptionally talented lawyer and rising M&A star who has advised on some of the largest and most complex M&A deals in the market.”
Schiele, in a statement in Kirkland’s announcement, said she “is one of the brightest young M&A talents in the legal world and has developed a reputation as a savvy, go-to advisor for major deals.”
Wein’s move comes after skyrocketing growth for Kirkland, the highest-grossing firm in the Am Law 200. The firm grew gross revenue 25% to $6.042 billion last year, while average profits per partner reached more than $7.3 million.
While previously rare, Cravath partner exits have become more common in recent years, including last year when Jennifer Conway and Kara Mungovan joined Davis, Polk & Wardwell and Damien Zoubek joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. After Zoubek and Mungovan’s moves, Cravath confirmed it was moving to a modified lockstep partner pay system.
A Cravath spokesperson said: “We wish Allie well in her future endeavors.”