White & Case has refreshed its London private equity leadership, appointing partner Richard Jones as head of the closely-watched practice.
He has taken over from Ken Barry, according to a LinkedIn post by Jones on Tuesday. White & Case’s London private equity team has experienced a period of flux in recent years, after the departures of big ticket partners Richard Youle and Ian Bagshaw. As a result, the firm has looked to invest in lateral talent from a variety of competitor firms across London, adding partners from Dechert and Shearman & Sterling.
Jones has been at the firm since 2016, when he joined as a partner from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
He was named in Law.com International’s list of London private equity rising stars in 2018, after advising on mandates including Harbour Energy Limited’s agreement to lead the $3 billion acquisition by Chrysaor Holdings of an oil and natural gas asset portfolio in the North Sea from Shell UK and its affiliates.
He has also worked on deals advising Oaktree Capital Management on its sale of the SACO property portfolio to Brookfield Asset Management and advising Rhone Capital on its $200m preferred equity investment in VistaJet.
Barry had been in the role since 2020. In a statement on LinkedIn, Jones said: “I am excited and honoured to be taking over the leadership of our London Private Equity team from Ken Barry, who has done an absolutely amazing job over the last 2.5 years and hands the baton over to me with the team in great shape. We have such a broad and well balanced team that is extremely active across the full spectrum of financial investors.”
Law firms have sought to cement their positions as leading advisers in the practice area as large buyout funds continue to act as the lead driver of M&A globally.
The vast majority of Europe’s largest buyouts in 2021 were handled by a group of only eight law firms, which includes White & Case, according to research last year that exposed the clubby nature of the top tier private equity industry.
Major recent private equity moves within the London legal industry include a three partner move from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson to Ropes & Gray, led by the firm’s European private equity head, Dan Oates, and a partner hire by Freshfields from Dickson Minto.