O’Melveny & Myers to build London presence

The US law firm has plans to hire 20 private equity specialists over the next 18 months to grow a European franchise overseen by Matthew Hudson and John Daghlian.

US law firm O’Melveny & Myers has announced plans to invest significantly in Europe and build up a team of European private equity lawyers based in London to complement its existing platforms in the US and Asia.

The firm, which already has an office in London, has appointed Matthew Hudson managing partner and head of European private equity and corporate finance, and has made John Daghlian a partner, to lead the expansion.

Prior to joining O’Melveny, Hudson worked at European law firm SJ Berwin as well as the European merchant banking operation of Credit Suisse First Boston. He has also worked as a consultant to Coller Capital, the London-based private equity secondaries specialist. 

Daghlian joins from SJ Berwin, where he was a partner and senior member of the firm’s market-leading European private equity fund structuring team lead by Jonathan Blake.

In an interview, Hudson said the firm’s ambition was to challenge Europe’s incumbent private equity specialists both in transaction-related advisory work and fund formation. Part of the brief was to assemble a team of 20 private equity lawyers of various levels of seniority over the next 18 months.

“The priority for the moment is to get London right, although we may be looking at setting up offices on the European mainland further down the line”, Hudson said. “The idea is to add to our private equity capabilities in the US and Asia, and to offer advice on a one-stop shop basis to both US and European clients operating in Europe.”

One advantage of a global offering, Hudson added, would to be able to take advantage of an increasing trend of US and European private equity houses investing in transactions alongside each other.

O’Melveny is a full-service corporate law firm focusing on banking and corporate finance with currently 13 offices and over 900 lawyers worldwide. According to Hudson, the firm’s US private equity practice has particularly strong relationships with JP Morgan Partners, Apollo Management and the US division of Apax Partners.