Wright joins SJ Berwin from Clifford Chance

SJ Berwin has poached Tim Wright from London rivals Clifford Chance to join the European law firm’s buyout practice.

SJ Berwin, the European law firm with a leading franchise in private equity fund formation, has taken steps to strengthen its burgeoning buyout practice.

The firm has hired Tim Wright to join its corporate department as a partner. Wright comes in from SJ Berwin’s London rivals Clifford Chance, which dominate the European market for private equity-related transactional work.

Wright spent the past seven years at Clifford Chance and became a partner in 2001. According to an SJ Berwin press statement, his private equity clients include Duke Street Capital, who he recently advised on the disposal of its debt management business, Duke Street Capital Debt Management. Wright also worked on Duke Street’s £225 million ($325 million; €404 million) secondary buyout of cosmetics company Accantia from ABN AMRO Capital.

Jonathan Blake, head of SJ Berwin’s corporate department and one of Europe’s best known private equity lawyers, said in the statement that Wright’s arrival was part of the firm’s continued expansion strategy in M&A and buyouts across Europe.

SJ Berwin said that in the first half of 2004, it advised on 17 European buyouts. The firm recently advised the Laurel Pub Company, which is controlled by private equity investor MidOcean Partners, on its £654 million sale of a pub estate. It also worked on the sale of global fund of funds group Pantheon Ventures to Russell Investment Group

The firm now has 52 corporate partners across Europe, including 20 in London.