By now Linklaters should be more than a little concerned by the seemingly endless onslaught from US firms. Over the past couple of years, a startling number of highly rated partners from the magic circle firm have migrated to US practices, with two more joining the exodus this week.

Linklaters has been hit by another wave of partner defections to US firms after losing highly rated structured finance expert Richard Hughes to Sidley Austin Brown & Wood.
At the same time, Latham & Watkins’ Paris office has taken a second capital markets partner from Linklaters in little over a year with the hire of banking and capital markets specialist Basil Zotiades. Last April it recruited partner Roberto Cristofolini.

Hughes is expected to join Sidley’s London office at the end of August. He moved to Linklaters in 1998 from Herbert Smith, working in the firm’s structured finance group. Around 18 months ago he moved into the asset finance group.

Hughes’ move is a boost for Sidley, which last year saw four partners leave to set up the City office of Gide Loyette Nouel.

Linklaters, for its part, has taken its own fair share of partners from US firms,
notably a haul from Shearman’s New York office and Michel Frieh, a private equity expert from Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s Paris base. But in sheer numbers, the US firms seem at this point to be in the lead.

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