The New York-based co-head of Canadian firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon’s private equity group is jumping to rival Stikeman Elliott to bolster its cross-border transactional practice.
Jamie Koumanakos will play a strategic leadership role in Stikeman’s New York office along with Ken Ottenbreit, who has been managing the Manhattan hub for more than 20 years, Stikemans said.
“It’s a perfect fit,” Koumanakos told Law.com International. “I’ve worked across the table from Stikemans for a number of years, and I’ve always held them in very high regard.”
After 15 years at Blakes, Koumanakos said he was drawn to “the dynamic and entrepreneurial vision and culture of the firm.”
His practice at Stikemans will focus on Canadian corporate and securities law, specializing in in-bound Canadian cross-border mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions. Koumanakos acts for private equity funds and strategic buyers with respect to Canadian public and private acquisition and investment transactions, said Stikemans. He also advises U.S., Canadian, and international private equity sponsors and some of the largest North American pension plans.
Clients of Stikemans’ New York team include The Carlyle Group, KKR Co & Inc., and Platinum Equity.
Ottenbreit said while the markets are quite “choppy” at the moment, there’s still lots of activity. But whether that will translate into closed deals is hard to predict.
“There’s still lots of money and lots of deals being looked at,” he said.
Koumanakos previously worked at Torys, another Canadian firm, in both Toronto and New York before joining Blakes in 2007, according to his LinkedIn bio.
He said the move to Stikemans came about “quite organically” as he and Ottenbreit have had a lot of interaction over the years as two of a handful of Canadian lawyers who’ve been working long-term in Manhattan.
Ottenbreit said Koumanakos has a strong reputation and diverse mix of clients, and his “entrepreneurial drive and spirit” is always something Stikemans is looking for.
Stikemans was the first Canadian firm to open in New York, according to the firm, having launched an office in 1982 to provide Canadian legal services to U.S. and international clients. Its current four-person team, including Koumanakos, will continue to act for both buyers and sellers of Canadian companies and assets supported by other members of the firm’s five Canadian offices.
“The plan is to continue to have a very strong beachhead in New York and [to] rotate senior M&A associates through here,” said Ottenbreit.
Stikeman Elliott is a full-service Canadian business law firm with 489 lawyers in Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, New York, London, and Sydney.