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White & Case lures private equity heavyweight from Paul Weiss in New York

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White & Case has hired a co-chair of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison’s M&A group as it moves to grow its private equity offering. 

Taurie Zeitzer has joined White & Case in New York and will serve as co-head of its global private equity industry group. She specialises in large-cap private equity, M&A and complex corporate transactions and has established relationships with private equity giants Apollo Global Management and Searchlight Capital Partners.  

Heather McDevitt, who took over as chair of White & Case last June from veteran leader Hugh Verrier, said growth in the US and in the global private equity industry group were strategic priorities for the firm.  

“Taurie’s arrival is a significant move in the US legal market, and our ability to attract such outstanding talent reflects the strength of our firm,” she added.  

Zeitzer joined Paul Weiss in 2015 having earlier been a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins. In 2021 she co-led the Paul Weiss team that acted for Apollo on its $5bn acquisition of Yahoo! and AOL from Verizon Communications and last year advised the firm on multibillion-dollar deals including its $8.1bn purchase of chemicals distributor Univar Solutions.  

Her other clients have included Silver Lake Partners, BC Partners, Gamut Capital and Apollo-owned photography company Shutterfly.  

Zeitzer highlighted White & Case’s size and reach as contributing to her move – the 2,600-lawyer firm has more than 40 offices globally, compared to Paul Weiss’s roughly 1,000 lawyers across nine offices.  

“I am thrilled to be working with the White & Case team,” Zeitzer said. “I look forward to supporting our clients with the firm’s global resources and being able to deliver a differentiated service to the market.” 

Her arrival continues a spurt of partner laterals in White & Case’s global M&A team over the past 12 months. In New York the firm secured Kimberly Petillo-Décossard, co-head of Cahill Gordon & Reindel’s M&A group, alongside Ross Sturman and Troutman Pepper lawyer Hayden Baker.

It also hired the head of Dechert’s Middle East investment funds practice, Phillip Sacks, in Dubai, Ropes & Gray dealmaker Emily Brown in London and in Boston added Omar Hemady from Pathlight Capital, where he was general counsel. 

Private equity-backed deals accounted for 20% of global M&A activity last year, which fell to a 10-year low of $2.9trn, according to data from LSEG. Overall value of PE-backed deals was $566bn, a decrease of 30% on 2022 and the slowest year since 2019. 

Despite the decline, LSEG noted that 2023 was the sixth largest year for PE-backed M&A since records began in 1980 and advising on such transactions continues to be a core offering at major commercial law firms.  

Paul Weiss earned eighth place in LSEG’s M&A legal advisor rankings for 2023, up from 18th the year before, after advising on 137 deals worth $243.6bn. Meantime White & Case’s work on 355 deals worth $229.4bn saw it drop three places to ninth. Both firms had a market share of around 8%. 

Paul Weiss made a major addition to its private equity offering last September when it hired 12 partners from Kirkland & Ellis and another from Linklaters, in a move that also saw it open an office in Los Angeles and add English law capability in London. That followed the firm losing private equity partner and London office head, Alvaro Membrillera, to Kirkland the month before

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