Herbert Smith Freehills fills urgent need with King & Spalding hire

October 26, 2015 Herbert Smith Freehills is making a move to fill the vacancy created just over a month after Steve Thierbach, the firm's high-profile capital markets head, departed the firm. The firm has hired capital markets partner Tom O'Neill from King & Spalding as its new head of US securities practice.

O'Neill was only at King & Spalding for about a year, having joined the firm from Linklaters. His hiring there was seen as a strong play for the firm as it sought to develop it's capital markets practice in London. O'Neill joined the firm at the same time as Latham & Watkins' counsel Markus Bauman.

Following Thierbach's departure from HSF, which was coupled with the departure of capital markets partner Christopher Haynes, the firm reconfigured the management roles, dividing Thierbach's former role into three separate positions. O'Neill will fill one of those three positions as US Securities head, while the other positions of equity capital markets chief and head of debt capital markets have been filled by Charles Howarth and Andrew Roberts, respectively.

O'Neill, who is qualified in New York, spent 13 years as a partner at Linklaters before his yearlong stint at King & Spalding. He is known for his advisorship on the privatisation of Royal Mail in 2013 as well as for transactions for Thomas Cook and Direct Line.

Thierbach and Haynes, who left the firm in September, moved to Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

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