Paul Weiss Expands San Francisco Office with Kirkland Hire

April 29, 2021, 10:00 AM

Kirkland & Ellis partner Austin Pollet is joining Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as the Wall Street firm looks to build out its newly formed San Francisco office.

Pollet, who joined Kirkland in 2013, focuses on all aspects of private equity transactions, with an emphasis on deals involving technology companies.

“Austin is a rising star in private equity,” said Scott Barshay, chair of Paul Weiss’ corporate department, in a statement. He has “substantial experience at a young age across a spectrum of transactions involving high growth technology companies.”

Following the June hire of Boies Schiller Flexner litigators Karen Dunn and Bill Isaacson, whose client list has included Apple Inc., Oracle Corp. and Uber Technologies Corp., Paul Weiss has set its sights on growing in Northern California, which has been a notoriously difficult market for Wall Street firms.

In January, Paul Weiss added Melinda Haag, Walter Brown, and Randy Luskey from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Kirkland’s Jeremy Veit, to build out its San Francisco office.

Pollet represents private equity firms including in domestic and cross-border leveraged and management buyouts, venture and growth capital investments, divestitures, and other mergers and acquisitions.

He has advised San Francisco-based private equity firm Francisco Partners in numerous transactions, including its acquisition of RedSail Technologies and carve-out acquisition of PioneerRx, as well as its portfolio companies in several transactions.

Pollet has also represented Cerberus Capital Management as well as HGGC, K1 Investment Management, Tower Arch Capital, True Wind Capital, and Vista Equity Partners.

His addition will add to the firm’s transactional capabilities in California, Paul Weiss chairman Brad Karp said in a statement. He noted that Pollet is “deeply embedded in the California business and tech community.”

Pollet is the latest lateral addition for the Wall Street firm, which last year saw its gross revenue increase 11.2% to $1.54 billion and profits per equity partner soar 14.3% to $5.369 million, according to figures from the American Lawyer.

Earlier this month the firm added Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom tax partner Brian Krause and co-chair of Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s finance practice group David Tarr to its New York office. The firm also picked up Sullivan & Cromwell partner Krishna Veeraraghavan as a partner in its corporate department in New York in January.

Big Law firms flocking to Northern California in search of tech industry deal work have often faced difficulties competing with home grown firms like Cooley, Fenwick & West, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, especially when it comes to representing startups and growth companies. Out of towners have at times struggled to prove to potential clients that they truly “get” tech.

This has not deterred Big Law from moving into the Bay Area over the past year to try and capitalize on a red-hot technology market.

Freshfields Bruckhaus & Deringer opened its Silicon Valley office in July with hires from Davis Polk & Wardwell, Sidley Austin, and Wilson Sonsini. The firm has since signed a 10-year lease on 40,000-square feet in a new office building in downtown Redwood City.

Debevoise & Plimpton opened an office in March, relocating 14 of its attorneys to its third office stateside as it looks to cash in on tech-related work. Jenner & Block also said last month it would move into San Francisco, hiring Ann O’Leary, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s former chief of staff for its new office.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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