Bloomberg Law
Jan. 2, 2019, 10:39 PM

Sidley Austin Poaches Dealmaker from Davis Polk in New York

Melissa Heelan Stanzione
Melissa Heelan Stanzione

Sidley Austin has nabbed John H. Butler from Davis Polk & Wardwell to join its growing global M&A and private equity practice in New York.

The firm announced Jan. 2 that it would hire Butler, who represents corporate, private equity and hedge fund investors on complex transactions, to help bolster its fast-growing deal practice.

It’s unusual for attorneys to make lateral moves out of Davis Polk, but Sidley has lately shown a knack for attracting top dealmaking talent.

Butler joins recent hires Adam Weinstein and Tony Feuerstein, who signed on with Sidley’s Private Equity and M&A practice in New York Oct. 1, moving from Akin Gump. Earlier in the year, Kai Haakon Liekefett joined the group from Vinson & Elkins.

Sidley’s Global Finance Practice also picked up Steven Kolyer on Dec. 31 from Clifford Chance.

At Davis Polk, Butler has worked on deals for clients including Guggenheim Partners, Morgan Stanley Private Equity, Tesco and Roche Pharmaceuticals.

“John’s proven dedication to client service and ability to lead on major deals makes him a perfect addition as we continue to build out our M&A and Private Equity practice in New York and globally,” Brian Fahrney, co-leader of that practice and member of the firm’s Executive Committee, said in a statement.

Sidley is a global law firm with 2,000 lawyers in 20 offices including Beijing, Houston, London, Munich, Sydney, and Washington.

Davis Polk has lost at least one other big name partner to the lateral market in recent months. Sophia Hudson left the firm in October for Kirkland & Ellis.

With firm loyalty as a bedrock notion, Davis Polk and other prestigious “white shoe” firms have rarely lost partners to laterals in the past, but that has changed to some degree. When M&A partner Scott Barshay left Cravath, Swaine & Moore in 2016 for Paul Weiss, for instance, it sent ripples through the industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at