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Gibson Dunn Lures Two Private Equity Partners From Kirkland (1)

March 2, 2020, 3:57 PMUpdated: March 2, 2020, 7:09 PM

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has added a pair of private equity partners from Kirkland & Ellis.

Abtin Jalali and Chris Harding have joined the Los Angeles-based firm as partners in its San Francisco office.

Jalali began his legal career at Kirkland in 2009. In 2011 he jumped to Latham & Watkins then returned to Kirkland in 2013. Harding joined Kirkland in 2012 from Portland, Oregon-based law firm Tonkon Torp.

Jalali has worked with private equity firms and their portfolio companies, including Vista Equity Partners, Vector Capital, and Serent Capital, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, growth equity investments, minority investments, and general corporate matters.

He said he was drawn to Gibson Dunn by the opportunity to build its private equity practice in the Bay Area.

“Gibson [Dunn] has a strong and established private equity practice nationally and the culture here is collaborative to a degree that we have not seen before, which bodes incredibly well for providing the best client service,” he said.

Harding represents private equity sponsors in acquisitions and sales, strategic investments, and recapitalizations.

“Both have impressive skill sets and deal sheets,” Gibson Dunn chairman and managing partner Ken Doran said in a statement. “They possess the talent, energy and drive to further enhance our premier private equity and corporate practices, an area of strategic focus for us.”

There are approximately 50 private equity funds with a meaningful presence in the Bay Area with north of $500 million in assets under management, according to Jalali, several of which he said are already either clients of Gibson Dunn’s or clients of his and Harding’s.

Jalali said the goal at Gibson Dunn is going to be to expand existing relationships and grow the firm’s market share “over time and with the addition of more partners to the team.”

“Abtin and I are very bullish about the opportunity for growth in private equity practice in the Bay Area,” Harding said.

Last month Gibson Dunn added the global chair of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s M&A and private equity practice Ed Batts to its Palo Alto office and corporate partner Charles “Chuck” Walker to its Houston office.

(Updated with comment from Jalali and Harding throughout)

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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