Sidley Hires Shearman’s Leveraged Finance Head in New York (2)

April 20, 2020, 10:01 AMUpdated: April 20, 2020, 7:31 PM

Sidley Austin hired Joshua Thompson away from Shearman & Sterling, where he led its global leveraged finance group, expanding the Chicago-founded firm’s Big Apple footprint.

Thompson, who was also head of private capital at Shearman, joins Sidley as a partner in its global finance group.

“Josh is a widely recognized finance lawyer who has built a deep practice in leveraged finance,” Kevin Blauch, leader of Sidley’s global finance group, said in a statement issued Monday.

Sidley has many private equity and private capital clients that are looking for advice in leveraged finance and high-yield debt investment and Thompson’s arrival strengthens its finance offerings, he added.

“Clients are demanding multidisciplinary business oriented teams who can combine expertise to deliver a unified solution and I see all these qualities at Sidley,” said Thompson in an email to Bloomberg Law.

Thompson is currently operating from a two-room schoolhouse that dates back to 1782 in a shared workspace with his three daughters and wife, a professor of radiology at a major New York hospital.

“From listening to daily hospital updates on the pandemic to a nursery school Zoom classroom, my days are filled with a constant hum of activity, Thompson said.

“A transition at this time has offered me a time of reflection with my family and a deep sense of gratitude; and, frankly, the importance of the work of the medical community has put in perspective any of my mundane concerns,” he said.

Thompson previously served as general counsel at Jefferies Finance, where he oversaw the creation of the investment banking firm’s legal department and compliance systems, according to a statement issued by Proskauer Rose when he joined that firm in 2008. He arrived at Shearman in 2011.

Thompson’s move to Sidley was brokered by Sabina Lippman, partner and co-founder of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers.

Thompson focuses his practice on financially complex deal-making, including acquisition financing, leveraged lending and buyouts, tender offers and other going-private transactions. He has also worked on structured financial arrangements, asset-backed lending, mezzanine investment, Chapter 11 plans and the acquisition of troubled companies.

Thompson regularly advises major global corporate borrowers including The Dow Chemical Company and ICE, according to Sidley’s statement. His client list has included Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Jefferies, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of Montreal, and Guggenheim Partners.

“We thank Josh for his contribution to the firm and wish him all the best,” Shearman & Sterling said in a statement.

Thompson said enhancing and expanding his practice has been a consistent goal throughout his career and he saw “a tremendous opportunity” to contribute to the firm’s expanding leveraged finance and private capital business in New York and globally.

“Attracting top-tier talent like Josh symbolizes our continuous commitment to strategic growth, especially in key markets where our clients conduct business,” Sam Gandhi, managing partner of Sidley’s New York office, said in the firm’s statement.

In November, the firm added Brien Wassner, co-leader of Shearman’s private capital industry group, to its mergers & acquisitions and private equity practice, which has been rapidly expanding since Sidley decided to make it a strategic growth priority less than a decade ago and New York is key to that expansion.

Sidley made other additions to its New York office over the past year including Oren Gertner from Davis Polk & Wardwell to its investment funds practice and Ron Erlichman, co-chair of Bracewell’s project finance practice, to its global energy and infrastructure practice.

(Updated to include a statement from Shearman & Sterling in paragraph 13)

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; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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