Ashurst plans hiring spree

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Nigel Ward, the newly appointed head of banking and capital markets at law firm Ashurst Morris Crisp, plans to make his mark by embarking on a hiring spree.

Ward, an 18-year veteran of the firm, wants to double the size of the department within three years. At present, the department has 67 lawyers across Europe, including 35 in the London office.

Likely targets are capital markets lawyers at so-called 'magic circle' firms, which include Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields and Slaughter & May.

Ashurst plans to hire lawyers, from partner level downwards, with experience in leveraged finance, project finance, debt capital markets or securitisation.

New hires are needed because the current team is becoming stretched. 'We are managing at the moment, but we don't want to get to a position where we are turning instructions away,' said Ward.

Ward succeeds former department head Justin Spendlove, who has been made managing partner.