15 September 2020

Milbank bolsters M&A practice with arrival of Cleary Gottlieb veteran

New York skyscrapers at sunset

New York skyline

Neil Whoriskey joins in New York after nearly 30 years at former firm

Milbank has hired high-profile M&A lawyer Neil Whoriskey from Cleary Gottlieb as it seeks to further strengthen its transactions and private equity offering.

Whoriskey spent almost three decades at Cleary Gottlieb, working on a number of blockbuster deals including General Motors’ acquisition of Daewoo and Western Digital’s purchase of SanDisk, as well as on transactions for ABB, America Movil, American Tower and OpenText. He joins Milbank’s global corporate group in New York.

Scott Edelman, Milbank’s chairman, said: “Neil has an impressive record of executing innovative, highly complex domestic and cross-border transactions in a variety of industry sectors that perfectly complements our global platform. The respect his clients have for him is well-earned, and we’re excited to bring him on board.”

Whoriskey’s arrival in New York follows the recent addition of corporate M&A partner Lisa O’Neill in London – who joined from McDermottvin January – building on the investment in its private equity and M&A practices in Germany and Los Angeles over the past few years. Milbank’s M&A pedigree was underscored in July after it advised Eldorado Resorts on its acquisition of Caesars Entertainment, which created the largest casino and entertainment company in the US.

Norbert Rieger, global head of Milbank’s corporate group, said: “Neil’s arrival adds to the depth of talent that we are committed to providing to our clients through the continued expansion of our mergers & acquisitions and private equity practice in New York and globally. He brings a strong commercial sense, deal savvy and collegiality, which align perfectly with our approach to serving clients across our global platform.”

Other deals Milbank has advised on recently include US Steel’s investment in Big River Steel, and the Actis acquisition of Intergen’s Mexican gas and power generation portfolio. 

Whoriskey said: “I look forward to leveraging Milbank’s integrated, global platform and industry focus to serve our clients. The firm has an excellent reputation for deep industry and jurisdictional knowledge, and that, combined with the firm’s global, integrated platform, will be of tremendous value.”

The firm also recently expanded its Hong Kong office with the arrival of capital markets partner Liang Tao from Allen & Overy to support the firm’s pan-Asia coverage.

Last October, Cleary lost leading New York M&A adviser Ethan Klingsberg to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer along with two other M&A partners and a litigation partner in a move that was regarded as a major coup for the UK firm.

Cleary remains one of a dwindling band of top New York and London-based firms wedded to the pure lockstep model. Last week, Davis Polk & Wardwell said the firm was moving to a modified lockstep as its strategy of “measured growth” was no longer compatible with a system that paid partners on the basis of their seniority.

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