Paul Weiss poaches private equity M&A partner from rival Kirkland

The Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison offices in Washington, D.C., U.S. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Megan Ward Spelman joins Paul Weiss after five years at Kirkland & Ellis
  • Paul Weiss and Kirkland M&A lawyers had busy year in deal-packed 2021

(Reuters) – Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has hired private equity corporate partner Megan Ward Spelman from Kirkland & Ellis in New York, the firm said Monday.

Spelman, who represents private equity sponsors and companies on acquisitions, financings and other transactions, joins the 1,000-lawyer firm’s corporate department.

She has worked on deals across health care, information technology and consumer products industries, the New York-founded firm said.

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Global merger and acquisition activity hit an all-time high in 2021, keeping large law firms swamped with work and eager to hire deal attorneys.

Kirkland & Ellis lawyers handled $572.3 billion worth of announced M&A deals in 2021, and Paul Weiss worked on $372.9 billion, according to year-end data from Refinitiv, placing both among the top 10 firms for M&A work by deal value.

Paul Weiss has added other M&A partners, including a pair from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in November.

“The market has been incredibly busy the past few years,” Spelman said. Clients now have “naturally seen a slowdown” in new dealmaking this year, she said, but are still busy managing their portfolios and making smaller acquisitions.

Spelman recently advised private equity firm American Securities LLC on its acquisition of technology consultancy Trace3 Inc from an H.I.G. Capital affiliate.

In 2021, she also represented health care investment firm Patient Square Capital on its purchase of Summit Behavioral Healthcare LLC from FFL Partners and Lee Equity Partners.

Spelman joined Kirkland in 2017 after practicing at other large law firms and became a partner there in October 2019, according to her LinkedIn page.

Paul Weiss chairman Brad Karp in a statement called Spelman a “rising star in the world of private equity.”

A Kirkland spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on her departure.

Read more:

M&A partner pair jumps to Paul Weiss from Akin Gump

Large law firms rode high on record year for M&A dollars

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Sara Merken

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at

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