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Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has bolstered its global private capital offering with two strategic partner hires: Eleanor Shanks joins as a Private Equity partner and Dylan Doran Kennett as a Venture and Growth Capital partner, and both will be based in London.

Eleanor will join Herbert Smith Freehills as head of international private equity in London, working with existing Private Equity partners John Taylor, David D'Souza (who joined the firm from Kirkland and Ellis in 2020) and Joseph Dennis. Dylan will co-lead the firm's UK Venture Capital and Growth Capital practice with partner Michael Jacobs. 

Eleanor joins from Sidley Austin where she was a private equity partner in London. She has experience advising private equity sponsors, investors and funds on complex transactions, including domestic and cross-border acquisitions and disposals as well as joint ventures across infrastructure, real estate, financial services, life sciences and other sectors. In addition, she advises clients on shareholder arrangements and management equity plans, co-investments, corporate governance and general corporate and regulatory matters.

Eleanor has been recognised for her work in private equity in recent editions of The Legal 500, where clients praised her technical abilities and capabilities to work under immense pressure and always deliver her deals on time and above expectations. She has been described as one of the most respected private equity lawyers in London and highly regarded for her work across the European transactional market.

Dylan joins from DLA Piper where he was a senior associate in the corporate team and was a core member of their Emerging Growth and Venture Capital practice. In addition to venture and growth capital, Dylan has experience in domestic and cross-border M&A private equity transactions as well as broader corporate expertise. His practice encompasses the technology, life sciences, sport and media and entertainment sectors.

He has worked on high-profile matters including leading the investment into Eagle Football to facilitate acquisition of a controlling stake in French football club Olympique Lyonnais and advising Vita Mojo on their $30m Series B fundraise from Battery Ventures.

Dylan was recognised as a 'Corporate Rising Star' for his work in the life sciences industry at this year's LMG Life Sciences Awards.

Commenting on the duo partner hires, Mike Flockhart, Joint Managing Partner, Corporate, says:

"Private capital is one of the key focuses of the firm's Ambition 2025 strategy. We have already been acting for many large, global private capital clients – Eleanor's and Dylan's breadth of expertise and skills complements our strengths. These two appointments will further enhance the firm's offering to our multi-strategy, multi-region clients including some of the biggest players in the private equity market, as well as venture and growth capital clients throughout their lifecycle on both domestic and multi-jurisdictional matters. I look forward to working with Eleanor and Dylan to bring an enhanced, holistic offering to our clients."

Eleanor comments:

"Herbert Smith Freehills' excellent sector strengths and international footprint combined with a high-quality private equity practice present the right platform for me to develop my practice further. I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues to build on existing client relationships and to nurture new ones."

Dylan comments:

"Herbert Smith Freehills already has a fantastic venture and growth capital offering in Europe and it’s a real privilege to be tasked with helping to take it to the next level as Herbert Smith Freehills have done in APAC. Being able to offer the full suite of venture and growth capital capabilities on an impressive global platform alongside our leading sector and M&A and ECM teams is a very exciting client proposition that is great to be a part of. I look forward to settling into the team and continuing to play an active role in the venture and growth equity markets, facilitating the development of exciting technologies, breakthrough sciences and innovative sport and media offerings."

In 2023 alone, the firm promoted 12 new partners with a significant private capital element to their practice globally. It has also made over five lateral partner hires – the latest additions include Peiwen Chen and Anthony Patten in Singapore.

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Wendy Lee-McGuinness

Wendy Lee-McGuinness, Senior Communications Manager