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Freshfields Poaches Another Cravath Dealmaker Amid US Growth

May 19, 2022, 9:00 PM

Another Cravath Swaine & Moore deals lawyer is joining UK-founded Freshfields as the law firm continues to build its M&A team on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.

Cravath partner Jenny Hochenberg is joining Freshfields in New York, the firm said Thursday. She reunites with dealmaker Damien Zoubek, who jumped from Cravath to Freshfields in September.

Hochenberg is the second Cravath M&A partner to exit for a rival firm in three weeks. Allison Wein landed at Kirkland & Ellis earlier this month.

Cravath announced that it would end its seniority-based compensation system and adopted a modified lockstep scheme last year. The change, which was also made by its Wall Street peer Davis Polk & Wardwell in 2020, makes it easier for the firm to reward its top rainmakers.

Freshfields has been picking off talent from Wall Street firms and other competitors as the firm has sought to expand its stateside operation in recent years. It added rainmaker Ethan Klingsberg from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in 2019 and later launched a Silicon Valley office.

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Deals Arms Race

Hochenberg joined Cravath in 2009 and became partner in 2017.

She has worked alongside Zoubek on several high-profile deals, including Australia-based Afterpay’s sale to Square Inc. for roughly $29 billion, Canadian National Railway’s $33.6 billion combination with Kansas City Southern and Johnson & Johnson’s $6.5 billion purchase of Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc.

She was also on a Cravath team that last year advised Johnson & Johnson on its spinoff of its consumer products division from its drug and medical device businesses, among other deals.

“[Hochenberg] is creative, dedicated and relentless in service of her clients, and is one of the true rising stars in the M&A community in the United States,” said Zoubek, now co-head of Freshfields’ US corporate and M&A practice, in a statement.

“Having someone of Jenny’s caliber join us is a real testament to the strength of our M&A group in the United States and globally,” he added.

Freshfields advised on 305 deals as principal worth $294 billion in 2021, according to Bloomberg League Tables.

Cravath advised on 71 deals as principal in 2021, worth $280 billion.

“The firm’s extraordinary lawyers and highest quality practices across the globe make it a superb platform from which to serve clients on their most impactful matters,” Hochenberg said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com