Cleary Gottlieb nabs Vinson & Elkins M&A pro in New York

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Signage outside of the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Kupiec focuses his practice on M&A and private equity transactions
  • Cleary this month also promoted four new global M&A partners amid a dealmaking boom

(Reuters) - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has poached a New York-based dealmaker from Vinson & Elkins, the firm said Thursday, as law firm race to meet demand in a record year for mergers and acquisitions.

John Kupiec joins Cleary's New York office as a partner focusing on M&A and private equity transactions. After three years at Vinson & Elkins, Kupiec said he was drawn to Cleary by its private equity clientele.

"There's a lot of interconnectivity between my client base and the relationships that Cleary already has," Kupiec said, adding that he has worked with the firm on M&A deals.

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Kupiec said his clients include private equity firms TPG, Sixth Street and Viking Global.

Cleary has experienced a "real uptick" in M&A work and private equity transactions, said David Leinwand, co-leader of its U.S. M&A group. In addition to hiring Kupiec, the firm this month promoted four new partners for its global M&A practice.

The combined value of global M&A deals surpassed a record-breaking $4 trillion through September this year, with an especially busy third quarter.

"We had known of John through our work for mutual clients over the years and he comes highly recommended from them," Leinwand said.

Prior to joining Vinson & Elkins in 2018, Kupiec spent more than four years at Kirkland & Ellis, including as a partner. Earlier he was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and clerked for Judges Bruce Selya in the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and Loretta Preska in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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Xiumei Dong covers legal industry news, with a focus on law firm strategy and growth, in-house counsel and the Washington, D.C., legal market. Reach her at