SJ Berwin loses Thompson to TDR

Blair Thompson, one of the rising stars of SJ Berwin’s dominant private equity fund formation practice, has quit the law firm to join TDR Capital as chief operating officer. Founded by Banker’s Trust alumni Manjit Dale and Stephen Robertson, TDR is the private equity investment arm of hedge fund operator Tudor.

The departure of Thompson is something of a blow for SJ Berwin, which has hitherto been able to maintain a fairly stable fund formation team. With the promotion of Jonathan Blake to senior partner at SJ Berwin, rival law firms were expected to swoop on members of the coveted fund formation team. Younger members such as Thompson were always seen as targets for aggressive US firms such as Debevoise & Plimpton and Weil Gotshal, which are both known to be keen to expand their funds practices.

Thompson advised on Apax’s €4.5bn (US$5.4bn) European fund in late 2004 and on the €5bn (US$6bn) Permira Europe III fund in 2003. He had also worked with Bridgepoint Capital and Electra Partners.

In January 2004, John Daghlian left SJ Berwin’s private equity funds group to join rival law firm O’Melveny & Myers.

Blair originally qualified as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand in 1995 before joining SJ Berwin in 1997.