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Will Pearce

Partner, Corporate – London

Will joined Davis Polk from another leading international law firm in 2013.

“I was offered a unique opportunity to be part of developing an English law practice for one of the world’s premier corporate law firms. You can’t really say no to an opportunity like that!

“Davis Polk has a reputation for hiring the lawyers who are at the top of their game at all levels. Every day and on every deal, I’m surrounded by people who share the values of collaboration, team spirit and technical excellence.”

“We operate as global practice areas which means that our clients’ needs always come first. Our U.S. and U.K. practices work as one integrated team and associates work in joint international teams on most transactions. For us, it’s about staffing the right lawyer with the right experience to best service a clients’ needs regardless of which group or office they are located in. The close working relationships that are formed enable clients to benefit from a better service and our lawyers to have a more fulfilling and nicer working environment.

“In my role as Training Principal of the London office, I enjoy being able to take an active role in the recruitment and development of our trainees and associates. It’s exciting to see people with exceptional talent develop and grow in confidence as they take on more responsibility. Our small intake allows me to take an active interest in each of our trainees. They benefit from exposure to very senior lawyers and clients right from the start of their careers.

“We have invested a lot of time in creating a training programme in London which I am truly proud of. We are constantly working with our current trainees and associates to evolve our training so that it really helps them to perform their roles effectively both now and in the future.

“We also recognize that young lawyers develop skills from being given responsibility on deals, the chance to spend time with clients and by partners taking them to pitches and including them in client-facing seminars. We make sure that all of our trainees and associates have the opportunity to participate in these activities so that they feel part of our team which is building something that is differentiated in the market. We are recruiting trainees to be our associates of the future. We want to make sure we have the right people for the sustainable, long-term development of our practice in London.

“One of the biggest changes that I have witnessed during my career has been the growth of deals which take place on the international stage rather than purely in the U.K. domestic markets. With particular strength in New York, Hong Kong and now both U.S. and English law capability in London, Davis Polk is very well placed to take a role on these global corporate transactions. We have many lawyers in each of these locations who are recognized in the markets as being leaders in their fields.

“Over the past 12 months or so, I have been fortunate enough to lead teams advising on international corporate finance transactions, which have received a good deal of coverage in the press, including Dialog Semiconductor on its proposed $4.6 billion acquisition of Atmel, MasterCard on its £700 million acquisition of a majority stake in VocaLink and the lead financial adviser to Anheuser-Busch InBev on its £79 billion takeover of SAB Miller.

“I can, hand on heart, say that I really enjoy what I do. Corporate work can involve a great deal of personal interaction. I like the personal dynamic to a corporate deal. The interaction between the principals, their investment banking advisers and lawyers can be crucial to getting a deal across the line. You get to do something positive, something constructive. With a corporate finance deal, you have two parties who are in the room to reach agreement on a deal that is a win-win for both sides.”

Read about their experiences. >