Ashurst has launched a European high yield practice through the hire of two new lawyers in London.

The firm has added senior associate Tamer Bahgat from Allen & Overy and counsel Natalia Sokolova from Linklaters.

Prior to joining Allen & Overy Bahgat had worked at Cravath Swaine & Moore in both London and New York.

Sokolova is a former Kirkland & Ellis partner qualified in Illinois and New York.

To date Ashurst's main strides in high yield have been made in Asia, with recent work including advising the underwriters on Greenko Investment Company's $500 million 4.875% high yield green bond issue (Deal Data record) and advising Macau's Studio City on its $1.2 billion 5.875% and 7.250% high-yield issues (Deal Data record).

UK firms first started looking seriously at the high yield debt area after the 2008 financial crisis, though only the 'magic-circle' made significant lawyer hires in the area.

Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters have all made strides since competing with US firms such as Latham & Watkins, Cahill, Cravath, Sheamarn & Stirling and Simpson Thacher.