Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has made a significant hire in the leveraged finance and high yield debt space with the addition of Ward McKimm from Kirkland & Ellis.

McKimm, who joined Kirkland from Shearman & Sterling in 2011, will take up a position as head of the firm's European leveraged finance group in September 2015 and will join the likes of Simone Bono in the high yield team in London.

He has advised the likes of Bain Capital, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank and Citigroup in the past.

In 2013 the firm lost their previous high yield star Gil Strauss to Weil Gotshal (he subsequently moved back to Simpson Thacher).

McKimm's move, it is reported by The Lawyer, has been eased by Freshfields' breaking of its lockstep structure, which has allowed it to make him a significant financial offer.

The move is the second high yield lateral hire in a month following Hogan Lovells capture of Sylvain Dhennim from Dentons. Most firms in the City now have at least one New York qualified specialist in their ranks, with UK firms in particular having made a number of strategic hires in the past 4-5 years.

McKimm's departure represents another blow to Kirkland's London practice following the recent moves of funds partners Mark Mifsud and Kate Downey and private equity specialist Graham White.