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A long time in law: DLA Piper hires SJ Berwin tax escapees from Reed Smith

A trio of tax partners who joined Reed Smith in a 17-partner move from collapsed legacy SJ Berwin have moved on again after little more than a year, joining DLA Piper.

DLA has hired Sylvie Vansteenkiste, Fanny Combourieu and Raphaël Béra from Reed Smith. The three tax partners came to Reed Smith in January last year after the US firm hired 50 fee-earners, including 17 partners, three counsel, 22 associates, one jurist, seven trainees and nine other support staff from the failed European arm of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM). The hiring spree was understood to represent the largest group of lawyers taken on by a firm in the wake of the collapse.

Reed Smith also hired competition and antitrust partners Marc Lévy and Natasha Tardif, as well as corporate and private equity partners Guilain Hippolyte and Pierre-Louis Périn in Paris alongside the tax trio.

DLA Piper global co-chair of tax Roderik Bouwman said the lateral hires showed the firm’s commitment to growing its global tax practice, commenting: ‘We continue to see a very high demand for advice in this area and the new team has an outstanding reputation as tax specialists. Their combined expertise complements that of our existing team and enhances our integrated tax offering for our clients.’

Reed Smith Europe and Middle East managing partner Tamara Box said the Paris office has grown from 45 lawyers to almost 70, and that 2017 was one of the office’s busiest years: ‘It’s always disappointing to see good people leave the business and we certainly wish our former partners well.’

At the time of the hires, Box had said the partners had been independent during the process, with some pursuing opportunities at other firms. ‘We believe every single partner had other offers, and in most cases multiple offers,’ she said.