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Clifford Chance takes HSF partner in bid to boost its capital markets practice in Paris

Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance has hired longstanding Herbert Smith Freehills’ partner Alex Bafi, one of London’s high-profile US securities lawyers, as it expands its capital markets practice.

Bafi will relocate to Paris as part of the move, joining the firm’s finance and capital markets practice in January 2015. Bafi, who has been at HSF since 2001 after joining from white shoe firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, recently advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a high yield debt offering by Kuwait Energy, Credit Suisse on a £350m rights offering by Premier Foods and the £920m London IPO of Zoopla.

Bafi, who is fluent in French, Italian and Arabic, told Legal Business: ‘The move will allow me to use my languages and run further interesting mandates, and will reinforce Clifford Chance’s offering in France, Italy, Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East. Clifford has a great platform with offices in all the major centres in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.’

Bafi, who is the global relationship partner for Credit Suisse, for whom his new firm is on the legal panel for, was elected to HSF’s partnership council in May 2011 for a three-year term.

Yves Wehrli, managing partner of Clifford Chance’s Paris office, commented: ‘Alex will further strengthen our equity and debt capital markets teams, as well as our acquisition finance team for high yield offerings, and our projects team, which is increasingly turning to the US bond markets for financing.’

Adrian Cartwright, global head of Clifford Chance’s capital markets practice, added: ‘The appointment of Alex in a major financial centre such as Paris was an obvious choice given the increasing importance of the US market for capital markets transactions. His expertise in high yield offerings will also be particularly useful on the French market.’

The move follows CC’s hire, earlier this week, of ex-Freshfields corporate partner Fabrice Cohen into its Paris office from Willkie Farr & Gallagher, alongside two other lawyers.