The highly fluid Paris market has seen nine partners and ten associates walk out of Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ regional office to join Gide Loyrette Nouel, leaving the US firm with just three local partners.
Senior exits include Paris managing partner Anne Tolila and partner Jean Leygonie, who both left De Pardieu Brocas Maffei & Leygonie to launch Morgan Lewis’ Paris office in 2004.
Tax partner Christian Nouel, who only joined Morgan Lewis in September last year from Paris-based STC, having previously headed Latham & Watkins Paris tax practice, is among those leaving the firm.
Of the 19-strong team, five partners and four associates will join Gide’s M&A department, while four other partners and their teams will join the funds formation, competition, employment, and taxation practice groups.
Gide, which is acknowledged by the Legal 500 as ranking first tier in administrative & public law, banking and finance, capital markets, employment, insurance, real estate, and IP within full service firms, said it chose to strengthen its ‘international capacity in M&A at a time when the number of transactions is on the rise, as well as its capacity to offer major clients a service that meets exact international standards.
‘The Morgan Lewis & Bockius team has developed recognised expertise in the area of transactions and industrial M&A, in particular cross-border transactions [with] the US, Europe and China.’
A joint statement from Gide’s senior partner Baudouin de Moucheron and managing partner Stéphane Puelstate today (16 October), said: ‘We are delighted to welcome these nineteen lawyers, whose quality, enthusiasm and importance in the market has been known to us for a long time now. We are particularly pleased that they have chosen Gide in order to carry out their projects, where they will find the resources to back up their talent, both in Paris and abroad.’
A statement from Morgan Lewis said: ‘The practices of the departing partners, although well respected in Paris, were not consistent with the needs of our clients and our firm’s global focus.
‘We believe that this departure is in the best interests of all concerned, and we wish our former colleagues well in their new firm. We maintain our presence in Paris with partners and associates in the corporate, litigation and intellectual property practices. We will also continue to build our firm’s global presence as we have through our recent expansions in Moscow, Almaty, London, and Dubai, and in practice areas such as energy, finance, private funds, and Litigation, so as to best serve the needs of our clients.’
Gide itself has seen a number of recent departures, including Erwan Le Douce-Bercot who left for Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in March this year, while a trio of senior corporate partners also departed to establish boutique firm BDGS Associes. Elsewhere Wragge & Co this year took a four-strong team from Bird & Bird after itself losing seven lawyers to local firm Franklin.
The partners joining Gide are:
Anne Tolila: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A
Ann Baker: admitted to the New York and Paris bars, specialises in fund structuring with experience in sovereign funds and pension funds
Pierre-Antoine Dubecq: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A
Olivier Edwards: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A and venture capital
Karen Noel: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A and venture capital
Christian Nouel: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in tax law
David-James Sebag: admitted to the Paris and New York bars, specialises in M&A
Francois Vergne: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in employment law
Jean Leygonie: admitted to the Paris bar, competition law specialist