Davis Polk launches French boutique

Davis Polk & Wardwell is set to launch its first non-US law practice after poaching Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s new co-head of M&A in Paris.

Arnaud Pérès was named French co-head of M&A just this month after corporate chief Patrick Bonvarlet went on a sabbatical.

As first revealed on www. thelawyer.com, Pérès is the first hire of what Davis Polk hopes will become a French M&A boutique. This marks a significant U-turn in the New York firm’s international strategy. Up until now it has remained ‘best friends’ with leading independent firms and has not competed with them in their local markets. Davis Polk opened an office in Paris in 1962 but had just two US partners based there.

In Europe, these firms include Bonelli Erede Papp-alardo in Italy, Germany’s Hengeler Mueller, Slaughter and May in the UK and Spain’s Uría & Menéndez. It also, most pertinently for Paris, includes Bredin Prat.

Peres has been at Freshfields since 1990 and made partner in 1999.

A Freshfields spokesperson said: “We’re sad to see him go and wish him well in the future.”