Debevoise loses two as Latham strengthens Paris with corporate hires

Latham & Watkins has raided rival Debevoise & Plimpton’s Paris office, picking up the firm’s local co-managing partner Patrick Laporte.

Laporte joins Latham along with Debevoise international counsel Pierre-Louis Cléro. Both have joined as partners in Latham’s French corporate team.

The hires leave Debevoise with just five partners in Paris. The firm also lost corporate partner Marc Castagnède and two associates to Allen & Overy in March last year.

Laporte moved to Debevoise from Linklaters six years ago (5 January 2005), rejoining former colleague Pierre Clermontel. His clients include publishing house Lagardère, Air France-KLM and JP Morgan Chase.

Latham’s Paris managing partner Olivier du Mottay called the hires a “landmark moment” in the expansion of the firm’s corporate practice, while global corporate department vice-chair John Watson said the duo were a “great fit”.

The hires are an indication that hiring activity this year in Paris could follow that of 2011, which saw unprecedented numbers of partners moving firms in France. Corporate was a key area of focus, with a number of international firms picking up partners from competitors.