Herbies raids Lovells for Paris finance team

Herbert Smith has raided Lovells’ Paris office for a two-lawyer team to strengthen its acquisition finance offering.

Lovells equity partner Jacques Bertran de Balanda and senior associate Regis Oreal will both join Herbert Smith as partners in its finance practice.

Finance chief Jason Fox told The Lawyer: “This is a very exciting development for the practice. The hire of Jacques and Regis, as well as the recent appointments in London, strengthens our pan-European acquisition finance offering.”

Bertran de Balanda joined Lovells from Clifford Chance in 2001 where he was a partner in the London office. Oreal moved to Lovells in 1999 from French firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei.

Together they developed Lovells’ Paris acquisition finance capability in addition to advising on project and commodity finance. Clients include Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, European Investment Bank and Société Générale. Negotiations are still taking place on the lawyers start date at Herbert Smith. Lovells’ notice period can stretch up to six months.

Lovells managing partner David Harris said: “Jacques’ and Regis’
resignations are disappointing and we will be sorry to see them leave.
We have, however, just seen a much improved performance in Paris and our
commitment to growing our presence continues.”

Fox has been charged with growing the finance group’s turnover by 20 per cent over five years and acquisition finance has been one of the areas marked out for particular attention. As first reported by the Lawyer (5 December) the firm recently lured Denton Wilde Sapte leveraged finance specialists Chris Fanner and Tim Yeo to its ranks.