Lovells mounts mass Euro recruitment drive

Lovells has initiated a full-scale European recruitment drive as it takes on three new partners to strengthen its corporate and finance departments in Paris.

M&A and stock exchange partners Gilles de Poix and Olivier de Précigout join from Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Coudert Frères respectively. Finance partner Jacques Bertran de Balanda joins from Clifford Chance.

The corporate practice in Paris focuses on inward investment and joint ventures. Lovells Paris managing partner Robert Follie says that the key point of the recruitment in corporate is to increase the firm’s potential to advise French clients.

“The two corporate partners have French blue chip clients, and we’ll become more of a player among companies listed on the French stock exchange,” he says.

On the finance side, Lovells concentrates on acquisition, asset, trade and project finance, and Bertran de Balanda will strengthen the existing practice.

Poix, who was head of corporate finance at Hughes Hubbard and who started at Lovells last week, has been looking to move for the last year. He says: “Lovells is very aggressive in France. It’s growing very quickly and I was pleased when it approached me.”

Lovells senior partner Andrew Walker says that the Paris office is of major strategic importance to the firm. “There are more foreign banks in Paris than there are in Frankfurt, and it’s a hugely important financial centre,” he says. “The emphasis of our international offices is on the corporate and finance side of the practice and we’ve made it clear that we intend to strengthen our office in Paris.”

The Paris office has doubled in size over the past three years and the new recruits bring the total number or partners there to 14. Follie says that the office will continue the quest to grow its corporate capability.

Lovells is also building its corporate practices in the UK and Germany. Public and private M&A lawyer Nicholas Parden joins Lovells’ London office from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he was an associate. Corporate and M&A lawyer Katrin Solmecke joins the Frankfurt office from Freshfields, where she too was an associate.