Gide seeks Paris boost through Veil Jourde talks

Gide Loyrette Nouel is in early discussions over a possible merger with corporate and litigation firm Veil Jourde, The Lawyer can reveal.

A merger between the two would add 17 partners and around 25 lawyers to Gide’s Paris office, which has shrunk in size in recent years after several departures.

Most recently, Gide lost three senior corporate partners – Antoine Bonnasse, Youssef Djehane and Jean-Emmanuel Skovron – as well as a team of more junior lawyers, to launch boutique BDGS Associés (22 March 2013). Meanwhile, Serge Tatar and Renaud Rossa left for an existing boutique (8 March 2013) and real estate partner Erwan Le Douce-Bercot joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (7 March 2013).

Veil Jourde was founded in 1990 by Jean Veil and George Jourde. Veil was previously a partner at Gide, where he originally qualified as a lawyer. A number of other partners and lawyers at the firm have also worked at Gide at various points in their careers.

Veil is one of France’s best-known lawyers, having gained a reputation for advising companies and individuals on high-profile cases. Last year he represented Société Générale in its court battle with ‘rogue trader’ Jérôme Kerviel and he is currently acting for former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, who is accused of fraud and tax evasion in a scandal that is rocking the French establishment.

In M&A and finance work, Veil Jourde has a steady list of French corporate clients, including multinational advertising group Publicis and environment and waste management company Veolia.

In 2011 the firm turned over €17m, according to figures provided to The Lawyer for European 100 research; it did not supply figures for 2012 but its headcount remained largely stable.

A merger would bring Gide’s turnover back above €200m after it slumped to €192.2m in 2011 (12 September 2012). Revenues are expected to be at similar levels for 2012.

Sources in the Paris market said they thought the return of Veil to Gide would give the firm a profile boost, but some questioned the cultural fit between the two firms.

Gide and Veil Jourde both declined to comment.