Willkie Farr takes Freshfields antitrust head

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has raided Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to take Paris antitrust and competition head Jacques-Philippe Gunther.

Gunther joins the US firm as a partner in its Paris and Brussels offices.

He previously led the antitrust and competition practice at Freshfields in Paris, which he started in the Paris office of Freshfields Bruckhaus in 1999.

Prior to joining Freshfields, Gunther was with Gide Loyrette Nouel. A well-regarded competition specialist, his experience includes advising on the merger between Gaz de France and Suez.

Gunther said he had decided to join Willkie Farr to help build “a European network of competition lawyers”.

The loss follows several high-profile losses from Freshfields’ in recent weeks, including Christophe Caffard in France to Deutsche Bank last week.

Freshfields China antitrust, trade and competition head Thomas Jones also left for Allen & Overy last month.

The magic circle firm has been in a period of flux recently, with its partners voting last week in favour of dropping its all-equity partnership structure.