Hogan Lovells has become the latest international firm to invest in its Continental real estate offering, hiring Bersay & Associés’ Michaël Lévy as a partner in its Paris office.
Lévy was a co-founding partner of the local firm Lawington and prior to that worked for nine years in Clifford Chance’s Paris real estate department.
The move is an indication that the world’s largest real estate teams are looking to strengthen their capabilities on the Continent as investors increasingly eye opportunities in mainland Europe.
Last month Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer lost its entire Paris real estate capability to Jones Day, with real estate head Erwan Le Douce-Bercot quitting along with a three-lawyer team.
Jackie Newstead, the global head of Hogan Lovells’ real estate practice, commented: “The globalised approach to real estate investment continues to increase with Germany, the UK and France consistently ranking as the three most popular European destinations for investment by global investors. Our capability to meet this on-going trend is key for our global real estate practice, and Michael has the right credentials to help us grow and take advantage of that.”
His hire is the second recent recruit into Hogan Lovells’ global team. Last week it brought real estate partner Lea Ann Fowler, formerly a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, into its Denver office.
Corinne Knopp, the head of Hogan Lovells’ Paris real estate team, said Lévy’s experience made him “an ideal addition” to the team. Lévy’s practice focuses on advising a range of domestic and international clients on real estate investment, asset management, real estate funds and corporate real estate.
The investment priorities of the world’s leading real estate teams form a central plank of the content of The Lawyer’s new Global 200: Real Estate report. The data compiled from surveying over 30 of the biggest practices in the world confirms that after the US and UK, Continental Europe and in particular Germany is high up the list of target areas.
One factor assessed in the report is the impact of this year’s Continental elections. In March many of those in business circles may have been relieved by the victory of current prime minister Mark Rutte over far-right Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. But with polls still to come later this year in France and Germany, real estate partners agree there is still a risk that investors may be put off.
“The topic is on the agenda for everybody and you do hear a general concern,” confirmed one leading real estate partner. “I haven’t heard of anyone changing their real estate investment strategy in case the France or Germany votes go the wrong way, but the reality is that the real estate market primarily depends on whether the economy is healthy or not.”
However while many firms have been preparing for Brexit since last June, there are fewer signs of any similar preparations for a significant change of leadership in France or Germany. Indeed, The Lawyer’s real estate report confirms that when it comes to Europe, most indicators are highly positive.
As one partner puts it, “our German practice is currently going like a train”.
Click here to see a sample from the new report