Gide reeling as another partner quits for rival

Beleaguered French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel has lost a corporate partner to rival M&A practice Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier.

Hervé Pisani, who is one of the firm’s younger partners, will join Darrois in the next few months, increasing the firm’s total number of partners to 10.

Darrois partner Olivier Diaz, himself a former Gide lawyer, says that the firm aims to build its practice with lawyers in the 30 to 40-year-old bracket.

The move is unusual as previous departures from Gide have involved older partners moving to international firms. But Pisani is a younger partner moving to a French firm.

Diaz says: “A lot of people would prefer to stay in a French firm but it is hard to move to a better French firm than Gide. Darrois, however, is in the league for M&A.”

Darrois is a highly-rated niche M&A practice which also handles international arbitration and administrative law. Its clients are French international and international companies, including internet provider Tiscali, defence company EADF, Renault, and Nestlé.

Pisani’s move is the latest in a long line of departures from Gide, which started in October 1998 when M&A partners Thierry Vassogne, Marc Loy and Diaz left for Linklaters (now Linklaters & Alliance). Diaz then jumped ship for Darrois.

Most recently, banking partner Jean Thibaud joined Andersen Legal’s French legal arm SG Archibald (The Lawyer, 22 May 2000).