McDermott builds Paris base around Herbies hire

McDermott Will & Emery is expanding its European operations by opening an office in Paris following a hire from Herbert Smith.

Jacques Buhart
Jacques Buhart

The US firm will launch the new base on 2 May under the leadership of partner Jacques Buhart, who was previously head of Herbert Smith’s Paris-based corporate and competition groups. He has been replaced in this position by Bruno Basuyaux.

Buhart will be joined at McDermott by partners Hervé Bidaud, a tax lawyer who was international partner at Arthur Andersen International before founding ­specialist tax firm ArtemTax International, and Thibaud Forbin, who joins from ­Delsol Avocats, where he was co-head of the firm’s corporate M&A practice.

Also joining the office as a partner is Bryan Cave Paris partner Jilali Maazouz, who represents French and ­international corporate clients in labour and employment law matters.

The office’s fifth partner is yet to be named.

McDermott European head Hugh Nineham said that establishing the new Paris office would address what the firm has always seen as a gap in its ­European coverage.

“This is an exciting moment for us,” he enthused. “It’s always been clear that we can’t tell our clients we can represent them in the major financial centres in Europe if we don’t have a presence in Paris. Now we can say to them, ’Call us in Paris’, and that will open a number of doors for us.”

Nineham said the firm had explored several ­operating models for the new outpost before eventually deciding to bring in Buhart as a figurehead and to shape the rest of the team around him.