Darrois Villey trio joins French boutique trend

Three partners from French corporate powerhouse Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier, including the son of the firm’s co-founder Philippe Villey, have left the firm to set up a boutique.

Villey Girard Grolleaud was founded in the New Year by Darrois Villey partners Daniel Villey, Pascale Girard and Yann Grolleaud and will provide corporate and litigation advice. One associate joined the trio from Darrois Villey while another two were recruited from other firms.

Villey said the trio had been considering the move for some time.

“We’ve had on our minds for years now the idea to create and launch our own legal firm,” he told The Lawyer. He added that the three had all been made partner at a similar time; Villey was a partner at Darrois Villey for six years while Girard and Grolleaud were made up four years ago.

“We had a chance at Darrois to work together very closely on a daily basis for seven years,” he said. “We’ve developed very close relationships in our work but also more on a personal basis.”

Villey said he thought this would enable Villey Girard Grolleaud to provide a similar service to clients as they had received at Darrois Villey, adding that the new boutique was able to offer the same partner-to-associate ratio of approximately 1:1 as at the larger firm. He said the client response had been “amazingly positive” and the trio had brought several ongoing cases with them as well as continuing to advise on some matters alongside Darrois Villey.

Villey’s expertise is in M&A and litigation, while Girard also practises corporate law as well as capital markets. Grolleaud is a tax specialist acting both for companies and private clients.

Philippe Villey, who founded Darrois Villey with Jean-Michel Darrois in 1987, passed away in September last year aged 61. Daniel Villey said he had discussed his plans with his father and hoped to be able to replicate his success at Villey Girard Grolleaud.

“I’m happy and so grateful for all that I learned and the experience and opportunities that I had at Darrois Villey,” he added.

A year ago Darrois Villey lost partner David Scemla to another boutique launch (12 January 2012) while corporate partner Hervé Pisani joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer a month earlier (13 December 2011).