Gide loses Ukraine and Hungary teams to French rival Jeantet

French firm Jeantet is launching in Hungary and Ukraine with the hire of Gide Loyrette Nouel’s teams in Budapest and Kiev.

The moves take place on 1 November and see Jeantet establish its first presence in Eastern Europe. The firm also has offices in Luxembourg, Morocco and Switzerland.

Jeantet is picking up two partners through the hires – Paris-based Karl Hepp de Sevelinges from the Ukraine team, and Budapest head François d’Ornano. Gide local partner Bertrand Barrier, in Ukraine, is also making the move and will be a local partner at Jeantet, leading the office on the ground. In total, around 30 lawyers are expected to join Jeantet although a number have recently left the two offices.

Jeantet board member Thierry Brun said the two offices would reinforce the firm’s industrial M&A and real estate transaction practices as well as strengthening its international presence.

For Gide the departures continue the downsizing of the firm’s presence in Eastern Europe which began when it reviewed its operations in the region years ago. That review resulted in the closure of its Belgrade and Prague offices, as well as three in the Middle East.

Following the review Budapest became Gide’s Eastern European hub. The firm hired of counsel Gábor Felsen from Clifford Chance spinoff firm Lakatos Köves, but he left after a year and is now at Reed Smith.

In 2012 partner Eszter Kamocsay-Berta and lawyer Ákos Kovách were appointed as co-heads of Budapest. Kamocsay-Berta quit last year to found her own firm, KCG Partners, and Kovách moved to Hogan Lovells as a counsel in September this year.

Meanwhile Gide bolstered its Ukraine office at the end of 2013 when German firm Beiten Burkhardt closed down in Kiev. Partners Julian Ries and Oleksiy Feliv joined the firm and Ries became office co-head alongside Barrier.

Ries and Feliv left Gide at the start of October with a team of 13 lawyers to join Ukrainian firm Integrites. Ries has relocated to Munich to lead Integrites’ new representative office.

In a note to clients Barrier and Hepp de Sevelinges said: “Please be assured that all Gide’s lawyers who have been handling your file will continue working under Jeantet brand. Hence, we trust that very little will change for our clients and, more importantly, we can assure you that we will continue rendering the same seamless services as before.”

Gide retains offices in Poland, Russia and Turkey. It was the first French firm to expand internationally, launching in Warsaw in 1991, Moscow and Budapest in 1993, Istanbul in 1997 and Kiev in 2006.

The firm also has a non-exclusive alliance with Italy’s Chiomenti, Spain’s Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and Germany’s Gleiss Lutz. Last year managing partner Stéphane Puel told The Lawyer the firm wanted to focus its international expansion efforts on developing regions such as Asia and Africa.

Since the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia in March last year and the resulting economic and political upheaval in the region, Ukraine’s legal market has seen considerable upheaval. As well as Beiten Burkhardt, Germany’s Noerr and US firm Chadbourne & Parke pulled out of the country. More recently Clifford Chance also announced it was withdrawing from the country with its Ukraine team spinning off into an independent practice.

There has also been change in Hungary with Dentons picking up White & Case’s entire Budapest office in April this year.