Freshfields turn to Darrois Villey for new Paris corporate head

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has made a rare hire from one of France’s top independent firms, taking corporate star Hervé Pisani from Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier.

Pisani will take over from Fabrice Cohen as head of corporate and will also join Freshfields’ international corporate leadership team.

In a year of frantic lateral hiring by firms in Paris, Pisani is one of the few partners to leave a top-ranked French firm. He becomes the seventh partner in Freshfields’ Paris office to focus on corporate work.

Pisani joined Darrois Villey from Gide Loyrette Nouel in 2001 and has worked on a number of high-profile deals, including the 2008 €67bn (£53bn) merger between Gaz de France and Suez and the 2006 partial privatisation of state-owned airport operator Aéroports de Paris (ADP).

Pisani said he was enthusiastic about joining a firm with an “outstanding” international reputation, and was attracted by Freshfields’ “dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit”.

Darrois Villey co-managing partner Olivier Diaz said: “Our transactional and contentious practice has developed very strongly in these past few years, particularly in international transactions, and has benefited from the hire of well-known partners from other firms and the promotion of our best and most promising associates. Hervé’s departure, which we naturally regret, will not affect this development in any way.”