Herbert Smith hires White & Case lawyer for Paris base

Herbert Smith has recruited White & Case corporate partner Frédéric Bouvet to bulk up its Paris corporate offering.

The hire is the first significant appointment to the firm’s Paris corporate group since the departure of Herbert Smith’s French corporate and competition head Jacques Buhart to McDermott Will & Emery last year (25 April 2011).

Bouvet has been a partner at White & Case since 2007, advising on M&A, securities law and private equity transactions as well as IPOs for French and international clients. He has brought senior associate Magali Fernandes with him.

Herbert Smith’s Paris corporate head Bruno Basuyaux said building the team was a key strategic aim for the firm.

“We identified a while ago the need to grow the corporate group because we believed that we were spreading ourselves too thin on a number of transactions,” Basuyaux said. “We intend to continue to expand our transactional practice in Paris. We also believe that there’ll be more work in terms of M&A and possibly equity capital markets transactions in the near future.”

As well as Buhart, Herbert Smith in Paris suffered a blow to its litigation team last year with the defection of partners Denis Chemla, Erwan Poisson and Michael Young to Allen & Overy (27 May 2011). It made up Paris litigator Clément Dupoirier in this year’s partnership promotion round, but has not hired anyone to fill the gap left by the trio.

However, the firm did pick up the former general counsel of French infrastructure company Bouygues Travaux Publics as a partner in its infrastructure team in December (2 December 2011).