Boies Schiller Flexner continues London rebuild with art law team hire from Constantine Cannon

Constantine Cannon’s London founding partner Pierre Valentin moves over alongside five counsel and associates

Pierre Valentin Image courtesy of Boies Schiller Flexner

Boies Schiller Flexner (BSF) has hired a six-strong team focused on art law in London from New York firm Constantine Cannon, as it moves to rebuild in the UK capital following the departure of all but three of its lawyers there early last year. 

The team is led by partner Pierre Valentin, who founded Constantine Cannon’s London office in 2012 and led the firm’s art and cultural property group. Moving over with him are counsel Fionnuala Rogers, Tom Christopherson and Penny Walker and a pair of associates. 

“Pierre is a perfect addition to the work we do involving UHNWs, family offices, insurance companies, investment funds, private banks and other lenders,” said London BSF partner Prateek Swaika. “His art law experience overlaps closely with the disputes service we provide for our clients and adds to the range of our offering internationally.”

Valentin brings 25 years of experience to his new firm, where he will continue to represent clients on contentious and non-contentious matters of ownership, valuation of art, fraud, authenticity and provenance, foreign nation recoveries and restitution, intellectual property and new technology. Qualified in the EU and England and Wales, he joined Constantine Cannon in 2012 after a decade as a partner at Withers and before that was associate general counsel for Sotheby’s. 

At BSF, Valentin and his team will split their time between London and Milan, where the firm opened an office in 2021 with a team of lawyers from Italian independent RP Legal & Tax to focus on EU work, including art-related work for high-net-worth clients. 

Valentin commented: “New York and London have long been major hubs, but as the art market diversifies and globalises, there is an increasing need for cross-jurisdictional art law capabilities in major European financial centres such as Milan. I am looking forward to partnering with the Italy attorneys to further strengthen their established art practice, while also leveraging the BSF platform to continue to service my clients with their art law needs throughout the world.”

The new arrivals significantly boost BSF’s London lawyer headcount, bringing it to 18, including seven partners. The firm lost most of its team in the city last January when 12 fee earners including five partners followed former London head Natasha Harrison out the door. Harrison – who had been tipped as a successor to BSF founder David Boies as leader of the firm – launched her own practice shortly after, with all of the former BSF London partners subsequently joining the new firm. 

The departures left BSF with Swaika and David Hunt as its only partners permanently based in London alongside an associate. The firm said at the time that it remained “committed” to its London office and would be bringing in new talent “to supplement our existing strengths”, as well as “cultivating a London presence that is better integrated with the firm’s core work and clients”. 

Alongside the team from Constantine Cannon the firm has restocked in London with partners from rivals including Locke Lord, King Wood & Mallesons and Swiss firm Lalive. Last month cross-border disputes specialist Almat Madaliyev also joined in London after more than a decade in Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice, most recently as Vice Minister of Justice. 

Meanwhile, the departures leave Constantine Cannon with six lawyers listed as being based in London, according to its website. The firm did not immediately respond to a request to comment on its plans for London. 

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