Gide Loyrette Nouel adds seven-strong team in Paris from Shearman & Sterling

Partners Sami Toutounji and Françoise Even arrive with their team to establish employee shareholding practice

Partners Sami Toutounji (second from left) and Françoise Even (third from right) and their team Image courtesy of Gide Loyrette Nouel

Leading French law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel has added a pair of partners and their team from Shearman & Sterling in Paris to set up a new employee shareholding practice. 

The team is led by the head of Shearman’s European governance and benefits team, Sami Toutounji, alongside newly-minted partner Françoise Even. 

Gide said employee shareholding had gained ‘considerable momentum’ over the past few years, adding that it expected the team’s arrival to boost the ability of its 500 lawyers to work alongside clients on their most strategic issues. 

The rest of the team includes senior counsel Barbara Streichenberger-Michel, associates Sonia Boulongne, Jérémy Lereau-Colonna and Maxime Ehrhart and intern Constance Martinez. 

The new practice will advise listed and unlisted companies and European financial institutions on the design and international roll-out of their employee share ownership plans, as well as on the implementation of their compensation plans and related governance.

“[Even and Toutounji] have participated in establishing and developing this activity on the Paris market,” said Gide senior partner Frédéric Nouel and managing partner Jean-François Levraud, adding that the team’s hire complemented Gide’s practice in the field of managers and employees accessing the capital of their company and strengthened its ability to support clients as widely as possible. 

Toutounji spent 33 years at Shearman and advised clients including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Novartis and Vivendi. His practice focuses on the design and international roll-out of equity and other compensation plans, as well as on related issues of corporate governance. 

Meantime Evens advised clients including Michelin, Pernod Ricard and TotalEnergies on their employee stock ownership plans in France and internationally during her time at Shearman, where she was counsel. 

The team has joined Gide’s M&A practice, which with nearly 80 lawyers including 23 partners is one of the largest on the French market. The new arrivals will also work closely with Gide's teams specialising in executive/management packages, securities and capital markets law, employment law and tax law.

The group’s departure from Shearman follows the US firm’s veteran global international arbitration practice heads, Emmanuel Gaillard and Yas Banifatemi, leaving the firm last year along with six other partners to launch an independent disputes outfit in Paris.

Going the other way, later in the year Shearman added a four-partner team in Paris from DLA Piper that included the co-managing partner of DLA Piper in France, Xavier Norlain, and French heads of corporate and finance and restructuring. 


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