McDermott hires two senior Shearman tax specialists in Paris

Longstanding partner Niels Dejean is switching firms ahead of A&O Shearman merger with counsel Anne-Sophie Maes
Headshots of Niels Dejean and Anne-Sophie Maes

Niels Dejean and Anne-Sophie Maes

In a significant expansion of its European tax practice, McDermott Will & Emery has hired Niels Dejean and Anne-Sophie Maes as partners in its Paris office from Shearman & Sterling just a few weeks before Shearman’s merger with Allen & Overy is due to go live

The move aims to enhance the firm’s capabilities in handling complex tax matters for international corporate clients, particularly in mergers and acquisitions, where the firm has expanded its transactional capabilities, notably in the private equity space in London, where it hired partner Fatema Orjela from Sidley Austin earlier this month.

Both new arrivals are highly regarded in their field. Dejean spent more than 20 years at Shearman, where he was head of the tax practice, having previously worked for major French audit and law firms in the mid-1990s after qualifying in 1995. Maes, a key member of his team, joins as a partner, having been a counsel with Shearman, where she has been based for more than 20 years. 

They bring a wealth of experience in corporate tax issues, including capital market transactions, private equity, and tax controversy and dispute resolution matters. Their appointments are expected to significantly boost McDermott’s French tax practice and enhance its cross-border service offerings – including corporate, where it is building the partnership locally.

The firm promoted three partners into its flagship transactions space in Paris this January: Marie-Muriel Barthelet, Herschel Guez, and Shirin Deyhim. Departures from the firm’s Paris office have been few, except for Amy Frey’s return to King & Spalding in August 2023, less than a year after leaving. 

Tim Shuman, global head of McDermott’s tax practice, said: “Niels and Anne-Sophie are outstanding practitioners with an impressive history of working with sophisticated clients in complex tax matters. They complement our tax practice perfectly and will strongly boost our Paris tax offerings as we develop our cross-border capabilities.”

The firm’s managing partner in Paris, Grégoire Andrieux, highlighted the hires’ strategic value, noting their potential impact on the firm’s growth.

“Niels has an outstanding reputation in the French market, while Anne-Sophie is regarded as one of the country’s rising stars in corporate tax,” he said.

Integrating Dejean and Maes into McDermott’s Paris office is a strategic enhancement to the firm’s ability to advise on sophisticated tax structures and resolve related disputes. Businesses increasingly require robust tax strategies amid changing global tax regulations and heightened enforcement across the European Union, of which Paris is a post-Brexit regional hub.

The departures are the latest in a series of exits from Shearman ahead of its merger with Allen & Overy, which is set to go live next month, having first been announced in May last year ahead of partner votes overwhelmingly approving the merger, which took place last October. 

Key recent departures include those of Ward McKimm, the firm’s former European managing partner, whose destination is yet to emerge, and global co-managing partner George Casey, who decamped to Linklaters in January with five fellow M&A partners.

Earlier this month, A&O Shearman announced its first round of partner promotions. Forty lawyers made the cut – 32 from Allen & Overy and eight from Shearman & Sterling. Three of those promoted were from Paris, with one, Charles del Valle, in tax.

Elsewhere across its international network, meanwhile, McDermott recently restated its commitment to Singpore after the departure of two partners to Watson Farley & Williams earlier this month left its office with just one partner.

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