20 Oct 2022

Norton Rose Fulbright completes double partner hire from Gide and Pinsent Masons in Paris

Banking and finance specialist Kamel Ben Salah and corporate adviser Pierre François boost Paris partner count to 25

By mapman; Shutterstock

Norton Rose Fulbright has made a twin partner hire from Gide Loyrette Nouel and Pinsent Masons to further expand its Paris office.

The duo comprise real estate finance partner Kamel Ben Salah, who joins from Gide, and M&A partner Pierre François, who joins from Pinsent Masons. Salah takes up residence in the firm’s banking and finance practice, where he will focus predominantly on real estate asset finance, corporate finance and project finance. 

He regularly advises banks and other financial institutions on real estate-related financing, refinancing and restructuring matters. François joins the corporate practice where he will focus on a range of domestic and cross-border transactions work, including structuring and negotiating deals and distressed divestments.

Christine Ezcutari, head of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Paris banking team, said Salah’s arrival will strengthen the firm’s real estate finance practice and bolster its tax and real estate law knowledge and capabilities in the French capital.

Salah arrives after a more than four-decade career at Gide, where he led the structured finance, acquisition finance and project finance team for almost 30 years. He is also a member of the Paris and Tunis Bars. Meantime, François brings with him more than 20 years of experience, the last decade of which spent at Pinsent Masons. He previously had spells at Marccus Partners, Dewey & LeBouef, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Paul Hastings. François also brings with him a team of two, including counsel Catherine Mandon and associate Laura Darvishi.

Sébastien Praicheux also joined the Paris corporate team as a partner earlier this year from DLA Piper.

George Paterson, head of the firm’s Paris office, said: “With the arrival of three new partners and teams in 2022, our Paris office now has 25 partners and confirms its ambition to develop the service offering we provide to our clients.”

While Norton Rose Fulbright is seeking to expand in Paris, US firms Brown Rudnick and Davis Polk are both closing their offices. 

Brown Rudnick closed its Paris office last month after less than a decade in the French capital, leaving London as its only international location. And it emerged this week that Wall Street leader Davis Polk & Wardwell is also leaving the city. Law.com reported that the five-lawyer operation would close by the end of the year, signalling an end to its longstanding French-law practice. 

And while Gide lost Salah this month, it also gained a team of seven employee benefits lawyers from Shearman & Sterling in Paris, including partners Sami Toutounji and Françoise Even.

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