Paul Hastings absorbs 12-lawyer litigation team in Paris from local boutique

Top flight white collar and investigations partner Antonin Lévy takes entire team from Antonin Lévy & Associés to US firm

Antonin Lévy (sixth from left) and his team Image courtesy of Paul Hastings

Paul Hastings has significantly bolstered its Paris office with the hire of a 12-lawyer team from local litigation boutique Antonin Lévy & Associés. 

The team is led by top-tier white collar and investigations partner Antonin Lévy and includes partners Ophélia Claude and Joris Monin de Flaugergues, along with nine associates.

Paul Hastings characterised the move as the addition of the boutique firm’s team and Lévy “folding his practice into the Paul Hastings platform” rather than as an acquisition. 

Lévy and his team specialise in white collar crime litigation, compliance, internal investigations and business and human rights. Paul Hastings also highlighted the team’s experience in investigations carried out by multilateral development banks and ESG litigation. 

“Antonin and his team represent many of our existing clients so their practice is immediately synergistic with our litigation platform,” said Paul Hastings chair Frank Lopez. “Their arrival demonstrates our continued investment in Paris and commitment to building our litigation practice to serve the complex needs of our blue-chip clients worldwide.”

Lévy led the investigation, white collar and fraud practice at Hogan Lovells in Paris for four years before launching Antonin Lévy & Associés in 2019 and has forged a formidable reputation in the French market. The son of French public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy, he has acted as counsel on cases concerning fraud, corruption, human rights and corporate criminal law representing corporations including Google, Apple, Continental Airlines, Facebook, TotalEnergies and Renault. 

He has also acted for a number of prominent politicians, including former Prime Minister of France François Fillon, who he defended in the Fillon Affair, a political scandal that erupted in 2017 following allegations that Fillon’s close family members had been given lucrative jobs that involved very little or no actual work. 

“Antonin is a force in the legal world,” said Washington DC-based investigations and white collar defence partner Bob Luskin. “His team’s impact in Paris and beyond will be immediately felt by our clients, who understand the need for excellence in every jurisdiction.”

Lévy, Claude and Monin de Flaugergues have worked together for a number of years, overlapping at Hogan Lovells before the launch of Antonin Lévy & Associés. Earlier Lévy and Claude also worked together at the firm founded by top French criminal lawyer Olivier Metzner. 

Lévy and his team are due to join Paul Hastings by the start of September and will significantly expand its Paris office, which currently houses 42 lawyers, including complex litigation partner Laurent Martinet, whose practice covers investigations and white collar defence. 

Last month, the office restocked its restructuring bench with the hire of a trio from DLA Piper led by partner Caroline Texier following a raid by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer last year that saw bankruptcy partner Guilhem Bremond defect with a team of four. 

Earlier this year the firm also boosted its litigation practice in London with the hire of former SFO banking fraud division head Stuart Alford KC from Latham & Watkins alongside arbitration partner Oliver Browne. Last year the firm also hired Garreth Wong in London as global co-chair of international arbitration from legacy Shearman & Sterling. 

The firm has also been boostings its litigation bench across the US with hires from rivals, including white collar and investigations partner Adam Fee, who joined in Los Angeles last year from Milbank, and partner Brad Bondi in Washington DC, who was recruited from Cahill Gordon & Reindel to co-chair its global investigations and white collar defence practice. 

Lévy said he had worked with Paul Hastings’ white collar practice for a number of years, particularly top-rated US litigator Bob Luskin, who works out of Washington DC. 

“In the context of cross-border litigation, extraterritoriality of law and increasing cooperation between prosecuting authorities, joining such a robust global platform provides significant opportunities for our clients, many of which have existing relationships with the firm,” Lévy added. “Our goal is to become the major player in complex transnational litigation in Europe and beyond.”

Paul Hastings has been adding talent in areas including energy and infrastructure, litigation, arbitration, restructuring and finance as it moves to gain market share by hiring lawyers that can help it win work from existing clients in new areas. 

The strategy appears to be paying off, with the firm growing revenue nearly 9% last year to a record $1.8bn as rising demand saw it shrug off the post-2021 hangover that has affected its rivals.

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