Pinsent Masons secures 23-strong team from local firm for Luxembourg launch

Deal adds seven new partners including Michel Bulach who will head the new Luxembourg office
The philharmonic hall in Luxembourg City

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Pinsent Masons has launched in Luxembourg with a team of 23 lawyers from local independent Wildgen, which has now disbanded. 

The deal will see Pinsent Masons add seven new partners and 16 other lawyers, with the Luxembourg office focusing primarily on the financial services sector. The new office – Pinsent Mason’s seventh in Continental Europe – will be headed by former Wildgen partner Michel Bulach and serve corporate and investment fund clients in Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, the Netherlands, France and the UK.

Richard Foley, senior partner at Pinsent Masons, said: “Luxembourg is an economic and trading centre that is of global importance. Expanding into the region strengthens our presence across continental Europe and broadens our ability to deliver cross-border expertise for clients operating within our core sectors.”

He added: “The partners and other colleagues who have joined us in Luxembourg represent a highly credible and experienced team with a strong reputation in the market.”

Bulach has been at Wildgen for more than two decades, joining as an associate in 2000 and becoming partner in 2005. Bulach specialises in insurance and reinsurance, bank lending, capital markets and structured finance transactions, as well as regulatory matters.

The other new partners include Giuseppe Cafiero, Isabelle Charlier, David Maria, Yann Payen, Eric Perru and Mark Shaw. Banking, finance and insurance and reinsurance law specialist Giuseppe Cafiero joins after 11 year with Wildgen. Charlier’s practice focuses on corporate finance, corporate and commercial law. She has been with Wildgen since 2007 apart from a brief 19-month hiatus working at the Centralis Group. Maria is a tax and corporate law specialist and has been with Wildgen since 2008, joining from Oostvogels Pfister Feyten where he was a senior associate.

Payen, meantime, brings cross-border restructurings expertise as well as corporate governance and M&A advice. Perru advises on civil, banking and business litigation. And Shaw advises on the structuring and distribution of regulated and unregulated funds. He will relocate to London and focus on developing relationships between the firm’s UK clients and Luxembourg.

Bulach said: “Pinsent Masons has a strong European network, recognised for its seamless connectivity. The addition of our Luxembourg presence makes us one of few firms with capabilities that span the region in this way. Not only do we present a strong financial services offering, but the breadth of experience across our Luxembourg partners means we launch as a full-service firm.”

Wildgen, a solid mid-sized firm in Luxembourg’s financial centre, has been wound down following the team move to Pinsents with three partners moving elsewhere with their teams. 

Corporate partner Lionel Bonifazzi and finance and investment funds specialist Mevlüde-Aysun Tokbag have joined local firm Kleyr│Grasso, Bonifazzi to launch a tax team along with former Wildgen director Valeria Ercolini and Tokbag, who co-headed Wildgen’s banking and finance and investment funds teams, to launch a German desk. 

Former dispute resolution and litigation practice head Karine Vilret, meanwhile, has landed at German firm Luther's Luxembourg office.

Last December, Wildgen’s former managing partner, François Brouxel, and former senior partner, Samia Rabia, departed with a team of counsel and senior associates to launch their own boutique following a reported disagreement over strategy between them and the firm’s 10 other partners.

Pinsents' launch in Luxembourg follows Addleshaw Goddard's arrival in March, when it hired corporate partner Richard Ledain Santiago from UK rival Fieldfisher to lead the office. 

Last summer US firm K&L Gates also opened in the city through a combination with local firm Volckrick & Associates, which added three lawyers to its global roster including partner Mathieu Volckrick.

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