Private equity boutique launches in Paris with 25-lawyer team

Mermoz's eight founding partners include alumni from Hogan Lovells, Jones Day and Paul Hastings

By mapman; Shutterstock

A group of senior French lawyers with experience working at international firms have established their own private equity-focused law firm in Paris in a bid to target France’s ongoing mid-market private equity and M&A deal making boom. 

The firm, Mermoz Avocats, will cover private equity and M&A as well as the labour, restructuring, finance, competition and tax sectors, according to their website. 

Mermoz’s 25-lawyer founding team includes eight partners, five of whom hail from French independent private equity specialist Villechenon: Tristan Segonds, Gilles Roux and Arnaud Levasseur, cover private equity and M&A, while Catherine Nahmias-Ferrandini and Martin Kyuchokov specialise in labour and finance respectively. 

All five of the Villechenon alumni have Big Law experience — Segonds, Levasseur and Nahmias-Ferrandini spent time at Hogan Lovells while Roux spent eight years at Paul Hastings —  including four as a partner —  between 2004 and 2012, according to their Linkedin profiles. Kyuchokov, meanwhile, worked at Jones Day between 2008 and 2010 before jumping to French independent business law firm NMW and later joining Villenchon. 

Also among the founding group is tax expert and fellow former Big Law lawyer Laurent Ragot, who joins from Hogan Lovells. Rounding out the founding partner lineup are veteran independent practitioner Olivier Péchenard and complex commercial contracts and personal data specialist Régis Mahieu, who joins from French firm Aperwin. 

The eight partners will be joined by 16 associates and four support professionals, the firm announced on Linkedin. 

With a wealth of experience operating in the French private equity and M&A sector, the firm aims to take advantage of an ongoing investment boom in part driven by an inviting combination of low interest rates and investment-friendly labour policies. 

According to Refinitiv, total announced M&A deal value in France in 2021 was up by 40% from the previous year to $162.8bn, with deal volume increasing by 60% to 2,200.

Roux told International that the firm expects the dealmaking streak to continue in the run-up to the presidential elections in May as investors look to “take advantage of the situation they know”. 

Earlier this week, two Dentons practice heads, Barton Legum and Jean-Christophe Honlet departed the firm to set up their own international arbitration-focused boutique, Honlet Legum Arbitration, in the French capital. 

A number of other boutiques have cropped up in Paris over the past few years, including ADF, which was set up by former Linklaters partner Pierre Duprey last January, and Medici Law Firm, an all-female, four-partner firm which was launched in September 2020.


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