Winston & Strawn adds 11-strong transactional team in Paris from local boutique

Group including four partners joins from Hoche Avocats to bolster M&A, labour and finance offering

Winston & Strawn has added an 11-strong transactional team in Paris from local boutique Hoche Avocats.

The multi-disciplinary group is led by private equity and M&A specialist Grine Lahreche and includes three more partners – Sophie Dechaumet (labour), Edith Boucaya (M&A/private equity) and Ariane Berthoud (finance) – alongside counsel Jérôme Mas and Christophe Marie and five associates. 

“The arrival of this transactional team shows our firm’s ambition to grow,” said Jérôme Herbet, managing partner of Winston & Strawn Paris. “It is also a strong signal given by the firm about its interest in the French market and, generally, the European market (including the United Kingdom) when other firms on the other side of the Atlantic decided to close their Paris representation.”

Lahreche has joined Winston & Strawn after five years at Hoche, prior to which he was a partner at French firm LL Berg. He advises investment funds and large groups in connection with their LBO transactions, capital restructuring transactions and disposals-acquisitions. 

Meantime, Dechaumet handles the labour law aspects of M&A and private equity transactions and restructuring transactions and also works on complex litigation matters and negotiated departures.

Boucaya advises on acquisitions or disposals of interests or assets, in implementing strategic partnerships and restructuring projects, both in France and abroad, while Berthoud specialises in finance and works on the financing of acquisitions, LBOs, syndicated loans and project financing. She also assists clients in connection with debt restructuring.

Winston’s Paris finance lead Mounir Letayf initiated the team’s hire, commenting: “Our goal is to establish a basis for the firm’s long-term growth and to give ourselves the means to gain greater market shares. To this end, we must reach a critical size.”

The new arrivals bring Winston’s lawyer headcount in Paris to 35, including 14 partners. The firm’s Paris team focuses on areas including cross-border M&A, banking and finance, litigation and arbitration, while its healthcare practice is one of the largest in the market and works with clients including Bridgepoint and Ipsos. 

Gilles Bigot, who was the Paris office’s longtime managing partner and who leads the health law practice with Julie Vern, said the groups’ skills “complement those already present at the firm and create synergies in key business sectors for Winston & Strawn, such as health and new technologies, both in France and abroad.”

Other US firms to bolster their Paris benches recently include Weil Gotshal & Manges, which added leveraged finance partners Géraldine Lezmi and Jean-Christophe David in February from Allen & Overy. 

And in December McDermott Will & Emery added a private equity team from Dentons led by partner Guillaume Panuel. 

Two US firms have moved out of the city, however, in recent months. Boston-based Brown Rudnick announced last autumn that it had quit Paris, leaving London as its only international location. Around the same time it emerged that Davis Polk & Wardwell would shutter its five-lawyer office there by the end of 2022, having first set up shop in the city in the early 1960’s.

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