DLA Piper bulks up in France with Paris corporate merger

DLA Piper is strengthening its presence in France with the confirmation that it is joining forces with Paris corporate boutique Frieh Bouhenic.

The merger, which will take effect on 1 October, will see DLA’s lawyer headcount in the French capital rise to more than 30 partners and 40 further lawyers with the addition of Frieh Bouhenic’s 11 partners and 15 associates.

The base will be jointly led by DLA’s Paris head of employment, pensions and benefits, Bijan Eghbal, and Frieh Bouhenic partner and co-founder Michel Frieh. The Frieh Bouhenic team will move in to DLA’s existing Paris premises.

Frieh Bouhenic, which is led by former Linklaters partner Frieh, was formed in January 2011 by the merger of Frieh & Associes and local firm Bouhenic Baudin & Associes.

The tie-up is part of an effort by DLA to reinforce its presence in key global markets. Areas Frieh Bouhenic specialises in include M&A, private equity, acquisition and corporate financings, litigation, employment, restructuring and insolvency.

Confirmation of the deal comes after DLA bolstered its Italy offering in May with the hire of a five-partner, 15-strong team from Studio Legale Grimaldi & Associati, adding three new partners in Rome and two in Milan. The firm also launched in Mexico City in February with the hire of a four-partner team from US law firm Thompson & Knight.

Eghbal commented: “We are very enthusiastic about this strategic added capacity in Paris which represents an outstanding opportunity for our corporate and restructuring practices.”

Senior partner Tony Angel added: “Frieh Bouhenic is an impressive firm with exceptional lawyers whose practice is very complementary to our current offering.”

DLA is currently conducting a firmwide review of office and partner profitability, in a move that is expected to see the transatlantic firm’s regional UK offices come under scrutiny, while outside of the UK, its offices in Germany and Eastern Europe are also thought to be under focus.