Gide raids Morgan Lewis Paris for 19-strong team

Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Paris managing partner has led a 19-lawyer exodus from the firm’s office in the French capital to Gide Loyrette Nouel.

Anne Tolila, the office’s managing partner is one of nine partners to defect to Gide.

The shock move has left Morgan Lewis’ Paris outpost with just three partners, according to the firm’s website: litigator Alexandre Bailly and business and finance lawyers Olivier Chambord and Roland Montfort.

Tolila and competition specialist Jean Leygonie both joined Morgan Lewis to launch its French offering in 2004, joining from banking firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei & Leygonie.

Of the group to leave the firm, five partners and four associates will join Gide’s M&A practice, while the remaining four partners and their teams will join the funds, tax, employment and competition groups.

Their departure dates have not been confirmed.

A statement from senior partner Baudouin de Moucheron and managing partner Stephane Puel reads: “We are delighted to welcome these nineteen lawyers, whose quality, enthusiasm and importance on the market has been known to us for a long time now.

“We are particularly pleased that they have chosen Gide in order to carry out their projects, where they will find the resources to back up their talent, both in Paris and abroad.”

Meanwhile Montfort has replaced Tolila in the role of office managing partner at Morgan Lewis, while six remaining lawyers in the corporate, litgation and intellectual property practices have confirmed they are not leaving for Gide.

A spokeswoman for Morgan Lewis said: “The practices of the departing partners, although well respected in Paris, were not consistent with the needs of our clients and our firm’s global focus.

“We believe that this departure is in the best interests of all concerned, and we wish our former colleagues well in their new firm. We maintain our presence in Paris with partners and associates in the corporate, litigation and intellectual property practices.”

The partners joining Gide are:

Anne Tolila: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A

Ann Baker: admitted to the New York and Paris bars, specialises in fund structuring with experience in sovereign funds and pension funds

Pierre-Antoine Dubecq: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A

Olivier Edwards: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A and venture capital

Karen Noel: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in M&A and venture capital

Christian Nouel: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in tax law

David-James Sebag: admitted to the Paris and New York bars, specialises in M&A

Francois Vergne: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in employment law

Jean Leygonie: admitted to the Paris bar, specialises in competition law