Five-partner Ashurst private equity team set for Freshfields move

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A five-partner private equity team is set to leave Ashurst’s Paris office to join Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the French capital, subject to a partner vote.

The Freshfields partnership will vote on the hires of Ashurst private equity partners Guy Benda, Nicolas Barberis, Stephanie Corbiere, Yann Gozal and Laurent Mabilat within the next week.

An Ashurst spokesperson said: “These partners have played a critical role in the longstanding success of the office and we have no doubt they will continue to deliver impressive results in the Paris market.

“We will continue to have a very strong and well diversified business in Paris. This will include 12 partners covering restructuring, finance, real estate, corporate, private equity, disputes, projects, regulatory and competition.”

It has also emerged that Ashurst Paris tax head Nadine Gelli has already left the firm, after resigning at the end of last year. It is understood that she is joining a local firm in Paris.

The departures will leave Ashurst with around 65 lawyers in Paris, including 13 partners, according to the firm’s website.

A large number of partners have left Ashurst’s network of international offices in the past year.

Departures in recent months have included a number of office heads. In September, it emerged that Brussels managing partner Carl Meyntjens, Singapore managing partner Shaun Lascelles and Abu Dhabi managing partner Alastair Holland were all leaving the firm.

However, the firm managed to persuade two high profile partners who had handed in their notice to stay – finance partner Nigel Ward, who had been due to join Paul Hastings, and financial regulation partner James Perry, who was on the verge of joining Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

Freshfields declined to comment.