CMS takes 12-strong Herbert Smith Freehills real estate team in major boost for Paris base

CMS has boosted its Paris real estate offering with the hire of a 12-lawyer team from Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) base in the French capital.

HSF Paris real estate head Pierre Popesco and real estate partner Florence Cherel are joining CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre, the French arm of CMS, along with two of counsel and eight other lawyers.

Popesco, who is highly rated in the French real estate market, joined HSF in 2005. He will be replaced as Paris real estate head at HSF by partner David Lacaze, who joined last year from Paul Hastings and is now the firm’s sole real estate partner in Paris.

Cherel specialises in the public law and townplanning aspects of the construction and financing of renewable energy projects. Of counsel Benjamin Bill is joining CMS as a partner, while Jean-Marc Peyron joins as counsel.

The team will officially start work at CMS on 1 January.

Pierre-Sebastien Thill, the chairman of CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre’s management board, said: “We are very pleased today with the arrival of this first-class team within our real estate department, giving us unrivalled resources in all aspects of real estate law, both on a national and international level.”

An HSF spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Pierre Popesco and Florence Cherel have retired from the partnership. We thank them for their contribution to the firm and wish them well for the future. Last year, we recruited David Lacaze to drive forward the growth of our Paris real estate practice. He and his team are delivering on this strategy, further strengthening our client relationships.”

Earlier this year, HSF also bolstered its Paris base with the hire of Hogan Lovells litigation partner Antoine Juaristi, along with a five-lawyer team comprising two counsel and three associates. Juaristi was Paris head of litigation at Hogan Lovells, where he focused on banking and finance litigation, particularly in regulatory finance disputes.

CMS, meanwhile, is currently bedding down its three-way merger with Nabarro and Olswang, which went live on 1 May. Ahead of the tie-up, Olswang closed its Paris base, with a group leaving to launch an office in the French capital for US firm Ogletree Deakins.

CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre, which joined the CMS network in 2001, has more than 400 lawyers in France across offices in Paris, Strasbourg and Lyon, where it operates as CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre Lyon.