Reed Smith tax team quits for DLA Piper a year after joining from KWM

DLA Piper has hired a three-partner tax team from Reed Smith, just 12 months after they joined from the collapsed European arm of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

Paris tax partners Sylvie Vansteenkiste, Fanny Combourieu and Raphael Bera have all left Reed Smith to join DLA. The trio were part of a 50-strong team, including 17 partners, hired by Reed Smith across offices in London, Paris and Germany following the administration of KWM’s European arm.

Vansteenkiste had joined Reed Smith as head of its Paris tax team and previously co-led the European and Middle East tax practice at KWM prior to its collapse. Her practice covers tax audits and litigation, with a particular focus on complex tax structuring of investment funds.

Combourieu acts on private equity transactions, acquisitions and disposals and restructurings, with a particular focus on personal tax for high-net worth individuals. Prior to joining KWM she was a lawyer with Freshfields in Paris, before joining legacy SJ Berwin as a partner.

Bera worked at US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in both Paris and New York before joining legacy SJ Berwin. His practice covers tax litigation and audits, with a focus on investment fund structuring.

The trio joined Reed Smith in Paris alongside competition partners Marc Levy and Natasha Tardif, corporate and private equity partners Guilain Hippolyte and Pierre-Louis Perin, tax counsel Gwenael Kropfinger, 10 associates, one jurist, four trainees and four secretaries during the original spate of hiring.

Commenting on the departures, Reed Smith Europe and Middle East managing partner Tamara Box said: “It’s always disappointing to see good people leave the business and we certainly wish our former partners well. 2017 was one of our busiest years yet for the Paris office as we continued to diversify our offering to our clients in France and globally.”

DLA Piper co-country managing partner Xavier Norlain said: “The addition of this highly experienced team of lawyers is a major boost for our Paris office and the global tax practice. They all have exceptional credentials and their skills and knowhow ideally complement our strengths.”

The firm’s global co-chair of tax Roderik Bouwman added: “”These strategic hires are a testament to our commitment to significantly grow our global Tax practice. We continue to see a very high demand for advice in this area and the new team has an outstanding reputation as tax specialists. Their combined expertise complements that of our existing team and enhances our integrated tax offering for our clients.”