SJ Berwin poaches French team

The UK law firm has hired a team of four lawyers from Clifford Chance to its Paris office to boost its private equity operations in France.

European corporate law firm SJ Berwin has expanded its French private equity and M&A team with the appointment of four new professionals at its Paris office. The four, including two new partners, have moved across from rival Clifford Chance.

Christophe Digoy and Maxence Bloch joined the firm as partners earlier this month while two associates, Jérôme Jouhanneaud and David Diamant, have also come on board.

Digoy specialises in leveraged buyouts, venture capital, private equity fund and public to private transactions. He has been with Clifford Chance since 1998 following several years at Suez, the Paris-based global services group, as in-house counsel. Bloch, who joined Clifford Chance in 1996, also specialises in merger and acquisition activities, with expertise in LBOs and takeovers in public companies.

The appointments strengthen the firm's position in the French private equity sector, which is currently one of the most active in Europe. David Harrel, senior partner at SJ Berwin, said: “The [appointments] will open up considerable opportunities for us in our core areas of private equity and corporate transactions. I am delighted that they are joining us.”

SJ Berwin's Paris office opened in March 2001, doing private equity legal and taxation work. The office also has mergers and acquisitions and corporate law capabilities.

The new recruits are joining a team of 25 lawyers. The Paris office is headed by
George Pinkham. Other Paris-based partners are Sylvie Vansteenkiste, Jean Goncalves, Pierre-Louis Périn, Laurence Pinot-Lacan, Nathalie Duguay and Benjamin Aller.