Weil Expands Finance Practice In Paris With Olivier Jauffret And James Clarke

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 12:04

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has announced that top-ranked finance lawyers Olivier Jauffret and James Clarke have agreed to join its Paris office to further strengthen one of the best-leveraged finance practices serving the French marketplace. The addition of these two outstanding lawyers complements Weil’s internationally recognized European Banking & Finance and Business Finance & Restructuring practices.

“With these additions our Paris finance team is further strengthened and our Pan-European capabilities including our cross-border skills in Europe are virtually transformed,” said Barry M. Wolf, Weil’s executive partner. “We will continue to focus on building our high-quality team to serve our clients with the best talent.”

Weil’s Paris finance team will comprise Mr. Jauffret, Mr. Clarke and David Malamed. This three-partner-strong group will serve borrowers and creditors across the full spectrum of banking products, including buyout and other acquisition financing, investment grade financing and restructuring transactions, and will offer sophisticated banking capability through an integrated, locally based, French and English banking law practice.

The announcement comes at a time when Weil is leading the league tables for global private equity deals. As an example, Weil’s Paris office advised on the acquisition of Fives by Axa Private Equity and its management team, the largest buyout this year in the French market.

Weil’s Paris partner David Aknin said, “We are extremely pleased that candidates of the caliber of Olivier Jauffret and James Clarke have been attracted to Weil. We have known both of them for a long time and have been impressed with their many accomplishments. In addition to outstanding legal skills, they both possess the sophistication and determination we need to continue to serve our clients on the most complex and innovative deals. We are also pleased to have them working in the Paris marketplace alongside our leading private equity, restructuring and M&A practices.”

Mr. Jauffret will join the firm from the Paris office of Linklaters, and Mr. Clarke joins from the London office of Freshfields.

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Weil and attorneys from its New York office have been honored by The Legal Aid Society for pro bono service performed during 2012. More than 35 attorneys are among the recipients of The Legal Aid Society’s 2012 Pro Bono Publico Awards for “delivering life-changing legal assistance to our City’s most vulnerable residents.” In addition, Weil is receiving a special award for innovative pro bono service – the “Innovative Pro Bono Initiative Award” for outstanding service to The Legal Aid Society and its clients, which is awarded a law firm that establishes a pro bono project or specialty that uniquely meets the critical legal needs of low-income New Yorkers. The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the State of New York, will present the awards at a reception on November 19, 2011, in New York City.

The following attorneys will receive The Legal Aid Society’s 2012 Pro Bono Publico Awards: Melody E. Akhavan, Nelly Almeida, Ijeoma Anusionwu, Candace Arthur, Adam B. Banks, Ronit J. Berkovich, Jon-Paul A. Bernard, Zahava J. Blumenthal, Jordan Bryk, Blaire Cahn, Konrad L. Cailteux, Bruce A. Colbath, Debra A. Dandeneau, Paul A. Ferrillo, George C. Gardner, Marcia L. Goldstein, Stacey A. Harkey, Kira F. Idoko, Isabella C. Lacayo, Robert Levine, Kami M. Lizarraga, Carl D. Lobell, Gabriel A. Morgan, Jesse L. Morris, Kyle J. Ortiz, Arielle R. Pankowski, Alfredo R. Perez, Emily L. Pincow, Joshua L. Ray, R. Bruce Rich, Gregory Silbert, Lisa Sokolowski, Meaghan Thomas-Kennedy, Conray C. Tseng, Joseph T. Verdesca, Elizabeth S. Weiswasser, Brian M. Wells, Valerie Wicks, and Abigail L. Zigman. Paralegals Elizabeth McConville and Ines Spinnato also received the award.

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Weil is advising Leucadia National Corporation, a U.S. holding company, in the merger of Leucadia and Jefferies Group, Inc., a U.S. financial services company. The deal has a total equity value of roughly $2.6 billion, or $3.7 billion when Leucadia's existing 28.6 percent ownership stake is included. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.
 
This representation builds on the longstanding relationship that Weil has had with Leucadia, which began in 1977. Selected recent representations include advising Leucadia in its acquisition of a controlling interest in National Beef Products; its investment in Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group; its joint ventures with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. for the acquisition of the U.S. mortgage organization and servicing business of Capmark Financial Group Inc. and control of The Finova Group out of a chapter 11 restructuring; and in a variety of other acquisitions, investments and divestitures of assets.
 
The Weil team advising Leucadia in connection with the merger includes M&A partners Andrea A. Bernstein and Matthew J. Gilroy (both of New York); Tax partners Mark Hoenig and Chayim D. Neubort (both of New York); M&A associates Allison M. Donovan and Jamie W. Lurie (both of New York); and Tax associate Mark E. Dundon (Dallas).