Fresh off opening a second office in Germany earlier this year, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is readying for a Paris launch in January by poaching local Shearman & Sterling arbitration partner Philippe Pinsolle.
Reached on his cell phone in Paris late Monday, Pinsolle tells  The Am Law Daily that he’ll remain at Shearman until December 21 and will officially join Quinn Emanuel as the managing partner of its new office in the city on January 7.
“[Quinn Emanuel] has an attractive business model, and I’ve been watching from a distance as they built an elite arbitration practice,” says Pinsolle, noting that by working at a litigation-centric firm he’ll have to worry less about potential conflicts.
Pinsolle, a highly regarded international arbitrator fluent in three languages, joined Shearman in 1991 and made partner a decade later. Pinsolle says his decision to leave Shearman was a tough one, but he became convinced after Quinn Emanuel managing partner and name partner John Quinn personally recruited him to the firm.
“Paris is one of the global centers of international arbitration, and Philippe Pinsolle is one of the leaders of that bar,” said a statement by Quinn announcing Pinsolle’s hire. “To achieve our goal of having a world class international arbitration practice, we had to have an office in Paris and we had to have a civil law expert.”
Pinsolle says that arbitration is the preferred form of dispute resolution in Europe, given the frequent nature of cross-border disputes among litigants based in countries that are grouped closely together, as each side wants to fight on their home turf.
The austerity measures that have become closely associated with Europe’s ongoing economic crisis have manifested themselves in increased disputes over structural changes to long-term supply contracts in the oil and gas sector, says Pinsolle, noting that he currently has several such cases in this area.
Pinsolle declined to say how many lawyers Quinn Emanuel will have on the ground in Paris come January, but does note he will have to make a few hires to fill out his staff. Pinsolle says he’s reached a “gentleman’s agreement” with Shearman not to take on too many associates from his soon-to-be-former firm.
At Quinn Emanuel, Pinsolle says he looks forward to working closely with several other recent arbitration hires by the firm, such as former New York Law School professor Tai-Heng Cheng in New York and Allen & Overy’s former global arbitration head Stephen Jagusch in London. (Fellow Allen & Overy arbitration partner Anthony Sinclair joined Quinn Emanuel in September and Jagusch is expected to join him at the firm early next year, according to U.K. publication Legal Week.)
The Am Law Daily reported in May on Quinn Emanuel’s office opening in Hamburg following a raid on Allen & Overy’s operations in Germany’s second-largest city, as well as its hire of former Arnold & Porter partner David Orta to head its international arbitration practice from Washington, D.C., where the firm opened an office in September 2011.
Quinn Emanuel has already announced plans to open additional offices in Hong Kong, Munich, Singapore, and Zurich within the next five years. The firm saw gross revenues increase 31 percent in 2011 to $723.5 million, while profits per partner jumped 15 percent last year to $4.16 million, according to the most recent Am Law 100 financial data.
Those rosy financials have helped the firm stay active on the lateral front. In addition to its arbitration hires, Quinn Emanuel has added attorneys in recent months from several other leading Am Law 100 firms.
The firm also brought on former Latham & Watkins IP counsel Yury Kapgan in Los Angeles as a partner this summer, as well as three former pharmaceutical patent litigation partners in New York from Jones Day, according to sibling publication the New York Law Journal.
In May, Quinn Emanuel hired litigation partner John “Jay” Neukom in San Francisco from Susman Godfrey. Neukom is the son of William Neukom III, a former president of the American Bar Association, K&L Gates partner, and general counsel for Microsoft, who stepped down last year as managing general partner of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.
The Recorder, a sibling publication, reported in August that Quinn Emanuel did lose a little luster following its $1 billion loss for client Samsung in a high-profile patent case against Apple. As noted by legal blog Above the Law, Quinn Emanuel partner Patrick Shields left the firm after working for Samsung on the case, which some in Asia believed revealed U.S. bias against the Korean conglomerate, according to fellow sibling publication The Asian Lawyer.