Paul Bird is Head of the firm’s European Corporate Practice and a senior M&A partner. His practice focuses on advising private equity firms, public companies, boards of directors and special committees in connection with mergers & acquisitions and other significant corporate matters, including cross-border transactions, leveraged buyouts, spin-offs and takeover defense. He also regularly counsels corporations and their directors on corporate governance and fiduciary duty matters. A former member of the firm’s Management Committee, Mr. Bird was Co-Chair of the firm’s Corporate Department from 2010 to 2016 and Co-Head of the firms’ Mergers & Acquisitions Practice from 2001 to 2010.
Mr. Bird is ranked as a leading M&A and private equity buyouts lawyer by Chambers Global (2014–2023), where he is lauded as “unflappable, always extremely cool in a tense situation and always has the right touch with high-level players.” The guide has also deemed him a “brilliant negotiator” and he is praised by clients for his “great judgement” and “even-handed approach and demeanour, which serve him and his clients very well.” In Chambers USA (2014–2022), clients say “he not only has an extremely deep and broad legal knowledge and experience, but he also has extremely impressive business sense and composure.” He has also been described as a “standout,” “exceptional” and received praise for “his ability to be not just a good lawyer, but to appreciate all the nuances associated with getting a deal done in a competitive context.” He is also recognized as a leading M&A lawyer by IFLR1000 (2022) and The Legal 500 US (2022), where sources have described him as “amazing,” “key in the negotiations of very complex deals” and “very experienced and commercial.” Mr. Bird was named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer (2008) for his representation of Bain Capital, Carlyle and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in their $8.5 billion acquisition of HD Supply from The Home Depot.
Mr. Bird is a frequent author and speaker on legal developments affecting mergers & acquisitions and a former member of the Committee on Mergers, Acquisitions & Corporate Control Contests of the New York City Bar Association. He is a co-author of Takeovers: A Strategic Guide to Mergers & Acquisitions (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2020) and the Editor-in-Chief of and a regular contributor to the Debevoise & Plimpton Private Equity Report.
Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Bird served as law clerk to the Hon. Robert W. Sweet, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1983 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1987, where he was senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.
From 1990 to 1993, Mr. Bird was resident in the firm’s Paris office, where he became a member of the Paris bar and worked extensively on international mergers & acquisitions and other cross-border transactions, which continue to represent a significant portion of his practice.
Mr. Bird is Treasurer and a member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Human Resources and Compensation Committee at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. He is also Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Star of Hope Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees and member of the Finance and Nominating Committees of YMCA Camp Belknap. He formerly served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the French-American Foundation and on the Board of Directors of The Legal Aid Society of New York City.