A&O adds employment partner to Paris office

Allen & Overy is hiring a former partner at French firm Pouget Delsaud Garnier Bachasson (PDGB) to set up an employment law practice in Paris.

Sabine Smith-Vidal is the fourth partner to join the firm’s Paris corporate department in the last 18 months. In just two years the team has doubled in size and now has 18 lawyers.

Smith-Vidal will help cope with an increasing demand from clients for advice on recent changes to EU employment legislation. She specialises in employment and labour law, particularly EU social security and trade union law, and has advised both corporate and institutional clients.

To build her practice at A&O, she intends to liaise closely with specialists from the firm’s other European offices.

She says: “If we do not know how the employment law in each of these countries works, and we are not able to offer our clients some products on a Europe-wide basis, in a couple of years we would not be here.

“A&O is one of the major British and European law firms today with a good and growing reputation in Paris. I decided to join the firm because I thought it would be an exciting challenge to be responsible for creating a practice which is not yet represented in this office.”

Head of A&O’s French corporate practice Edouard Didier says: “Sabine’s employment law expertise will increase our ability to provide clients with a full corporate legal service. It also ties in with the growth of A&O’s cross-border corporate capability in Europe.”

PDGB is an 11-partner firm specialising in tax and commercial law, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of its business, with a small international practice.

Opened in 1989, A&O’s Paris branch has become one of the firm’s key offices in Europe.

In recent weeks, Allen & Overy has promoted Stefan Martin to partner and has appointed Karen Seward in its London office and Dr Anja Breitfeld in Frankfurt, bringing the total number of partners in A&O’s European employment, pensions and incentives practice to more than 20.

The firm’s international employment, pensions and incentives practice now has 75 lawyers worldwide.