A&O breaks Gide ties to reach De Pardieu

Allen & Overy has cleared one obstacle blocking a merger with Paris firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei & Associes by formally breaking off its seven-year association with Gide Loyrette Nouel.

A&O is eager to catch up with its City rivals in Paris and was expecting to tie up the merger between its 10-partner Paris office and nine-partner banking firm De Pardieu two months ago.

However, a source at A&O insisted his firm's relationships with Gide and De Pardieu were entirely separate and refused to say when a merger might be completed.

He said: “We are in talks with individuals, groups of partners and De Pardieu. There is no sense of urgency to push forward the negotiations.”

Relations between A&O and Gide were soured earlier this year when A&O insisted that it be allowed to recruit French-qualified banking lawyers. Sources said A&O was also increasingly frustrated by Gide's “outdated management structure”.

Bill Tudor John, A&O's senior partner, said the relationship had come to an end because of his firm's wish to build its own French law capability, but he said the firms remained “friends” and would continue to refer work when it was appropriate.

A&O's relationship with Dutch-Belgian firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke remains unaffected for the time being.