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WASHINGTON DC firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn is believed to be in crisis talks with its French associate Sokolow, Dunaud, Mercadier & Carreras only months after forming links with the Paris partnership.
Arent Fox was last week expected to announce a decision to sever ties with the nine-month-old firm formed by breakaway lawyers from the Paris office of Coudert Brothers.
The US-based firm originally confirmed a statement on the split had been prepared for release, but later denied all knowledge of it.
Marketing staff at the practice's headquarters said New York-based lawyer Jean-Francois Carreras, a partner in both practices, was leaving Arent Fox, but inquirers were subsequently told no information was available.
Meanwhile Sokolows litigation partner Patrick Dunaud laughed off the claims that the firms were splitting, and colleague Neil Robertson referred the matter to the most senior of the former Couderts lawyers - Nicolas Sokolow.
However Sokolow was unable to be contacted.
Born last October out of a bitter split among partners at Couderts Paris, the new firm was established with the aim of providing wider coverage of the domestic marketplace in France.
Links with Arent Fox were built to accommodate Carreras, who joined the Couderts defectors but expressed a desire to remain in New York.
But rival lawyers in France now claim the association has ended and are speculating over Carreras' future plans.
One Paris practitioner who travelled to New York last week says that he has already seen documentation on the matter.
He says it is thought Arent Fox has decided to terminate the agreement because it does not want to maintain a financial commitment to a French practice.
"What I have heard is that the co-operation agreement that they had with Arent Fox last year has been terminated," says the lawyer.
"When Carreras left Coudert Brothers in New York he went to the Arent Fox office in the city.
"Last week I heard that Carreras had actually left Arent Fox."