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Ashurst has been dealt a blow after losing highly-rated Parisian corporate rainmaker Thomas Forschbach to Latham & Watkins.
It is understood that Forschbach’s departure was announced internally earlier this week, though it is not known if an exit date has been set. Corporate and private equity specialist Forschbach is one of Ashurst’s biggest billers and carries huge political clout within the firm.
It is believed that he was unhappy about Ashurst merging with US Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, though talks eventually collapsed between the two in May 2003.
Forschbach’s move to Latham & Watkins is a massive boost for the US firm which had also previously been in merger talks with Ashurst in 2000. However these talks foundered after the US firm’s London office rallied against the link-up.
Just a few weeks ago Latham recruited its second Linklaters lateral, banking partner Basil Zotiades, in over a year. In April 2003, Latham took on capital markets expert Roberto Cristofolini.
A spokesperson for Ashurst said: "We are sorry that Thomas Forschbach has decided to leave Ashurst to join Latham & Watkins as he has contributed greatly to the success of our Paris office."
"However, looking forward, our younger partners in Paris now have a real opportunity to shine as we look to broaden the focus of the Paris corporate practice. One of our strengths is the depth of our expertise across Europe and this won't be greatly affected by Thomas' departure."
Forschbach and Latham’s Paris were unavailable for comment.