… but adds a partner in Paris

In a separate move, Herbert Smith has strengthened its Paris operation by taking on international litigation and arbitration specialist Charles Kaplan as its sixth partner.

Kaplan, formerly with general commercial and corporate practice Coudert Freres for 12 years, is a member of the Paris Bar.

But although he is a shipping expert, his move is unconnected with Birch Reynardson's decision (see story above).

Alistair Morely, Herbert Smith's head of litigation and arbitration in Paris, said he was “delighted that Charles chose Herbert Smith”.

“He fits all our requirements,” he said.

“He brings his shipping and insurance expertise and increases our litigation capability, in line with our London reputation.”

Morely added that Herbert Smith's Paris office had started the year strongly, and planned to expand further in 1997.

Jonathan Wohl, a banking partner with Coudert Freres, said that the firm was sorry to lose Kaplan.

“I can understand his reasons for wanting to go somewhere he could concentrate more on litigation” he said, adding that replacing Kaplan was not a priority at Couderts.