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Cameron McKenna has added French and other foreign clients to its international network and a string of eastern European offices by poaching a top French team from major Paris firm Jeantet et Associes.
Francis Louvard's practice will form the French wing of Camerons' new European alliance, revealed last week in The Lawyer. He is bringing senior lawyers Diane Senechal and Liubomir Rogleff from Jeantet and all three will operate out of London.
Sources say that a Paris office is likely to follow.
He is also joining the firm as a consultant to its growing international network. His new senior partner Bill Shelford says: "Francis adds a new dimension to Cameron McKenna's international practice. His reputation and experience in central and eastern Europe will boost our already strong presence in the region and provides a significant French law capability."
As a construction and private finance lawyer Louvard advises French and other foreign investors in central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Camerons will gain offices in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the CIS, which he established independently of Jeantet.
His eight-lawyer practice in Warsaw will be joining Camerons' office in Poland.
Louvard's departure from Jeantet will add to concern in the French capital that home-grown firms are losing the fight against Anglo-Saxon invaders.
"I was looking to join a firm with a network in central Europe and plans for further development there," Louvard says, "The nature of business has changed in that market, which is approaching maturity, and it is essential to have the backing of larger teams to answer the needs of clients there." A spokesman for Camerons says negotiations with Spanish and Italian firms are ongoing, but any agreements reached may not be in time for the announcement of its expanded European network, expected some time next month.