Deloitte France ends accounting-law link

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in France has finalised the split between its audit practice and its tax and legal division Deloitte & Touche Juridique et Fiscal.

The law firm, which comprises around 10 per cent of Deloitte’s business in France, has been rebranded as TAJ. The 30-partner firm has voted in Anne Vaucher as its president. She will be supported by a four-person elected board.

Day-to-day operational control of the firm will be in the hands of a five-person executive committee comprised of the firm’s five practice heads.

The relaunched TAJ will have 370 lawyers and offices in Paris and six regional cities, making it one of the largest law firms in France.

Big four accounting firm Deloitte decided to split with its French lawyers, including its tax advisers, last year, following the introduction of tough new French legislation prohibiting the cross-selling of audit and other services. Deloitte has cornered around 40 per cent of the French audit market.

TAJ will retain a strategic cooperation alliance with Deloitte’s tax advisers in other jurisdictions around the world, but a spokesperson said that the law firm was now totally independent from its former accounting parent.

The alliance has been cleared by the French regulator, but the US Securities and Exchange Commission is still considering whether it is compliant with the Sarbannes-Oxley Act.

The firm will have no formal ties to law firms in other jurisdictions, including other former members of Deloitte’s embryonic legal network. At one stage, Deloitte’s former Netherlands law firm AKD Prinsen Van Wijmen was planning to form a pan-European network of former Deloitte firms.