DWS snares French ally for insolvency push

Denton Wilde Sapte has launched an association with French independent Poulain & Associés to strengthen its French insolvency expertise.

The two firms began working together on 1 July, pooling their knowledge in restructuring and private equity work. The association is to be run by Poulain partner Philippe Matignon and Dentons partner Constantin Achillas.

The new association comes just three months after Linklaters hired two restructuring partners, Aymar de Mauléon de Bruyères and Cécile Dupoux, from Poulain. The raid left the independent firm with just three partners and 11 lawyers.

Dentons’ chief executive Howard Morris said the alliance is a precursor to an expected rush of restructurings and insolvencies in the French market. Morris said it would allow Dentons to offer a more comprehensive restructuring practice, while giving Poulain more access to international work.

Until now Dentons has focused primarily on corporate and M&A work in Paris, although it has also partners working in tax, employment and IP/IT. Achillas is the only partner to practise insolvency law in France.

Poulain was the product of a merger between insolvency boutiques Sonier & Associés and Poulain & Associés in January 2005, creating a sizeable restructuring practice.

The firm also has a small private equity practice which should also benefit from the new alliance. The association will give Poulain’s clients access to Dentons’ other practice areas in France.

Morris added that the alliance should give new growth opportunities within Paris and around the firm’s international network. However it appears unlikely to lead to a merger.