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Disgruntled former Gide Loyrette Nouel partners are planning legal action because the French firm is refusing to pay back their share capital.
The news will be a setback for the beleaguered French firm, which is reported to be looking for a tie-in with a US or UK practice to turn its fortunes around. A senior partner at a rival firm says: "It has spoken to around five English firms. It is talking to everyone."
Sums of up to u100,000 in share capital have not yet been returned to partners who have left since September.
Gide has until the end of June to return the cash, according to one former Gide partner owed his equity share.
"I had many happy years with Gide so I would prefer not to take legal action," he says. "But we will have to wait and see whether they decide to return the money."