Freshfields thinks big with new Paris office

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s four Paris offices are moving into single-site premises and in the process are doubling their office space to pave the way for huge expansion.
Freshfields’ French managing partner Jean Luc Michaud told The Lawyer that the firm is taking 15,000 square metres in the Cézanne Building in the Saint Honoré district of Paris.
The firm currently squeezes its 500 staff into four offices spread over 8,500 square metres. Michaud believes that the firm will immediately use 11,000 square metres when it makes the move, scheduled for May 2004, leaving another 4,000 for expansion.
The firm has negotiated a flexible lease on the space – estimated to have cost E10m (£7m) before fit-out costs – which will allow it to grow even further. Michaud said: “We’ve ensured that whatever the circumstances, we can grow or reduce.”
The plan is for growth. Turnover increased by 11.9 per cent last year to E100m (£70m) despite a tough year for the corporate group. Michaud said that the litigation, arbitration, employment and competition practices had done particularly well.
“Our activities in Paris are quite balanced. The other activities are not dependent on corporate,” said Michaud. “It’s a very heavy investment in financial terms, so we have to be careful.”