Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is going head-to-head with the Paris elite as it launches an association with bankruptcy litigation boutique Lantourne.
As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (8 November), the US firm's Paris office has entered into a formal agreement with 16-lawyer Lantourne with a view to a merger in around a year's time, which is when the necessary regulatory hurdles will have been crossed.
Managing partner Eric Cafritz told The Lawyer: "We want to have a presence here that resonates in the same way as Bredin Prat or Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier, but has added lustre.
"It's fundamental to our strategy and I think it's also been key to the success of the French boutiques. A lot of institutional US and UK clients want to believe that you have local capability."
Lantourne was previously part of a larger firm, Lantourne Duret Simon & Associés, but Lantourne name partner Maurice Lantourne spun off his group in August this year.
At the same time, in a related move Fried Frank has hired Weil Gotshal & Manges restructuring star David Chijner to lead its French restructuring practice. Cafritz explained that Chijner and Maurice Lantourne will be working closely together as their practices complement one another.
In January this year Fried Frank brought in a team that included Veil Jourde La Garanderie's M&A head Patrick Jais and litigation partner Barbara Levy in a move that has, according to Cafritz, "more than doubled" the firm's French deal work.