US firm Weil Gotshal & Manges is teaming up with a four-lawyer French practice in its second European move in as many months.
The firm is setting up an affiliation with Paris arbitration firm Derains & Associés just six weeks after launching a German office with two top partners.
The firm opened its Frankfurt office with Josef Tobien, head of the German Takeover Commission and Liza Kroeger, a partner specialising in infrastructure projects from Jones Day Reavis & Pogue (The Lawyer, 22 May).
The alliance in Paris will focus on international arbitration and dispute resolution, working closely with both New York and London.
Derains managing partner Yves Derains is considered one of the world leaders in international arbitration, and is a former secretary general of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce.
Weil Gotshal arbitration partner Eric Ordway, who is in charge of liaison between the two firms, says: “There does seem to be an increase in international arbitration all over the world, and particularly in Europe.
“As a result of that, and as a result of a need to service our international clients, this makes perfect sense.”
Ordway says there are no plans for the firm to recruit more lawyers or move into other practice areas in France, but he rules nothing out.
He says: “We anticipate tremendous room for growth in the international arena and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were to be others involved here.
“At the moment we are very comfortable with this group, there are four people in Paris and the group that we have in the US,which has at least a dozen people doing arbitration.”
He says that the Paris tie-up will only do international dispute resolution work to start with.
“Arbitration is our focus and that was the purpose of our affiliation. But we won’t say no to other kinds of business that comes our way.”
Weil Gotshal currently services corporate and regulatory work for French clients from the US.
Weil Gotshal is one of the biggest firms in the US, with 800 lawyers and 220 partners worldwide. The firm has further European offices in Brussels, Budapest andPrague.