Camerons merger sparks departures

International tax practice Bureau Francis Lefebvre is losing a partner in the first of several expected departures after its merger with City firm CMS Cameron McKenna.

Bertrand Dussert, who is a tax expert in French and international corporate finance, will join the Paris office of City firm Norton Rose within the next two months.

The merger between Francis Lefebvre and Camerons took effect on 1 March this year, but sources close to the firm claim that a number of Francis Lefebvre partners are unhappy with the match.

Francis Lefebvre is primarily a tax practice, whereas Camerons offers full-service corporate advice.

Sources say that a number of lawyers at Francis Lefebvre, including some well-known partners, believe that it provides a better service than Camerons because it is a niche firm that offers expertise in one area. A source claims that a number of partners are expected to leave the Paris office in the next few months.

Dussert will be the first partner in Norton Rose’s Paris office to be dedicated to tax.

“We want to offer full-service advice to our clients, and that means we need to be able to support the tax aspects internally,” says Norton Rose’s Paris managing partner Tim Howard.

He adds: “Our general ambitions in Paris are pretty strong, and we’ll need to grow all aspects of our practice there.”

The Paris office mirrors the firm’s London office, which offers full-service corporate advice. In January, the firm took on two partners from Coudert Brothers to set up a European Community and competition team in Paris.

Francis Lefebvre has over 240 lawyers in Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Buenos Aires, Düsseldorf, Madrid, Moscow and New York.