Orrick chief backs Paris office to bounce back after defections

US firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe‘s Paris managing partner is focusing on growing the office after a recent spate of high-level departures.

Stuart McAlpine told The Lawyer: “We’ve more than doubled our size since we were the Paris office of Watson Farley & Williams in 2002. We’ve added 17 or 18 lawyers this year and we’re bringing in high-level recruits.”

In addition, McAlpine’s team is moving to a new office near L’Étoile with capacity for 135 lawyers, with a target of growing to the 100-lawyer mark by the end of the year.

The most recent departure from Orrick’s Paris office was arbitration counsel Virginie Colaiuta, who went to US rival Hughes Hubbard & Reed.

She was the fourth senior Orrick lawyer to leave the Paris office in three months, with tax partner Stéphane Salou quitting for Norton Rose (The Lawyer, 14 May). Ashurst, Brandford-Griffith & Associés and Bredin Prat have also benefited from Orrick’s Parisian departures in the past three months.

Orrick struck back by hiring Shearman & Sterling tax partner Isabelle Chauvet in June. Orrick’s Paris office still has 26 partners, many of whom are legacy partners from the 2006 merger with Rambaud Martel.