Ashursts reels as Paris star goes to Linklaters

Ashurst Morris Crisp’s Paris office is losing a top private equity partner to Linklaters & Alliance despite its recent affirmation to remain a pan-European private equity firm.

Fabrice de la Morandière, who specialises in M&A and private equity, will join Linklaters in August.

Ashursts’ Paris office will also lose M&A partner Philippe Sarrailhé, who is expected to join White & Case.

Sarrailhé focuses on corporate and financial transactions with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and IPOs.

A source claimed there was some disagreement over strategy in Ashursts’ Paris office with some partners reluctant to remain a niche firm in leveraged buy-outs and preferring to expand into other areas of corporate.

Linklaters’ joint managing partner in Paris, Thierry Vassogne, said Linklaters was expanding its private equity practice by taking on de la Morandière but it is offering him the chance to focus on public and private M&A.

Linklaters in Paris is weak in private equity and Vassogne says that de la Morandière is the right person to improve the quality and the quantity. De la Morandière has worked with Vassogne in the past when he was his assistant at French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel and Vassogne said there would be no problems with integration.

A third ex-Gide colleague is also joining Linklaters. Jean-Jacques Essombé is joining from French bank Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) where he headed its international and finance department. Essombé specialises in financial markets and fund work and is one of the top French lawyers in his area.

Vassogne said Linklaters needed to develop its regulatory practice which spans capital markets and the corporate department.

“We have more and more requests from investment banks for this kind of work and Essombé has one of the best reputations in the sector,” he said.

Essombé will join the practice in August.