Stephenson Harwood Paris partner quits for Simmons

Stephenson Harwood's post-merger international strategy has suffered yet another blow with the departure of one of the two partners staffing its fledgling Paris office

Following last month's loss of its profitable Madrid office to DLA, asset finance lawyer Jeremy Arscott will today (4 November) join Simmons & Simmons.

The Paris office was established in 2001, when Arscott joined from Norton Rose and remaining partner Richard Pearson joined from his own practice Carlton Pearson. Just a few months ago, Stephenson Harwood held up the Paris asset finance practice as a major contributor to a 44 per cent increase in European revenue to £3m for 2001-02.

It is understood that Arscott, who specialises in aircraft finance, began looking at other firms in the spring, when it was clear that the market was slowing down. Simmons offers a more established reputation for aviation finance in Paris. Arscott said he was attracted by the opportunity to work with Paris asset finance partner Matthieu de Varax and dual-qualified structured finance partner Colin Millar at Simmons.

His move gives Simmons its first English-qualified full-time asset finance partner in Paris.

Arscott said: “Simmons has an excellent position in Paris in the aircraft market on the back of the work done by Matthieu. The thinking was that, because Matthieu and I know a lot of the same people in the banks, we'll hopefully find great synergies in cross-selling our expertise.”

De Varax said: “Over the last two years or so we realised we were missing out on some big-ticket asset finance deals in the Paris market [because we lacked an English-qualified partner].”

The hire follows the appointment last month of Trowers & Hamlins' banking partner Roger Clarke in Simmons' Abu Dhabi office.

Stephenson Harwood head of banking and asset finance Mark Russell said: “We will still have aviation capability in Paris and our banking and asset finance practice is integrated across London, Paris and Singapore.”