Fried Frank finalises French merger

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson has finalised a merger between the firm’s Paris office and niche bankruptcy litigation firm Lantourne.

The two firms began an exclusive association in November with the hope of formally merging 12 months on, but according to Paris managing partner Eric Cafritz the association has been profitable enough to push through an earlier merger.

The merger sees name partner Maurice Lantourne join Fried Frank as a partner. He brings with him a team of eight associates.

Cafritz told The Lawyer: “The news already happened six months ago when we started our relationship, but the association has been so successful.”

He added that Lantourne’s bankruptcy and litigation expertise complements Fried Frank’s international restructuring practice.

The move furthers Cafritz’s aim to create a French presence capable of challenging the powerful French independents such as Bredin Prat or Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier.

The start of the association coincided with the hire of Weil Gotshal & Manges restructuring star David Chijner to lead the French practice. Cafritz said that the firm has won a role on all the major French restructurings since Chijner’s appointment.

Lantourne spun off his insolvency group in August 2005 from larger independent Lantourne Duret Simon & Associés, now known as Simon Associés.

His bankruptcy, insolvency and white-collar crime practice includes acting for French businessman and politician Bernard Tapie against Crédit Lyonnais, and leading the public commission for the recent reform of French bankruptcy law.