Fried Frank left partnerless in Paris as Cafritz moves to London

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is to be left with no permanent partner presence in Paris, as office founding partner Eric Cafritz moves to London.

Cafritz founded the French office for the US firm in 1993. Following DLA Piper’s hire of restructuring partner David Chijner in September (10 September 2013) he has been the only full-time partner in Paris, although Washington DC litigation head Elliott Polebaum also spends some time in France.

The move, which is understood to be taking effect within the next few weeks, will leave Fried Frank with only a handful of lawyers in Paris.

The Paris office expanded rapidly in the mid-2000s, with the hire of a team from Veil Jourde and Chijner from Weil Gotshal & Manges (8 November 2005), followed by a merger with restructuring boutique Lantourne (6 June 2006).

However Lantourne name partner Maurice Lantourne later quit Fried Frank for Willkie Farr & Gallagher (25 November 2008), taking five associates with him. Just months later another seven lawyers left for French independent De Pardieu Brocas Maffei (20 January 2009).

The Paris office was also understood to be the main stumbling block between a proposed merger between Ashurst (then Ashurst Morris Crisp) and Fried Frank in 2003 (12 May 2003).

Fried Frank declined to comment on Cafritz’s move.

Fried Frank’s other European office, in Frankfurt, still has one partner left – corporate specialist Juergen van Kamm. The firm launched a representative presence in Frankfurt in 2001 at the request of a client (10 December 2001), before opening a more permanent office in 2004.

Lateral hires included Allen & Overy capital markets partner Michael Schlitt (13 July 2007), who moved to Willkie Farr a year later (23 September 2008). Founding Frankfurt partner Sven Schulte-Hillen also left, joining Dechert in 2012 (19 March 2012).

The firm would not comment on its future plans for Frankfurt.