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French boutique Kalliopé does not have a managing partner.
Instead this four-partner firm is run by its partners as a team, each focusing on their own practice area. Kalliopé was founded in 2007 by a group of associates from French and Anglo-Saxon firms.
The quartet came from a variety of backgrounds, but all qualified in 2001 or 2002 and all were looking for something new.
The founding team comprised real estate specialist Lorenzo Balzano, previously an associate at Lefèvre Pelletier & Associés; Nicolas Contis, a litigator from French firm Racine; Linklaters associate Jocelyn Duval, who focuses on public and energy law; and corporate lawyer Edouard Clément, whose CV includes Clifford Chance and Simmons & Simmons.
Clément left Kalliopé last year to set up another boutique and was replaced by Tanguy d’Everlange, who came from Shearman & Sterling.
“Our aim was to create a different kind of law firm,” says Duval. “We wanted to choose our clients.”
D’Everlange agrees. “Lawyers have two legs - the technical and the commercial,” he argues. “After 10 years with Shearman I had only one leg.”
That ’leg’ was the technical side, ti would seem. D’Everlange says that Kalliopé’s four partners and five associates are able to be more commercial. Each partner has an area of expertise and clients tend to instruct the firm on that basis. For example, France Telecom instructs Kalliopé on real estate and town planning issues.
Duval accepts that the firm is unable to handle larger matters due to its small size and relative youth, but is happy picking up big clients on specific issues.
The firm has so far remained small, with a turnover of just over e1m. D’Everlange says it is possible that it will add tax and finance capabilities, but that “30 lawyers would be a maximum for the next [few] years”.
“For the time being,” he adds, “we’re trying to focus on quality.”
Turnover: e1.2m (£1.06m)
Number of partners:Four
Number of lawyers:Five
Number of fee-earners:Seven
Number of offices:One
Main practice areas:Environmental law, litigation and arbitration, M&A, public business law, real estate
Key clients:Biosystems International, Enertrag, Enfinity, France Telecom, Green Power Partners, Pernod Ricard