Latham & Watkins has torn apart independent French firm Sokolow Dunaud Mercadier & Carreras with a nine-lawyer raid for name partner Patrick Dunaud and his litigation team.
The Latham haul is another blow for Sokolow Dunaud, which lost an 11-lawyer team, including another name partner Jean-Francois Mercadier, to Norton Rose at the end of last year.
Sokolow and Jean-François Carreras are the only remaining name partners from the group that formed the firm after splitting from Coudert Brothers 10 years ago.
The Lawyer understands that the senior partners were in disagreement over a number of issues, including international strategy.
The firm had a disastrous merger with New York firm Lacher & Lovell-Taylor in 2000. The merger ended within a year, with both sides filing suits in New York.
Partners Emmanuel Drai and Judith Vuillez and six associates join Dunaud at Latham. The recruitment of Dunaud and his team is a coup for Latham, creating one of France’s largest litigation departments with more than 50 lawyers.
Olivier Delattre, managing partner of Latham’s Paris office, said: “Latham has been building both depth and diversity in its European litigation capability. This team extends our suite of complex litigation expertise from media to general corporate, IP and IT to securities work.”
Sokolow Dunaud declined the opportunity to comment.