Linklaters snatches French team

Linklaters has recruited a team of French lawyers from leading Paris firm Gide Loyrette Nouel – its first expansion on the continent since the creation of its 1,900-lawyer alliance three months ago.

Partners Thierry Vassogne, Olivier Diaz and Marc Loy will join Linklaters' 42-lawyer Paris office from Gide's 13-partner mergers and acquisitions department during the next two months. Paris rivals said Vassogne and his colleagues were renowned for their litigation work.

Xavier de Roux, senior partner at Gide, said a team of five assistants was likely to follow the three partners to Linklaters in the next few weeks.

He said the departures resolved an extended power struggle between partners in the M&A department.

Linklaters senior partner Charles Allen Jones confirmed the Paris recruits but declined to comment.

The move will give Linklaters breathing space in France. The City firm is under pressure from the other alliance firms – De Bandt in Belgium, De Brauw in the Netherlands, Lagerlof & Leman in Sweden and Oppenhof & Radler in Germany – to build its French law practice after former alliance member Jeantet & Associes pulled out of the deal.

Last Friday, partners from the five firms met to discuss strengthening the alliance in south Europe. The Lawyer understands negotiations are at an advanced stage with an Italian firm and that Linklaters is also actively seeking a partner in Spain.