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Nabarro Nathanson has set up an affiliated law firm in Paris, marking its formal entry into the French market. But the firm will not operate under the Nabarros banner to comply with French Bar rules.
Frank Lipworth, a Nabarros partner, has established the practice Cabinet Lipworth which will act as Nabarros' exclusive correspondent in the French capital.
The main focus of the practice will be corporate mergers and acquisitions work, and Lipworth will initially be supported by French avocat Myriam Smith who joined the firm from August & Debouzy and a trainee solicitor from the London head office.
The move signals the first serious play in France by Nabarros which, for many years, remained one of the few large London commercial practices without a Paris operation.
Lipworth said: "The French legal market is very mature but there are still excellent opportunities for law firms looking to grow and develop their presence in the country."
He explained that the firm had had "an informal foothold" in the city since 1991 when he was seconded to the leading Paris firm Bredin Prat. The term was initially for a year but it was extended and, three years ago, he qualified as an avocat.
Lipworth said: "Once we decided I would be staying on, the idea was to do something and we played around with a few of the options open to us."
The affiliated law firm structure, which has been adopted by some other foreign firms in Paris, was seen as the easiest way of entering the market.