Nixon Peabody won’t always have Paris

It is not just quintessential Gallic actor Gerard Depardieu who is escaping France at the moment, US firm Nixon Peabody is also shutting its doors in Paris just four years after opening them. The firm has become the first to reverse a recent trend of launching in the French capital, with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Pinsent Masons and Osborne Clarke all announcing their intention to move in this year.

But then Nixon Peabody’s French venture was fraught with tension from the start. The firm launched by taking a team of 13 partners from Taylor Wessing led by the UK firm’s former managing partner Arnaud de Senilhes.

The poaching led to a court battle in the US, followed by a settlement that paved the way for the Nixon Peabody opening. And for four years all seemed to be fine, until de Senilhes upped sticks again in September for French firm Jeantet Associés. Now the remaining partners, together with a handful of associates, must all look for new homes as Nixon Peabody vows to focus on the US.

Meanwhile, Taylor Wessing has had the last laugh, building steadily in Paris through occasional hires and regular promotions to double the size of Nixon Peabody. But then Anglo-French relations have always been stronger than Franco-American ones.

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