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US FIRM Dechert Price & Rhoads has increased its European portfolio by placing a resident partner in Paris.
The firm, which last year joined up with London's Titmuss Sainer & Webb, was one of the first US firms to establish offices in Europe. It now operates an established Brussels practice and employs almost 150 lawyers on the continent.
The Paris practice, which will serve the French legal needs of clients worldwide, is headed by business lawyer Eugene Forcione, former chair and managing partner of Paris firm SG Archibald which joined the Arthur Andersen organisation in 1992.
Forcione, a member of both the Paris and New York Bars, started with Decherts in January. He will be assisted in Paris by former SG Archibald colleagues Valerie Masset-Branche and Claude Greloud, and additional lawyers are expected to join later this year.
"I'd had a close relationship with Decherts for years and when Archibalds did its deal with Andersens it was more or less envisaged that I wasn't going to stay around for more than a couple of years," says Forcione.
"When I left I became an independent consultant and Decherts asked me if I was interested in establishing a Paris operation - that was how it started. It gives them more credibility as an international practice with a global capability and I think it will give them a broader range of services to offer clients.
"They do have clients with interests in France and it will give them an opportunity to help those clients with their French matters. It may also bring in French clientele."
Dechert's chair Thomas B Morrison Jr says the firm's growth in London and the expansion of the Brussels practice has led to the move into Paris.
"We expect the Paris practice to be a complement to our London and Brussels offices and to assist, in particular, in serving the French legal needs of clients of those offices, as well as our US offices," says Morrison.