Paris restructuring fails to dampen Freshfields’ figures

The Paris office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has posted a revenue rise of 8 per cent to hit e116m (£78.48m), despite reducing its partnership by around a quarter.

Freshfields began the financial year with 41 partners, but restructuring has left the firm with 31 partners, with several equity partners moving to become consultants.

Top-level work for several large clients, including Eurotunnel and France Telecom, maintained the firm’s growth during the year of transition.

Tax partner Antoine Colonna d’Istria has become managing partner in Paris, taking over from Jean-Claude Cotoni. His priority is to keep the French partnership unified.

Colonna d’Istria said: “Even though we have a few superstars in the partnership, it’s important that everyone works together. What I’m trying to do, for example, is get the more senior partners to bring the junior partners to see clients.”

Throughout its restructuring Freshfields was a target for US firms in Paris. Hogan & Hartson alone hired three partners, including IP head Xavier Buffet Delmas.

Colonna d’Istria said Freshfields would transform its IP group in the wake of Buffet Delmas’s exit.

“It’s important that the corporate group continues to be well served by the IP group,” said Colonna d’Istria. “We’re searching for a replacement for Xavier, but with a different focus. There will be less IP litigation and more focus on transactional work.”