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The man photographed brandishing what appeared to be a gun while driving Pippa Middleton in Paris is an associate at Shearman & Sterling who has acted for a small arms manufacturer, it has emerged.
Romain Rabillard, an associate at the US firm’s Paris office, was snapped aiming what looked like a semi-automatic pistol out of the car and could technically face a seven-year prison sentence if police can prove it was a real weapon.
There were even reports this week that Middleton herself, the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, could be prosecuted and face jail if she was found to have been involved.
Rabillard, a 36-year-old associate, advised German small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch on its €295m high-yield bond offering last year as part of a team led by partners Jacques McChesney, Esther Jansen and Mei Lian.
“Heckler & Koch, in operation for more than 60 years, is a leading European manufacturer of small arms,” Shearman stated at the time of the deal.
“The company designs, produces and distributes small arms, including rifles, side arms, fully automatic weapons, grenade launchers and a variety of other related products.”
A French online database of lawyers shows that Rabillard qualified in 2004 and offers German and English as foreign languages.
Shearman declined to comment when contacted today by The Lawyer.
It is the latest fee-earner hiccup to hit Shearman, with trainee Daniel England in the limelight earlier this year when he circulated rules for a lads’ holiday in an e-mail that later went viral (9 February 2012). The firm later said it had taken “appropriate action” after investigating England’s behaviour (16 February 2012).
In 2008, a Shearman associate was sacked after he took a female vacation scheme intern to the Windmill strip club in Soho, but the firm said it had not organised the event and accepted no liability for what happened (4 August 2008).