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Shearman & Sterling has taken on Clifford Chance senior associate and French competition law expert Jean-Mathieu Cot
Cot's move follows Clifford Chance's raid on Herbert Smith's Paris office, which saw highly-rated competition partners Claude Lazarus and Michel Debroux defect to Clifford Chance. Cot, who is dual-qualified in French and US law, will join Shearmans as European counsel. His move provides the firm with French competition capacity for the first time. Shearmans took an M&A team from Siméon & Associés before the French firm's merger with Lovells, but until now has had no French antitrust adviser to back it up. Cot was brought in by Chris Bright, a former Clifford Chance competition partner who moved to Shearmans last year. It is understood that he was approached once it became public that Lazarus would move to Clifford Chance. Although Cot was acknowledged to be an extremely able lawyer by Clifford Chance, the arrival of Lazarus was perceived to be an obstacle to his partnership at the magic circle firm. Cot said that he was attracted to Shearmans not only because of his relationship with Bright, but also by the firm's position at the top of the French M&A deal tables as well as its antitrust practice. He is expected to move to Shearmans some time during the summer. Both Clifford Chance and Shearmans have been prompted to boost French competition capacity by changes to French merger control regulations this year, which make merger notifications compulsory. The new rules are expected to create an upsurge in French competition work and top French competition lawyers are currently at a premium.