US firms enjoy improved fortunes in French market

Two-thirds of the top US firms in France saw their revenues rise last year and, according to research by Juristes Associés, a total of 12 US firms made it into the country’s top 50 firms by turnover in 2009-10.

Latham & Watkins remains way ahead of its rivals after posting a turnover of e90.3m (£75.31m), despite seeing a year-on-year drop of 5 per cent.

Baker & McKenzie came in at second place with e76.7m, a 0.13 per cent increase on 2008-09, followed by White & Case at e66.1m. While the latter firm witnessed a disappointing 14.1 per cent fall in turnover, the arrival of a seven-strong team of white-collar specialists from Beaussier & Associés earlier this month suggests it is strengthening its offering in Paris.

Another firm that had a disappointing year, but which appears to be back in growth mode, is Mayer Brown. In 2009 its Paris revenue dropped by 16.6 per cent to e30m – the second-largest drop of any US firm. Recently, though, it launched a Paris competition practice and, at the end of 2009-10, merged with litigation ­boutique Ayela Semerdjian & Associés.

The most surprising (and erratic) performance that of Paul Hastings. After witnessing the highest level of growth among its US peers in 2008-09 (23 per cent), in 2009-10 it managed to achieve the exact opposite. Its 16.6 per cent drop in turnover to e20.3m represented the biggest fall of any of the top US outfits’.

The firm that pulled off the biggest growth was Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, which reported a 20 per cent hike in turnover to e26.4m. Over the same period Skadden increased the number of its Paris-based fee-earners from 19 to 26.