Watson Farley & Williams' Paris office is expected to be free to join US firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe as early as November
Talks with the London office of Watson Farley broke down in April over the terms of the departure and resulted in the Paris office resigning. With talks at such a low, the London office threatened to keep the partners to a notice period ending in January 2003. Since then, discussions have reopened, this time with the firm's head of shipping Frank Dunne. It is understood that an agreement has now been reached. The Paris office, which is currently paying for work in progress, expects to take its entire client base, including Vivendi Universal, Renault, France Telecom and BNP Paribas. Consultant Nigel Moss, based in the Paris office, will not be joining Orrick and will remain with Watson Farley. Orrick is continuing with its European expansion and is expected to open a 15-20-lawyer office in Milan in the next few months. It has also taken a floor in the same building as Watson Farley's Paris office in preparation for the arrival of the Watson Farley team and is understood to be in discussions with a second French firm.