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Weil Gotshal & Manges has finally sealed its merger with French M&A and private equity boutique Serra Leavy & Cazals
The boutique began practising under the Weil Gotshal name on 1 January. Joseph Tortorici, the Weil Gotshal partner who led the negotiations, will relocate from Frankfurt to Paris to take up a new position as European coordinating partner - underlining the importance Weil Gotshal will be placing on Continental growth in the coming year. Tortorici, whose new role will involve business development and integration, told The Lawyer: "We felt it was essential to be in the key money centres of London, Frankfurt and Paris." Serra Leavy managing partner Claude Serra has taken on the role of managing partner of the French office, which consists of 10 partners. Serra said: "As we were growing and becoming involved in larger deals, we felt the need for reinforcement and wanted to become part of a New York-based international firm." Weil Gotshal and Serra Leavy have worked on deals together for about a decade, including the recent disposal of Vivendi's publishing business and a number of transactions for GE Capital. "It's like the couple that have been living together for years and finally decide to get married," said Tortorici. Weil Gotshal is now confident that it has a solid base in Europe. Tortorici cited the strength of the firm's central European practice in addition to the London, Frankfurt and Paris offices. The firm in Europe has grown from six lawyers in 1991 to around 250 today, with the Serra Leavy merger being the single biggest move. "We'll focus on our big-ticket core institutional clients," said Tortorici. Serra Leavy brings clients such as Crédit Agricole and Lazard Brothers to the table. With fees per fee-earner of E583,000 (£378,500), the firm was ranked fifth in France according to figures from Décideurs Juridiques & Financiers in August last year. The firm has a gross turnover of €10.5m (£6.8m).