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Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner Dominique Mondolini is running in the Paris bar’s first contested election next week, seeking to capture the vote of international firms vexed by recent tensions with the bar.
The Paris bar has traditionally nominated just one lawyer for vacant seats on its council, but the lack of an officially-endorsed candidate has inspired the bar’s first democratic election.
A recent letter to a French newsletter by former bar president Paul-Albert Iweins provoked fury among international firms when Iweins revealed that he had discussed favouring French firms with French president Jacques Chirac.
Iweins has since apologised, saying that his views were misinterpreted.
However, Mondolini will expect to take advantage of international firms’ disquiet at the Paris bar’s isolationist attitude.
Mondolini has been Willkie’s local head of litigation since 2002, when he made partner five years after joining the firm from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
International firms hold just three seats on the 36-member council: Jean-Michel Tron of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Yves Huyghé de Mahenge of Freshfields and Alain de Foucaud of LeBoef Lamb Greene & MacRae.
There are eight candidates running for the vacant seat, including high-profile criminal lawyer Dominique Pricaud and influential sole practitioner Bruno Boccara.
The winner of the election will serve just one and a half years, as the departing council member has served half of the standard three-year term.