Winston & Strawn pursues Paris expansion

Winston & Strawn is continuing the expansion of its Paris office with the hire of a team from French giant Fidal.

The firm has appointed corporate partner Frédéric Bailly and tax partners Jean-Pierre Collet and Franck Lagorce to strengthen its offering, along with one of counsel and four associates.

The Fidal hires join just six months after Winston & Strawn raided Salans for a litigation team and launched an administrative law practice with a high-profile former government lawyer.

Winston & Strawn Paris managing partner Vincent Sol said the office was very busy and the new hires would help reinforce its offering.

“They come as a team, that’s the key issue,” he said.

Bailly will work within the corporate practice, bringing experience in M&A and private equity work. Collet’s expertise covers both contentious and non-contentious work in the tax field and focuses on acting for investment funds in France.

Lagorce brings experience in real estate tax work, which Sol said was particularly attractive to the future development of the office.

Winston & Strawn now has 18 partners in the French capital, 11 years after its establishment in 1995. However, the past year has seen rapid growth, with three partners added between October 2005 and January this year before the latest hires.

The firm recently moved into its own premises in the 16th arrondissement, allowing further expansion.

Clients in Paris include McDonald’s, the state-owned French lottery company La Française des Jeux, and chemicals giant Rhodia. Unlike some Anglo-Saxon firms present in France, Winston & Strawn has a litigation capability in addition to its core corporate expertise.

Sol is aiming to increase the size of the Paris office to 60 lawyers over the next two years. The Fidal hires mean he is now much closer to achieving his goal.

Fidal is France’s largest law firm, with a particular expertise in tax that is a legacy of its days as the firm tied to accountancy giant KPMG.