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LONDON FIRM Withers is linking its Paris office with 20-strong French practice PDGB.
The two firms will move to new premises in mid-December. London-based business development partner, Andrew Gerry, says the move will strengthen Withers' French practice, which centres around its commercial and maritime work.
He says there are no plans for a merger between the firms. Resident Paris partner Jonathan Eastwood will remain as practice head.
Gerry says 90 per cent of the caseload handled by PDGB is commercial, and work is already being passed between the firms. He says the association will also provide for an exchange of young lawyers and other staff.
"We look at this very optimistically because it enables us to have resources in Paris through PDGB to service our clients. It really enhances and complements our French law capabilities," says Gerry
"We have known PDGB for some time and they are very enthusiastic about having an association with an English firm.
"They have been over here and met partners here, they've visited our offices and seen our English practice. They are an expansionist firm - they've got visions beyond France."
Eastwood says PDGB was chosen for the association because it is a reasonably large practice by Paris standards, and its skills fit well with Withers.
He says PDGB staff will be used by the firm on a variety of commercial work, while members of the French Bar will continue to handle Withers' maritime work.
"We've been in the French market for some time and we see this as the right thing to do now," says Eastwood.
"The benefit of this is that we have vastly increased our French law capability, we are associated with a firm which is extremely reputable in France, and we will develop our practices together, both in London and in Paris."