Allen & Overy’s Paris corporate head has quit the firm to set up a boutique practice dedicated to M&A and tax work.
Nicolas Bichot has rejoined former A&O partner Patrice Couturier at the new firm, Bichot & Associés. A pair of associates from A&O, Charles-Noël van den Broek and Mathieu Odet, are also joining Bichot as partners.
Bichot was a partner at A&O for 11 years, joining the firm as it launched in Paris in 1999. Couturier spent eight years at the firm before leaving in March 2010 to join finance boutique Nabarro & Hinge.
Although Bichot said he was “very happy” at A&O he said he was looking for a more entrepreneurial and independent way of working. Bichot told The Lawyerhe believed clients were looking for closer contact with partners and boutique firms were better able to offer this service.
Bichot & Associés will aim to work with private equity funds, national and international companies and family offices.
Currently the firm consists of the four founding partners. Bichot said he wanted to build the team up to around 20 lawyers in the next one to two years while maintaining a ratio of one partner to one associate.
Bichot said he thought the French legal market was moving back towards the model of independent boutiques, which were more common in the 1980s. Other recent set-ups include Da Rosa & Creis, established in December 2010 by two former Norton Rose lawyers (1 November 2010).