Coudert Brothers has moved swiftly to reinforce its Paris office with a six-lawyer M&A team from E&Y Law after a team of three assistants quit to join former partner Jacques Buhart at Herbert Smith.
E&Y Law corporate partner Alain Decombe will join Coudert as a partner together with a team of six assistants on 1 September.
The Lawyer can also reveal that Coudert severed its relations with Buhart two months before he joined Herbert Smith last month.
“I can confirm that Jacques Buhart left at our request on 12 May,” said Coudert chairman David Heubner.
However, Buhart has hit back. He told The Lawyer: “I joined Coudert Brothers to work in an international firm,
but the new executive committee has designed a strategy whereby they want to focus more on the US and shrink the foreign offices. This is not what I wanted to do.”
Coudert partner and the European representative on the executive board Eric Deltour retorted: “We have 13 offices in Europe and we have every intention of developing them.”
“We were in competition with some very strong US and UK firms for Alain and his team and he was convinced we would be the best option. There is no retrenchment,” he concluded.
Decombe was a partner at Archibald, the French arm of Andersen legal, before it merged with E&Y Law, a merger that he was not in favour of because many of his clients used Ernst & Young’s auditing services. He added that clients such as US biotech leader AmGen, Swiss-based healthcare company Baxter and French industrial gases giant Air Liquide had encouraged the move.