Global players test their luck in Paris bar election

Elections for the Paris Bar Council take place next week, with an unprecedented number of representatives from international firms.

Clifford Chance’s Claude Lazarus, Allen & Overy’s Edouard Didier, Dominique Mondolini of Willkie Farr & Gallagher and White & Case’s Jean-Luc Boussard are all standing for a place on the council.

Bredin Prat senior partner Jean-François Prat and former global head of Landwell Gérard Nicolai have also put their candidacies forward. The candidates are among 42 lawyers standing for 17 vacant seats on the council.

This is the second contested election for the Paris bar this year, following a fiercely-fought election in March. That saw victory
for anti-establishment candidate Bruno Boccara, who won out over seven other lawyers, including Mondolini.

Currently the council has only three members from international firms: Yves Huyghe de Mahenge, a former Paris managing partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hammonds’ Marie Aimée Peyron, and Jean-Michel Tron of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Gide Loyrette Nouel’s Michel Pitron is also a council member.

Mondolini said there is a “real disconnection” between the firms that make up the Paris bar and those that represent it. He thinks that as well as international firms, younger lawyers are also underrepresented.

“The lawyers in Paris need to be defending the people who know them,” he said, arguing that the council should be properly representative of the locl market. Mondolini added that it was important for international firms to get closer to the bar.

The election, which takes place on 23 and 24 November, includes the election of the new Bâtonnier, or president, of the bar. Those standing are all from small French firms.