Slaughter and May is grooming leading Parisian practice Bredin Prat to become its first French best friend.
Head of corporate Nigel Boardman says the firm has been talking to a variety of French operations, but adds that negotiations with other firms are now over.
“The relationship with Bredin Prat is much further ahead. We have met them and have talked about how we can work with them. We are developing a close working relationship.”
Although Boardman rules out immediately entering into a “playground pact” with the practice, he says it could be a possibility in the long-term.
Bredin Prat partner Elena Baxter says: “Slaughter and May is a prime example of the kind of firm we want and we have got to know a lot of the partners there very well.”
Bredin Prat is regarded as one of the leading Paris firms specialising in capital markets and finance work.
One senior French lawyer says that many French practices are unsure of their future and so are looking to forge relationships with US and UK firms.
“French firms are very worried about their future. Many of them are coming apart and there is a lot of pressure to join a network or to get into a bigger firm and retain the work,” he says.
“Every one is looking for something to do. The French market is increasingly in turmoil.”
Another French insider believes the relationship between the two firms will be of particular benefit to Slaughters.
“It is a coup for Slaughter and May not because of size but because of the quality of the contact.
“They have this strong London reputation but are not growing in the Paris market.”
Paris is one of the few international locations where Slaughters has an operation.
However, Boardman is at pains to point out that there will be no changes to the office “arising from our relationship with Bredin Prat”.