Norton Rose suffers more leakage in Paris reshuffle

A second Norton Rose partner has opted to leave for White & Case as the UK firm continues the far-reaching shake-up of its Paris office.

Corporate finance partner Eric Laplante will join Norton Rose’s former head of competition in Paris, Jean-Patrice de la Laurencie, who is also moving to the US firm. Both partners jumped ship for Norton Rose three years ago from Coudert Brothers.

Laplante is expected to take a team of four associates with him, while competition partner Laure Givry has been promoted to head the competition group.

Commenting on the departures, Norton Rose’s Paris managing partner George Paterson said: “We are restructuring the office and the people who didn’t want to be part of that restructuring have moved on.”

Paterson took over the Paris office nine months ago, with a remit to reorganise the group. During that time a number of partners have left, including the respected insurance team of Christian Bouckaert, who left to set up his own niche firm.

Earlier this year, Norton Rose bolstered its corporate finance team after recruiting a team led by Jean-François Mercadier from independent French firm Sokolow Dunaud Mercadier & Carreras.

White & Case declined to comment.

While Paterson claims to be restructuring the Paris office, to some extent it is a restructuring that has been forced on him.

Paterson took over an office in Paris that contained a number of strong individuals, not all necessarily pulling in the same direction.

His first task as managing partner was to wave goodbye to Christian Bouckaert and his well-respected insurance and litigation team. The team joined Norton Rose five years ago from Jeantet Associés and leaves as a group to set up as a boutique. While the firm will miss the team’s revenue, it was always a standalone team.

The departures of De la Laurencie and Laplante were not unexpected. The arrival of Jean-François Mercadier and his team from Sokolow Dunaud Mercadier at the end of last year may even have helped to show them the door.

Paterson claims to welcome the clearout but will hope that it heralds the rebirth of an office which, asset finance aside, has not been punching its weight for some time.