US firm Dewey Ballantine has put European expansion plans on hold as a result of the Iraq war and concerns about the international economic climate.
The firm has stalled planned launches in France and Germany, although it continues to look for suitable merger partners.
The Lawyer understands that Dewey had been in talks with the former senior partner of Coudert Brothers’ Paris office Jacques Buhart, who stood down from the role last year.
Buhart has driven much of Coudert Brothers’ European expansion, but was replaced as senior partner by George Yates in October 2002. Buhart remains a partner at Coudert’s Paris office.
A source at Dewey told The Lawyer that the firm is still keen to open in Paris and is studying a number of locations in Germany, but that the plans were on hold while the management watches how international events unfold. Any new European office is likely to be effected through a merger, the source added.
Dewey launched an office in Frankfurt last year when it recruited German partner Geza Toth and a team of four associates from the London office of Weil Gotshal & Manges.