DIBB LUPTON Alsop plans to set up offices in France and Germany by the end of the year.
A source said the firm was close to signing with lawyers in Paris and that an office could be open by the summer. An office is expected to be in place in Germany by December.
David Barrett, a London-based partner at the firm, refused to confirm the openings. He simply commented: “We see ourselves expanding in Europe if the appropriate circumstances arise.”
The disclosure follows Dibb Lupton Alsop's announcement last week that a new Brussels office – its first on the continent – would be staffed by a team of defectors from the Brussels office of Eversheds.
After an 18-month search, the firm was introduced to the Eversheds team – which includes office head David Church, US lawyer Frank Fine, Mike Pullen and Birgitta Ris – through recruitment agents. The Eversheds lawyers have been looking for an opening since their firm decided to re-focus its operation in the Belgian capital.
The initial thrust of Dibbs' Brussels practice will be in information technology, media and telecoms. Barrett said these areas would “increasingly have a European element”. However, the plan is to expand the range of services offered, including provision for a Belgian law capability.
Eversheds, meanwhile, has decided to go in a different direction to Dibbs. London office managing partner Peter Scott said there had been a “long-running debate” between Church and the firm and that the two had “different ambitions”.
“We wanted a tightly focussed unit to support our EU function, not a little commercial law firm,” he said.
Eversheds has recruited Taylor Joynson Garrett's office head John Grayston to replace Church as head and rebuild the practice. He starts at the end of April.