Record number of global firms achieve Paris Bar Council spots

International firms had their best ever showing in last week’s elections for the Paris Bar Council.

Four candidates from Anglo-Saxon firms were among the 42 lawyers standing for the 17 vacant seats on the council in a bid to double the number of international representatives. Prior to last week’s elections, there were only four council members from international firms.

The best showing came from Clifford Chance litigation partner Claude Lazarus, who was elected in third place with 3,026 votes. Lazarus stood on a platform of defending the independence and identity of lawyers against the influence of the EU.

In his manifesto, Lazarus wrote: “Considering that the regulation of our profession reduces competition between lawyers, the [European] Commission is making itself the apostle of deregulation, which presents a risk of us losing our identity.”

Also elected to the council was Dominique Mondoloni of Willkie Farr & Gallagher. One of the youngest candidates, Mondoloni received 1,891 votes to be elected in sixteenth position.

Before the elections, Mondoloni said he was standing in order to improve the proportion of representatives from international firms on the council, which was not equal to the proportion of lawyers working in those firms in Paris.

Mondoloni’s manifesto highlighted the similarities between all lawyers, stressing the importance of independence and defending the interests of the client above all.

However, two of the international candidates were unsuccessful in their attempts to gain a council seat. White & Case partner Jean-Luc Boussard pulled out of the running after the first round of voting, in which he finished 35th out of the 42 candidates, with 1,164 votes.

Allen & Overy’s Edouard Didier, who backed up his candidacy with a personal website, made it through the first round of voting in a strong position. But despite gaining 77 votes in the second round, Didier finished in 20th place, just off the pace.

Better news came for Bredin Prat senior partner Jean-François Prat, who stormed to a majority of nearly 500 votes to come top of the list of elected council members. Prat’s manifesto, like that of Lazarus, referred to the influence of Europe on French lawyers.

The former global head of Landwell Gérard Nicolai was also successful in his bid for election. Nicolai received 2,144 votes and was the tenth candidate to be elected. Nicolai stepped down from Landwell earlier this year and now works with French firm Carbonnier Lamaze Rasle & Associés.

Mondoloni said: “I hope that in the next election there will be more international candidates.” He added that many of the successful candidates came from smaller French business firms, which share the same concerns as the international firms.

All the new candidates take up their seats on the council in January. Important issues for the Paris bar next year are expected to be the status of in-house counsel and whether they should be permitted to join the bar, as well as the third European money laundering directive.