French private equity boutique Scotto & Associés is a firm that was, in many ways, born out of the economic crisis.
In 1997 ex-Theodore Goddard lawyer Lionel Scotto teamed up with former Ashurst associate Serge Wilinski to form Wilinski Scotto & Associés. For more than a decade the firm did well, attracting partners from Anglo-Saxon firms to boost its ranks.
But the downturn took its toll and, following a dispute over the direction of the full-service firm, the name partners decided to split. In April 2010 Wilinski and four partners created WSA, while Scotto and another four partners founded Scotto & Associés.
Less than a year on Scotto’s partnership is six-strong. Meanwhile, Scotto hired tax partners Marc Vaslin and Yann de Kergos in December 2010 and January this year respectively from tax boutique Sarrau Thomas Couderc and Dechert respectively.
The hires completed Scotto’s vision for his firm – to focus on private equity and tax law.
“We know what we’re good at and we don’t know how to be good in other fields,” he states flatly.
Accordingly, the firm is not offering advice in areas such as property, litigation, contracts or public law. Instead it will act for investment managers, entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses on financial transactions, including some public M&A.
Scotto is happy with the size of the firm and the amount of work it generates. He estimates that the first year’s turnover will be around e10m (£8.4m).
While Scotto is determined to remain independent, he admits that an alliance relationship with a “blue-chip US firm” would give Scotto & Associés a referral network. He wants the firm to be in the top tier of private equity advisers in the crowded French market and is convinced it now has the team to achieve that aim.
Managing partner: Lionel Scotto
Turnover: €10m (£8.4m)
Number of partners:Six
Number of equity partners: Five
Number of lawyers:33
Number of fee-earners:41
Main practice areas:Private equity, tax, public M&A
Number of offices:Two
Locations: Paris, Geneva
Key clients:Converteam, Picard, TDF Group, Metallum Group, Vivarte, Worldwide Flight Services