Palace coup hits EY Law France

EY Law France has replaced managing partner Hervé Labaude in what one source called a “palace coup”.

Labaude will move to an as yet unspecified senior position in EY Law’s international organisation, which, as revealed by The Lawyer (1 March) is losing its leader Patrick Bignon.

Labaude was replaced two weeks ago by a four-person executive committee of Lionel Benant, Eric Fourel, Phillippe-Henri Dutheil and Philippe Vailhen. Labaude was appointed by accounting parent Ernst & Young (E&Y) rather than the lawyers, and sources at the firm say partners wanted a more democratic model.

Head of E&Y France Patrick Gounelle said: “I don’t know if it’s more democratic, but it’s now more in the partnership spirit.”

The French firm recently committed to a close alliance with E&Y. Gounelle said: “Given our move to a new market environment, we needed to find a new model.”