Paris-based Linklaters partner Michel Frieh is gearing up to leave the magic circle firm to set up his own business.
Frieh for the last couple of years has been mooting that, when he hits 50 years old, he would be “getting too old” for mainstream work and would want to do something different.
The private equity and M&A star, who has now turned 50, wants to work on small capital deals, which he said are “generally a bit more fun” than Linklaters’ major transactions.
Frieh, however, did not want to leave Linklaters with a hole in its Paris office, so he has been focusing his energy on grooming his protégé, senior associate David Swinburne.
Swinburne will be made up to partner on 1 May in anticipation of Frieh’s departure.
Fabrice de la Morandiere, however, will be the one fill Frieh’s boots as the lead partner in Paris.
Partner Vincent Ponsonnaille will complete the three-partner team after Frieh leaves.
One private equity partner at Linklaters said Frieh will leave the UK’s number two law firm on good terms.
“Michel’s made every effort to make sure that the firm will be ready for his departure. He has been, and will continue to be, a great friend to many of us here,” he said.