SH launches Paris disputes team in wake of failed association

Stephenson Harwood has launched a Paris disputes practice following the termination of its longstanding association with former touted merger suitor BCTG & Associés.

Sharon White
Sharon White

The City firm has announced the hire of Nixon Peabody public law and regulatory partner Olivier de Chazeaux, whose arrival comes after the firm ended its non-exclusive referral relationship with France’s BCTG last year.

The firms worked closely together on contentious and non-contentious matters but have decided to end the agreement after a number of senior figures left BCTG, including name partner Marc Barbé, who had close links to Stephenson Harwood and is now deceased.

Stephenson Harwood briefly held merger talks with BCTG, previously Barbé Thibault Carpentier Groener, a decade ago, although a source inside the Paris firm later denied this (14 October 2002).

Stephenson Harwood CEO Sharon White said: “As our own office grew, it was no longer appropriate for us to have an association with a local firm. Because personnel had changed we didn’t know as many people as we used to so it was by mutual agreement that we brought it to an end.”

Meanwhile, de Chazeaux becomes the firm’s first contentious lawyer in the French base. His move follows the news late last year that Nixon Peabody is closing down its Paris office to focus on US work (18 December 2012).

He launches the litigation practice for Stephenson Harwood following confirmation last year that the firm planned to expand into disputes in the city after previously only carrying out transactional work (3 October 2012). The firm has had a base in Paris since 2001.

De Chazeaux was a founding partner of Taylor Wessing in France and joined Nixon Peabody in 2008 amid a major raid on the UK rival (20 August 2008).

He acts for companies in the insurance, banking and medical devices sectors and for local and national governmental bodies.

The news also comes amid attempts by the firm to expand its international arbitration capacity in Dubai, Paris and Singapore, and follows the hire of Shai Wade from Reed Smith in London last year (27 September 2012).

Stephenson Harwood Paris managing partner Alain Gautron said in a statement: “[The] appointment correlates with our overall strategy of developing the Paris office by hiring skilled lawyers and increasing our areas of expertise, to include public law.”