This time last year the news was all about new boutiques. Oddly enough, history has repeated itself and 2013 has started with announcements about several more.
Perhaps the highest-profile boutique launch of the New Year is that of Belgian firm Strelia. Launched on 1 January, Strelia is a collaboration between former Stibbe partners Olivier Clevenbergh and Jean-Pierre Fierens, NautaDutilh tax partner Benoît Malvaux and the four partners of local firm Tossens & Associés.
Orsingher is one of the more established Italian boutiques, but the boutique trend in Italy is certainly ongoing. The most recent development is the decision of former Dewey & LeBoeuf Italy head Bruno Gattai to quit Grimaldi Studio Legale, the spin-off from the defunct firm’s Italy offices, to set up 35-lawyer Gattai Minoli & Partners.
And in France, Hogan Lovells arbitration veteran Jean-Georges Betto is in the process of building up a new litigation boutique, Betto Seraglini. The team has grown in January with the launch team of four Hogan Lovells lawyers now joined by White & Case counsel Christophe Seraglini, STC Partners counsel Thierry Tomasi, and Gide Loyrette Nouel associate and barrister Jonathan Williams.
All these boutiques have cited a desire to provide a more flexible service to clients, which is undoubtedly an attraction in the current climate. But with larger firms also demonstrating a willingness to adapt to attract work, the boutiques are launching in a environment which is more competitive than ever.