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Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker is set to acquire a French law firm, increasing its international footprint and giving the firm a presence in key European markets. The firm announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Moquet Borde & Associes, a 55-lawyer firm based in Paris. Partners at Moquet Borde voted in favor of the deal Wednesday morning, two weeks after Paul, Hastings’ partnership voted for the acquisition. The deal must still be approved by the Paris Bar Association, a process that is expected to take several months. “On all fronts we are an excellent fit for each other,” said Managing Partner Greg Nitzkowski. “Our practices are very similar.” Founded in 1976, Moquet Borde specializes in cross-border transactions and is one of the 20 largest French law firms. According to the announcement, 60 percent of Moquet Borde’s revenue comes from its corporate and financial markets practice. The move not only gives Paul, Hastings an office in Paris but also gives the firm an entrée into Brussels, the hub of European Commission antitrust work, where Moquet Borde also has a small office. Moquet Borde also has an outpost in Lyon, which will not be part of the acquisition. According to Nitzkowski, Paul, Hastings has offered jobs to all Lyon-based attorneys willing to relocate to the Paris office. Paul, Hastings opened a London office in 1997, but the firm’s international ambitions have until now primarily focused on Asia, where the firm has four offices. The Moquet Borde acquisition will provide “the grounding for us for further expansion in Europe,” said Nitzkowski. Eight of Moquet Borde’s 14 partners have been offered slots in Paul, Hastings’ partnership, with the rest receiving of counsel or similar titles. The addition of Moquet Borde will swell Paul, Hastings’ ranks to nearly 1,000 attorneys. Paul, Hastings grossed $488 million in annual revenues in 2002, with average profits per equity partner of $940,000.

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